Barn architecture in Tennessee: Langston Hughes Library by Maya Lin

“The Langston Hughes Library is a private non-circulating library designed by Maya Lin (most famous for her Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial in Washington DC), and located on the Haley Farm in Clinton, TN. It contains a 5,000-volume reference collection focusing on works by African-American authors and illustrator, and books focused on the Black experience.…

An 1860s refurbished barn and two corn cribs comprise the exterior skin of the building. The rustic exterior, which evokes the ‘architectural vernacular of 19th-century East Tennessee, a plain language of silvery, time-worn siding, rough logs, and minimal geometries,’ is melded with modern Shaker-like simplicity on the interior.

Maya Lin pointed out that the function of the exterior and that of the interior were different and thus she ‘wanted to make a real cut between outside and inside…there didn’t seem to be much point in preserving the rustic feel of the barn’s interior.’

…A striking aspect of the design (is) the glass-encased corn cribs that act as a base for the cantelievered barn that sits atop them. Margaret Butler of Martella Associates states that the glass between the logs ‘glows like a Chinese lantern’ at night…”


Maya Lin’s website:

About Lloyd Kahn

Lloyd Kahn started building his own home in the early '60s and went on to publish books showing homeowners how they could build their own homes with their own hands. He got his start in publishing by working as the shelter editor of the Whole Earth Catalog with Stewart Brand in the late '60s. He has since authored six highly-graphic books on homemade building, all of which are interrelated. The books, "The Shelter Library Of Building Books," include Shelter, Shelter II (1978), Home Work (2004), Builders of the Pacific Coast (2008), Tiny Homes (2012), and Tiny Homes on the Move (2014). Lloyd operates from Northern California studio built of recycled lumber, set in the midst of a vegetable garden, and hooked into the world via five Mac computers. You can check out videos (one with over 450,000 views) on Lloyd by doing a search on YouTube:

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