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To Build a Basketball Barn

A private family function hall and recreation space rises in winter

By Rick Reynolds

Who doesn’t love a barn? The honest, soaring volumes. The heavy timbers. The warmth and patina of wood. Now imagine a barn that encloses a private family function hall, complete with a 30-foot high vaulted half-basketball court, a lofted party space and recreation area—then throw in a 2-story exercise room and things start to get really interesting.

Currently being installed on site is a 5224 SF detached barn, off the main house in North Chatham, MA. The two connected volumes sit on a single, rectangular foundation with the roofs forming two perpendicular ridge lines that intersect at a “T.” The barn’s arched timberframe structure and barrel-vaulted volume give the interior a feeling of grandeur while defining the various functional spaces.

Working in collaboration with architect, Steven Glasheen, and construction manager, Lee Robinson of Polhemus Savery  DaSilva Architects-Builders, Bensonwood engineered the shell design for panelized fabrication and built a virtual model to ensure buildability and resolve any issues prior to actual production.

The timberframe elements and panelized assemblies were then fabricated at our facilities, using robotically-controlled CNC cutting and shaping machines, to ensure precise fit and fast enclosure on site. The project includes a custom steel and wood staircase, engineered and crafted by our woodworking team.

From there, the timberframe elements, panelized assemblies, and millwork were stacked flat, then trucked to the build site and, with the assistance of a crane, quickly flown together without a hitch, denying old man winter the chance to compromise the build materials. And, as with all Bensonwood projects, the virtual efforts at the outset meant virtually no waste downstream, saving precious resources, and leaving a remarkably clean build site.

As for the quality of the effort, Bensonwood project manager, Jim Bannon, describes a call from Polhemus Savery  DaSilva:

“I just received call from our client's site supervisor. He prefaced his call by saying that in 20 years, he has never been able to make a call like the one he was about to make. He wanted to let me know that the frame and shell, the schedule and budget, and most importantly our site crew of Iver Bowen and Tobey Wandzy, surpassed every imaginable expectation.  From the fit and finish of the building, attention to detail, attitude, and site cleanliness, everything was the best he has ever seen.  He found a total of two items during punch list walk through and admitted that one of them was his misreading of the plans. As a career site supervisor, he said his basis for quality has been re-defined.”

Quality, re-defined. On time and on budget. That’s what we strive for on each and every project.

What would you do with a barn? We’d love to hear from you!