When my wife, Bonnie, and I purchased "Village Farm" in historic Waldoboro, Maine (home of the famous five-masted schooners), we did so because of the classic 1840 red three-story barn sitting on the hilltop pasture.
We decided to build an addition to the barn. Our carpenter suggested a "buttress style" addition to the east side with a corrugated metal roof that would stand 10 feet tall at its highest next to the outside wall of the barn. The maintenance free red metal roof, which comes in 14-foot long sections, would slope away from the barn to a height of 7 feet along the outside wall. This would give us a 30-foot enclosure that was 12 feet wide. Since we knew that we would eventually have to separate males and females, we decided to continue the enclosure around the back side of the barn as well, giving us and "L" shaped buttress wrapped around the south-east corner of the barn. This gave us two 30 x 12 foot legs with a 12x12 corner section adjoining them, which we use as a catch pen/ birthing area, totaling 864 sq. feet.
The idea of creating an additional structure off of an existing barn has provided the benefit of using the building to stage all the activities that go along with owning alpacas. The horseshoe shaped loft in our barn is used for general storage as well as for storing a year’s worth of square hay bales. We have room for a work shop, a firewood storage area, fiber processing equipment, as well as a tack room—where we keep grain in plastic barrels, a vet supply closet, and halters and leads hung on wall pegs. Along the back wall, we have proudly hung show ribbons (which a visitor can’t miss before being led out to see the animals).
The best thing is that our alpacas really like the set up. They like the openness that the wide doorways and large windows afford, and they are more comfortable going into a structure with high clearance above. They like the shade and the coolness of the crushed stone floor in the summer. They are protected from the cold north winds in the winter bedding down on lots of straw. We really like being able to walk only 15 feet from our farmhouse back door into the side door of the barn, especially during birthing season.
I estimate that building a structure off of the existing barn reduced our building costs by a third—and I like that!