Project Quick Facts

Building Client

Saxum Vineyards

Structural Engineer

SSG Structural Engineers

General Contractor

Rarig Construction, Inc.

Software Used


Structural Components

Steel Post & Beam

Year Completed


Project Background

Saxum Vineyards, located in the Willow Creek District of Paso Robles, CA is focused on producing award winning Grenache, Syrah, and Mataro based blends using a sustainable process free of chemical fertilizers, herbicides, or pesticides. In addition to the open-air storage that the barn provides, the primary function is to serve as a framework for the attached photovoltaic roof panel system, which offsets more than 100% of the winery’s power demand (roughly 87,000 kWh per year), furthering its commitment to sustainability.

"The ability to quickly and easily graphically adjust the RISA-3D model made for efficient design investigation."

— Michael Parolini, PE, SE

About the Structure

The structure, designed as a post-frame pole barn utilizes both new steel pipe as well as reclaimed Schedule 40 drill stem pipe in diameters of 2, 3 and 3.5 inches. These materials were chosen specifically because of their regional availability, low need for maintenance and their likelihood of providing long-term durability. The main roof structure, which supports the laminated glass solar modules, is comprised mainly of wood and custom WT steel purlins. These purlins are then attached is a series of space frames that span the long direction of the structure. The lateral system consists of a horizontal roof diaphragm made up of steel rod cross-bracing as well as vertical tension-only braced frames.

How Were RISA Products Utilized?

For the engineer, SSG Structural Engineers, the project was tailor made for RISA-3D due to its ease of use and flexibility. The software’s graphical interface also gave the engineer full control and ability to quickly construct an entire 3D model so that consistent design coordination with the architect could be achieved. Since the architect’s vision required strict limits on the diameter of the pipe used, the engineers utilized section sets in RISA-3D to quickly analyze various design iterations and make changes as necessary. Additionally, the speed of calculation allowed for the rapid evaluation of member torsion as well as deflection of the roof structure and space frame. Overall, the structure serves as a reminder of the vineyards commitment to sustainability and proves that even a simple structure can provide lasting impact when designed with purpose.

Images 1 & 3: Casey Dunn Photography | Image 2: Clayton & Little