Artist's Studio & Gallery from a Grainery
Paw Paw, Illinois
Central Illinois is dotted with a characteristic rural building form: a two-story, gambrel-roofed, drive-through structure with a large cross dormer. These buildings are not barns. Rather, they were designed only for grain storage, in strongly built bins the size of rooms on the upper level. Grain was delivered by a wagon unloaded safely out of the weather via a tall chain-and-bucket conveyor with a powerful motor at the top. The long narrow "side aisles" functioned as corncribs. This well-constructed speciman has been rejuvenated for a new life, now containing an artist's studio and art gallery. The fit is a perfect one, with the work spaces below, storage and stairs in the corncribs and the gallery in the grain bins above. New windows bring in generous natural light. The siding pattern and placement of new doors carefully follows the original appearance.
High windows, especially those in the equipment dormer, provide a beautiful top-light which is diffused by white upper walls and angled ceilings. The walls of the gallery are the original wooden bins that held the grain. The artist has crafted parts of the chutes (which had delivered grain to a wagon below) into supports for small sculptures.
|Right: The grainery before remodeling. Despite it's weathered appearance, the structure was sturdily built and in good condition.
Above: Interior views of the gallery space.
|Above: The artist's spacious studio has a tile floor and woodstove. The wood shop can be glimpsed beyond through the upper window opening. The side corncrib is now a a clean-up/ storage area; the slatted walls that allowed air to circulate and dry the corn can still be seen.