Stagecoach Farm

The first project of 2016 was a departure for 9.SQUARE.  We have designed numerous rehabs and renovations of commercial and residential properties.  But we do not often design custom residences.  We have highlighted the Off-The-Grid house and the Wooded Residence in our blog, but those projects are few and far between.


This project, Stagecoach Farm is an existing farmstead southeast of Rochester along the historic St. Paul to Dubuque Stagecoach Trail.  While no longer an active wagon trail, the path the trail took is more or less imprinted on Rochester's built fabric with the U.S. 52 highway corridor.  As a local blogger noted, "the trail's hey-day was only about a decade long, from just before Minnesota statehood in 1858 to roughly 1870" and originally the trail ran right through downtown Rochester in fact.

The farm site is vacant now but intended to be the future home for a young family.  It will include service buildings and a new residence that takes advantage of the breathtaking southern and southwestern view to the largest extent possible.  

panaramic view to the south and southwest

But what made this opportunity so special for us, was that another primary goal for the project was to ensure the siting, orientation, location, design and envelope were to work in concert with the natural site.  This meant careful attention to all aspects of design including the site topography, sun angles and shadow casting, viewsheds, and air currents.  All of these aspects are inextricably linked to design and we relished the chance to translate them into various design ideas.

existing topography and structures

existing topography and structures


As with every one of our projects, we start with in-depth conversations about the vision.  Once we understand the goals we can begin testing different design scenarios or concepts to gauge how close we are getting to that ideal vision.  This iterative process is often non-linear but ultimately yields a contextual result.  

After careful study of the land features and these multiple options, we now have found agreed upon locations for the various aspects of the development including barn, garage, and house.  The next steps will be to design and construct each piece as they are able to proceed.  We are optimistic that the first structure will break ground in 2016.  Stay tuned for more updates from this project which will definitely be a showpiece.  

shadow casting studies (winter)

shadow casting studies (winter)

shadow casting studies (summer)

shadow casting studies (summer)