Situated 80 miles north of New York City making it an ideal weekend destination, Kent Barns is a unique enclave of over a dozen structures, including five restored historic barns, retail shops, as well as gallery and office spaces. A village within a village, the idyllic retail hub of Kent Barns offers a breath of refined and fresh air to both locals, vacationers, and those passing through.
Although it was always a popular place to dine and shop with friendly service and artisanal products, Kent Barns lacked an identity. Circulation patterns were unorganized, there were no meaningful gathering areas, and the landscape lacked any sense of cohesion. Though the buildings were historic barns and conveyed a rich and storied past, there was not a very good flow among the different retail vendors. As a unique artists’ enclave with studio spaces and high-caliber galleries, it was pertinent that people be encouraged to meander, pass leisurely between different vendors, and the current layout did not inspire this exploratory pace.
Working with the existing architecture, Hoerr Schaudt created a new master plan that harmoniously blended both vehicular and pedestrian circulation areas into a village-like setting. The design of site elements such as walls, fencing, lighting and signage placed emphasis on the use of regional and historic materials in a contemporary fashion to evoke the spirit of the place.
Acknowledging that the peak of tourist season for this region is in the fall, the planting design for the project was structured around the use of a robust palette of grasses, and other plant materials that maintain strong formal, textural and color interest in that season.