Choosing a barn that’s right for you starts with your horses and their comfort. Second only to happy horses, though, is the way the barn will affect you: do you need extra storage? Easy access to arenas in all weathers? Accommodations for you or your staff? As we continue to look at different barn styles, one style that particularly lends itself to living quarters and extra storage comes to mind: the monitor, or raised center-aisle, barn.
Frequently built around pole construction, lending longevity and sturdiness to the structure, monitor barns are distinctive from typical center-aisle barns thanks to their raised central portion. It could be a simple lift of a few feet to improve ventilation and lighting (a great choice in warm climates, where air circulation is of paramount concern), or it could be a full additional story raising above the barn’s central aisle, giving you ample room for living quarters, storage, or both.
At its most basic, the monitor roof style gives extra airflow and light to your barn. The overhangs formed by the raised central roofline gives your center aisle protection from the elements, but allow in fresh breezes and allow hot air rising up from the stalls to escape — as we’ve talked about before, horses release a lot of heat!
This design can save you the trouble of putting in translucent roof panels to allow in extra light, while still keeping your electric bill down. If you’re in a sunny climate where your need for a barn open to the breezes is competing with your need for an aisle protected from the elements, this version of the monitor barn is an ideal choice.
The raised center-aisle can be used for so much more than ventilation, though. If you need storage or living quarters, keep building up. Your raised center aisle roofline could become a full second story of your barn, perfect for finished spaces — think barn apartment, offices, a viewing area for your arena, or just a recreation room for students.
The advantages of a monitor barn are similar to those of the center-aisle barn, as discussed in last week’s blog post. You’ll find protection from the elements and ample work-space in your aisle. If you simply add on the raised aisle roof for ventilation, however, you’ll beat the center-aisle barn’s main disadvantage: a lack of light. One great example of this on our website is Carriage House Farm, where the raised center aisle houses a clerestory of windows, flooding the aisle with light.
A monitor barn is also a great solution when your property is short on space. Moving some storage or living elements upstairs frees up more ground for your horses, whether you expand your turn-out or your riding arenas. An especially elegant version of this approach is found in Whitham Farm, where a second story residence overlooks turn-out areas attached to each horse’s stall.
The sheer variety of customizations available to you makes the monitor or raised center-aisle barn an especially popular choice for horse stables. It’s a classic look with many modern applications. Take a look through our gallery for more ideas on how to make this barn style work for you.