Saturday, March 19, 2016

What Makes a Barn a Barn?

On Friday, March 25, at 10 a.m., the Historic Preservation Commission will hold a public hearing on the proposal to build a gambrel-roofed structure resembling a barn on Partition Street behind 210 Allen Street.

When the proposal was introduced at the last HPC meeting, HPC member Peggy Polenberg noted that there was a barn on Clinton Street, offering this information, it seemed, to establish that there was a precedent for building barn-like structure on Partition Street, in an entirely different part of the city. After Gossips published a post about the project, a reader provided this picture of the barn on Clinton Street, which can be seen from her backyard.

Photo: Mara Estribou
The existence of this authentic barn on Clinton Street offers no support for building a garage that looks like a barn on Partition Street. This actual former barn does not have a gambrel roof. Instead, there's a gable roof and a shed roof--two roof types that occur on the accessory buildings that already exist along this block of Partition Street and with which the proposed new structure must be found to be compatible.


  1. Between the two images above, there's a huge difference in scale. The miniature scale of the proposed shed is a damning feature of the design itself, and not some secondary attribute.

    Have a look for examples of small, antique, gambrel-roofed barns at Google, and there really aren't any.

    However, there are plenty of small, 20th c. gambrel sheds throughout the US, where maximizing space on the upper floor was the goal of the builder. You can see examples of the latter dotted all over Connecticut and Long Island. Aesthetically, they have more in common with those portable, pre-fab, gambrel sheds available at Home Depot than they do their full-sized predecessors.

    This proposal looks like something from "I Love Lucy" during the Connecticut years. It's anachronistic and silly.

  2. It is so obvious you wrote two blogs about this proposal to remind people to come to public hearing and be against it.