Saxum Vineyard Equipment Barn

The equipment barn at Saxum Vineyard is quite a departure from the typical notion of what a barn should look like.

Located in the Templeton Gap area west of Paso Robles, Calif., this simple agricultural storage structure rests at the toes of the 50-acre James Berry Vineyard, with the adjacent Saxum Winery sitting just over 800 ft away. Designed as a modern pole barn using reclaimed oil field drill stem pipe, the structure’s primary objectives are to provide an armature for a photovoltaic roof system, which offsets more than 100% of the winery’s power demands, as well as covered, open-air storage for farming equipment, workshop and maintenance space, and storage for livestock supplies.

Designed to harness the local climate and maximize cross ventilation, daylight, and solar energy, the recycled oil-field pipe structure holds a laminated glass photovoltaic roof system that can produce roughly 87,000 kWh per year, one-third more power than needed, eliminating the dependence on grid-tied power for the winery and the vineyard irrigation wells through net metering. Using the laminated glass solar modules as both the actual primary roof and the renewable energy generator offset additional costs to construct an additional roof with separately mounted crystalline solar panels.

"Sustainability meets natural beauty in this one-of-a-kind building nestled in the scenic vista of wineries and olive gardens. This structure is much more than just a canopy, as its roof solar panels perched upon its minimalist steel frame convert beautiful California sunlight into useful electricity." —judge Devin Huber

Minimalistic materials were selected based on regional availability to withstand the particularly dry climate to achieve long-term durability and to minimize the need for maintenance. The primary column and roof structure is constructed of welded Schedule 40 reclaimed drill stem pipe, in 2-in., 3-in., and 3.5-in. diameters, left to weather naturally. The lateral force-resisting system (LFRS) consists of diaphragm rod cross-bracing and vertical tension-only cross-braced frames. Wood and WT steel flitch purlins welded to the pipe trusses support the laminated glass solar modules. An 8-in.-diameter Schedule 40 half-pipe gutter is situated at the low end of the roof to accommodate future rainwater harvesting. In addition, weathering corrugated perforated steel panels provide shade and filtered privacy to the equipment bays, and the barn doors are clad in weathered steel off-cuts that were saved for reuse from the adjacent winery shoring walls, and reused in a “calico” pattern to fit the oddly shaped panels to tube steel framed door leafs.

Standing sentry as the foremost structure upon entering the vineyard-lined property, the barn and its renewable energy system speak to the winery’s commitment to sustainability and subservience to the natural landscape. The barn is completely self-sufficient and operates independently from the energy grid, maximizing the structure’s survivability and resilience.

Owner: Saxum Vineyards, Paso Robles, Calif.
General Contractor: Rarig Construction, Inc., San Luis Obispo, Calif.
Architect: Clayton & Little, San Antonio
Structural Engineer: SSG Structural Engineers, LLP, San Luis Obispo, Calif.

  • Project Category: Year 2019
  • Location: Paso Robles, CA
  • Award Winner Year: 2019
  • Award Category: Merit Award - Less than $15 million
  • Year Completed: 2018
  • Submitting Firm: Clayton & Little
  • Photo Credit: 1-4 - Casey Dunn; 5 - Clayton & Little