Meadow Brook North Barn Wins Statewide Award

Meadow Brook North Barn, on the Campus of Oakland University, Wins Statewide Award

With its bright yellow exterior, Oakland University’s Meadow Brook North Barn is easily seen from Walton Boulevard on the northeast corner of campus.

The 100-year-old barn – which recently underwent a series of renovations – caught the attention of the Michigan Barn Preservation Network (MBPN), who named it the 2016 Barn of the Year in the Non-Profit Agricultural or Adaptive Use category.

Meadow Brook North Barn at OU

Meadow Brook North Barn at OU

Freshly Renovated

OU Facilities Management oversaw the renovations, which took place between 2014 and 2015. They included straightening the barn’s posture and repurposing the usable planks to rebuild and restructure the barn. A new foundation was put in place, along with new cedar roof shingles and new cupolas, which protrude from the barn’s roof, as well as a fresh coating of “Light Mellow” yellow paint.

The barn restoration was an “opportunity that was waiting to happen,” according to Terry Stollsteimer, associate vice president for Facilities Management at OU.

“Research was done on the original look and paint color,” Stollsteimer said. “We engaged Geoffrey Upward, executive director of Meadow Brook, to investigate the history and background of the structure, and we took steps to ensure the structure would last another 100 years. It is very rewarding to know that the community supports that effort.”

Tammis Donaldson, who was part of the team of professionals that restored the barn, submitted the nomination to the MBPN awards committee.

2016 Barn of the Year

2016 Barn of the Year

Barns were judged based on seven criteria:

  • Photogenicity – architectural character, condition of exterior, setting, quality of pictures
  • Integrity – feeling, amount of historic fabric present, quality of changes made (excluding setting)
  • Uniqueness – degree of distinction, if any
  • Rehab: Heroic effort – scale of project, amount of work (framing, siding, roof, paint, utilities) regardless of results
  • Rehab: Thoroughness – degree of completion, details (including setting)
  • Rehab: Creativity – solutions to plan/design/construction problems
  • Merit – awarded for something extra not accounted for in other categories

OU’s barn was rated highest in its category for all seven criteria.

“I was glad to play a part in preserving the barn,” said Donaldson, principal at Ekocite Architecture. “It’s rewarding on many levels – I’m an architect, I grew up in the Rochester area, and the barn is a landmark on campus . . . it was worth preserving.”

Donaldson attended the MBPN annual conference in May and accepted the Barn of the Year award on behalf of OU. The University received a plaque, as well as signage to display on the barn.

Established in 1995, The MBPN is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting appreciation, preservation and rehabilitation of Michigan barns, farmsteads and rural communities.

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