Home > Our Philosophy > Barn’s Spiritual Roots, 4/9/06
david bagwell philosophies Bagwell Colleyville/Dallas TX communities  


Cathedral-like Space Reveals Barn’s Spiritual Roots

  Architect Mies van der Roh said, “God is in the details”, as those who experience the New World Dutch Barn in Whittier Heights are sure to agree.

The purpose of the New World Dutch Barn being restored in Colleyville's Whittier Heights neighborhood is not agricultural but aesthetic, communal, even spiritual.

Kevin Durkin, who located and dismantled the skeleton of the 250-year-old barn in upstate New York, will raise it again in Whittier Heights on May 20. He observes, “The interior post and beam framing of the New World Dutch Barn is what so distinguishes it. Unlike other barns, Dutch barns are built according to the ‘basilica plan’ with a central area called a ‘nave’, as in Medieval European cathedrals. The word ‘nave’ means ‘ship’ in Latin. Looking up from the nave of a Dutch barn, one sees a sweeping gable roof culminating in the ridge overhead. The roof rafters with horizontal roof boards overlaid resemble the interior of a wooden ship, or ‘navis’. In this, we find a medieval architectural feature in the most unexpected place, an old barn.”

Restoration architect Robin McCaffrey says, “As an architectural expression, an old barn belies our simple understanding of the physical world, a world ruled by principals that we accept as truth but, unlike our forefathers, no longer find the need to master. Among these principals are gravity, wind, and weather, forces larger than ourselves that we rarely even ponder. They are among the Glories of God that we are allowed to see as He passes by. In reconciling with these forces, old barns evoke in us a mystical sensation, whereby we sense that God is in His heaven and all is well with the Universe.”

The restored New World Dutch Barn in Whittier Heights will serve as a gathering place for formal and informal occasions, contributing to the ‘Sense of Place’ of this timeless neighborhood.

For information about Whittier Heights, call Susan Folkert at 214/673-6754 or click here.


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