Shiner Prairie Shop
SHINER PRAIRIE SHOP
The tall timber structure on the roadside just outside the historic town of Shiner, TX is an eye-catcher, with windows on all sides and “portholes” that follow the rounded roof. It is the wood workshop where Ross Tieken, co-owner of Shiner Pork & Beef, makes cabinets and furniture. Trained as an architect, he designed the building on the footprint of his grandfather’s old concrete workshop, and built it together with son Ross Jr., 19 years ago.
“This area is known as the Shiner prairie. So the three-tiered arched roof is to reflect the rolling hills of the prairie,” says Ross. “You notice the windows stacked one on top of each other? As you look or move from the back to the front, the top window shifts this way, the bottom window shifts that way. It reflects the motion of KR Bluestem [a prairie grass] blowing in the wind. And those portholes, they represent sunrise to sunset.’”
The old wooden workshop is getting competition from a new construction project: a handmade wooden building that will house the farm’s roadside shop. Architect and furniture maker Ross Tieken designed it, using the Golden Section, a mathematical proportioning system. “They call it God’s thumbprint because it is found throughout nature: the way rose petals are arranged, the swirls on a snail, how waves turn over. It all works out to the ‘golden ratio’ of 1.618 to 1. I started out with my own height—I am six-feet-four—and everything else is proportional to that.
The roof is shaped by arched trusses—each one took a good two and a half hours to assemble—and it creates a flowing design that some compare to Noah’s ark, and others to a skate ramp.
It is a family project and they’re all building it together.
“I always tell people ‘I married a German, which means we do it ourselves,’” says Patricia Tieken. “When he worked on the old workshop, he even built a crane out of wood. We used to call it the Bronto Crane (like a Brontosaur) and it’s how he put all those pieces on the roof.”
Conceived as a place to sell Ross’s furniture, the shop—set to open later this year—will also be a space for other local artists to display and sell their products. The design includes a commercial kitchen where they will sell homemade custard to take home and churn into ice cream as well as pies made with farm-grown fruit.