The Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture was created from a 49,000 square foot complex of Norman-style barns which were converted to an educational center, offices, and a restaurant. Originally designed by Grosvenor Atterbury, the barns were built in the early 1930s by John D. Rockefeller, Jr. near Kykuit, the Rockefeller Estate. The Center is now part of an 80 acre non-profit farm and nature preserve developed by David Rockefeller, Sr., his daughter Peggy Dulany and D.R. Horne & Company.
The Center's mission is to "demonstrate, teach and promote sustainable, community-based food production." The renovated spaces within and around the Stone Barns seek to support this mission through their flexibility, material choices and connections to the surrounding landscape. Conference and classroom spaces are easily divisible to suit smaller or larger groups, while outdoor spaces were conceived to accommodate informal gatherings of students or visitors.
The powerful presence of stone-informed material choices throughout the project, which included white oak stained to match the original chestnut, stained concrete and slate. Generally, new interventions within the massive stone walls were designed to be light and transparent, with simple, minimal detailing. Most of the interior spaces connect to adjacent exterior ones, while substantial windows allow for views of the surrounding Hudson Valley landscape.
The larger landscape and site planning included demonstration gardens, used as part of the Center's educational mission, and a multi-acre greenhouse, developed with Eliot Coleman, which operates year-round.
Although the client elected not to pursue LEED accreditation, many principles of LEED are evident in the project. These include, most obviously, preserving the existing barn structures, as well as using a palette of natural, durable materials and high-efficiency MEP systems. The project was awarded a NYSERTA certification for sustainability from the state of New York.