6.21 Hungarian corncrib inspires rethinking light and aesthetics

6.21.Hungary-3-detail-c Highlights Relevant to Sustainable Design:

Form follows function.

This corncrib is one that particularly struck me as interesting. The quality of light inside is totally unique in that it creates some sort of cage effect. These small buildings are simply intended to dry corn, but they may provide a larger architectural inspiration. The one on the left is made of sticks and vines like a large basket. Like the pattern design for the sunflowers by Otto Wagner in sketchbook Austria 1: Detail (c), the weave of the corncrib appears to be simple, but on closer inspection, it is more complex with alternating sizes and then a double twist every seventh row. For roofs, one is thatched, while the other is tiled. The bent wood details along each post elevate this structure from shed to craft and from craft to art. Both are something of a piece of sculpture rather than a farm building.

The question of time must be addressed. Why would someone spend the time to decorate a corncrib? The only thing I can imagine is that part of human nature drives us to make something our own. We have history dating back to cave men where we would personalize the caves with cave paintings. Since this farmer does not have either a sports car to customize or even a TV to watch, why not spend the time to decorate the shed?

Across the Atlantic on the Amish farms in Pennsylvania, I saw a similar attention to detail in storage buildings like corncribs. See sketchbook USA 5: Detail (a). The idea of building something that lasts out of locally available materials is central to sustainable design.

For comparison, here is an example of a traditional corncrib in America:


Author and illustrator: Charlie Szoradi is an architect, inventor, and the CEO of Independence LED Lighting. He writes about many other topics related to corncrib and farm building design through his extensive travels around the world.

If you have found this posting online, it is an excerpt from Mr. Szoradi’s book Learn from Looking that served as the inspiring seed content for this drawing share resource. For additional drawings and insights on functional and aesthetic impact from structures like a corn crib, we hope that you enjoy exploring You can search via general terms such as sustainability as well as narrower terms such as a corn crib or bank barn on a farm.


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