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Sagamore Clock Tower West Elevation

University of Maryland site plan

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Weather and a Strengthening Economy May be Behind Upsurge in Blackburn Architects Equestrian Projects

Written by: Carrie Wirth
Client: Blackburn Architects http://blackburnarch.com/
Release Date: 2014-06-05

Wellington, FL – June 5, 2014 – Blackburn Architects led by founder John Blackburn, has noted a recent boom in equestrian building projects.

"I’m not sure if it is the economy or climate change and weather or both that have contributed to the increase in business,” said Blackburn. “It may just be that horse people have just gotten tired of both and have decided to get back to enjoying their horses."

Blackburn is uncertain of the underlying cause for the demand in his firm’s services, but following the release of his new book, Healthy Stables by Design in September 2013 and a six-month book tour that took him to all areas of the country, he has noticed new energy in the equestrian community.

“Horses are back and equestrian building projects seem to be all the rage,” Blackburn said.

Maybe it’s the economy or maybe it’s the weather. But of the 19 equestrian projects Blackburn Architects has in progress, eight include enclosed arenas that are much more likely in demand after the bitterly cold winter of 2014.

But the uptick in projects is not limited to the northeast or the Snow Belt and Blackburn currently has equestrian projects underway in 15 states. Seven projects are in master planning stage, six projects are in design, and six are currently in construction. The equestrian disciplines practiced at the various project locations are divided among western (1), hunter/jumper (7), dressage (3), eventing (3), recreational (3), racing (2) or combinations of several. The new energy appears to be across the board.

Though budgets are tighter than they were before the economy weakened in 2008, equestrian landowners are returning and looking for features like sustainability, (such as Blackburn Greenbarns®) and ways they can build for their program needs without overextending financially. Owners are keeping a more watchful eye on their budget, phasing their plans over the long term, and developing master plans that look at the entire farm and not just the lowest cost way to build a barn. They are learning that there are other, often hidden costs to building and operating a horse barn that go beyond the cost of construction. They are discovering the value in smart planning, not just penny pinching.

Projects in Michigan, Texas, Virginia and Hawaii will be customized Blackburn Greenbarns®. Blackburn Greenbarns® are pre-designed barn models that reduce the design fees associated with custom design. These barn models, which can be tweaked and modified, offer all functional quality, sustainability with efficiency planned into their design and building schedule.

Most of the projects are private facilities with several for prominent names in the equestrian world. For instance, Blackburn is currently producing an additional two projects at Sagamore Farm, the former home of racing legends Native Dancer and Bed of Roses, owned by Kevin Plank, CEO and founder of Under Armour. Blackburn had previously renovated and redesigned three of the barns on the property.

Blackburn and his firm has also been retained by the University of Maryland Animal Science Department to begin a more detailed design of the second phase of the renovation of the campus farm. The firm completed the master plan last year as part of the first phase of the renovation. They are teamed with Ayers Saint Gross, Architects from Baltimore on that project.

Another exciting Blackburn project is the design of a therapeutic riding facility for the Northern Virginia Therapeutic Riding Program. Construction is expected to begin in the fall.

About Healthy Stables By Design by John Blackburn with Beth HermanHealthy Stables by Design is a museum-quality coffee table book that illustrates Blackburn’s approach to equestrian architecture through dramatic photography and compelling writing.

It introduces the concepts of aerodynamic ventilation, strategic natural light and passive solar heating and cooling into significant horse barn designs ranging from exquisite to functional.

All author profits from the sale of Healthy Stables by Design have and will continue to be donated to various equine charities including Hooved Animal Humane Society, PATH International’s Wounded Warrior Project, Reins Therapeutic Riding Program, The Equine Rescue League and many more. In 2013, Blackburn completed a total of 18 events in two months and raised over $7,000 for various horse charities.

About John Blackburn

John Blackburn serves as the President and Senior Principal of Blackburn Architects, a Washington, D.C., firm. He has 35 years of expertise in architecture and 30 years of work focusing specifically on equestrian architecture with more than 160 horse farm designs to his credit. His award-winning work is widely known for its beauty, functionality and sustainability.

Blackburn has built facilities for racing, polo, dressage, hunters and jumpers and Quarter Horses in a variety of climates and evolving site conditions and he has been featured in dozens of equestrian, architecture and luxury lifestyle publications.

Click here to learn more about Blackburn Architects.

For more about Healthy Stables by Design, by John Blackburn click here

Click here to order Healthy Stables by Design by John Blackburn with Beth Herman. All author proceeds donated to equine charities.

Sponsored by:
Lucas Equine Equipment
http://www.lucasequine.com/

 

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