client: O'Brien Farm Foundation
location: St John's, Newfoundland
use: commercial / educational
barn: 1,500 ft2
multipurpose space: 3,000 ft2
storage: 700 ft2
Located on 37 acres of land within the City of St. John's, Newfoundland, O'Brien Farm focuses on educating and engaging the public on traditional farming techniques, sustainable food growth and cultivation, and the Newfoundland-Irish heritage. Farming and educational programs like those at O’Brien Farm help to bring further public engagement and agency to individual families who would like to participate in more localized forms of food production.
The design's program includes a Barn, a Learning Centre within two Outbuildings, a third Outbuilding, and a network of paths and boardwalks. The Barn includes a new upper floor designed to be a multipurpose space for community events and gatherings while the first floor houses the farm animals and storage. The Learning Centre is within two outbuildings that are linked together by an exhibition space. The Learning Centre contains a large and small classroom that both have access to the outdoors, and the exhibition space has a habitable green roof with light wells into the space below. The third Outbuilding is designed to be a flexible space for storing tools and farm supplies, learning, or housing animals. The barn and outbuildings are all designed to be built on the existing footprints of the original buildings to preserve farmland and reuse as much of the former structure as possible.
An accessible network of coloured boardwalks and pathways connects the various buildings on the farm. Descriptive signage and interactive exhibitions along this network guide visitors throughout the farm to the barn and outbuildings.