The Adaptive Reuse of the Appel Barn

The year the school opened in 2006, it was clear that there was a need for a structure that could house workshop facilities for the students. A barn structure was generously donated and moved to site by the Appel Family and adapted into two workshop spaces for carpentry and masonry projects. Affectionately known as ‘the barn’ by students and staff, it is a wonderful example of an adaptive reuse project that students were integral in moving and adapting.



The barn—and an adjacent chicken coop—were originally located on the Phillips Estate located at Queen and Mississauga Streets in Niagara-On-The-Lake. Students and staff dismantled and documented the barn and chicken coop and the site at the Willowbank Estate was prepared for its placement.

After the foundation was laid, students, staff and faculty began to re-erect the timber frame barn structure, with additional structural support for the attic storage space. As much of the original structure was re-used, with only those members being deemed structurally unsound replaced.



The L-shaped barn was newly clad using a board and batten cladding to match the original. A new floor was laid with the added upgrade of in-floor radiant heating that would allow for a controlled and quiet heat. The eastern portion of the barn was fitted with a poured cement floor that would hold up to masonry workshops, while the western barn, intended for use as a carpentry workshop, was fitted with a new wooden floor. An accessible washroom was added as well.

The barn was painted—students experimented with traditional paints—to match its original blue colour. Today the barn is used for stone workshops and carpentry classes. The chicken coop is used for storage. This masterful adaptive reuse accomplished by staff and students adds to the School’s layer on the estate.



The Barn Project Generously Sponsored by:

Bluma and Bram Appel
Laura and Jim Dodson
Rainer Hummel and Associates

Additional Sponsors:

Drew Chapman
Cotton Construction
Creek Road Paints
Doug Erickson
Froese Construction

Lanark Cedar
Willi Pankratz
Penner Building Supplies
Peter’s Excavation
Julian Smith

Quartek Group
Telcon Datvox
Victor Tarnoy
Walker Industries Holding Ltd.