The desire to build a boat is the desire of youth, unwilling yet to accept the idea of a final resting-place. It is for that reason, perhaps, that, when it comes, the desire to build a boat is one of those that cannot be resisted. It begins as a little cloud on a serene horizon. It ends by covering the whole sky, so that you can think of nothing else. You must build to regain your freedom. And always you comfort yourself with the thought that yours will be the perfect boat, the boat that you may search the harbours of the world for and not find.(Arthur Ransome, “Racundra’s First Cruise”, 1923)

A craftsman-tinkerer and his wife commissioned BBSA to design a barn and garage for their property with views of the East Branch Westport River. The barn accommodates space to build wooden boats, the first vessel being an 18’-7” utility launch. The garage has space for three vehicles: two cars and a tractor. The site layout takes inspiration from Westport status as a ‘right to farm’ community, as well as the need to access the boat barn with vehicles, and distributes the composition as a farmstead. This language extends to the formal and material decisions: these are simple volumes clad in unfinished cedar shingles that will be allowed to weather over time, an idiom familiar to the locale.

Project Details

Location: Westport, Massachusetts

Client: Withheld

Size: 2,050 GSF (barn) + 1,100 GSF (garage)

Budget: Withheld

Completion: 2019

Consultants: Dan Bonardi Consulting Engineers (Structural)

Contractor: R.P. Valois

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