Raising the Barn

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January 15, 2009
Architect Preston Scott Cohen resurrected an early 1800s barn as a vacation home for a literary couple and their family, calling to mind both the agrarian spaciousness of the structure’s former life and the vernacular of its new function as a house. Transcending both, Cohen created a piece of architecture that is at once porous and opaque, familiar yet otherworldly. Read Full Article
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  "We didn't want to diminish the openness and height and feeling of a great expanse of space," says Arnold, though he adds, "I was slightly concerned that we were going to end up feeling like we were reading in Grand Central Station." Fortunately, the barn frame's horizontal beams perform a domestic function by creating the illusion of a lower ceiling. The three major anchor beams were hewn from a single tall yellow pine.  Photo by: Raimund Koch
    "We didn't want to diminish the openness and height and feeling of a great expanse of space," says Arnold, though he adds, "I was slightly concerned that we were going to end up feeling like we were reading in Grand Central Station." Fortunately, the barn frame's horizontal beams perform a domestic function by creating the illusion of a lower ceiling. The three major anchor beams were hewn from a single tall yellow pine.

    Photo by: Raimund Koch

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  In the bedroom, a "scarecrow" crafted by the Goodmans' grandson Eli hangs on the wall.  Photo by: Raimund Koch
    In the bedroom, a "scarecrow" crafted by the Goodmans' grandson Eli hangs on the wall.

    Photo by: Raimund Koch

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  In keeping with the Goodmans' desire for just enough subdivision for rooms to sleep and work in, Cohen inserted a two-story volume into one of the barn frame's side aisles. An additional small mezzanine over the kitchen serves as a play area for the grandchildren.  Photo by: Raimund Koch
    In keeping with the Goodmans' desire for just enough subdivision for rooms to sleep and work in, Cohen inserted a two-story volume into one of the barn frame's side aisles. An additional small mezzanine over the kitchen serves as a play area for the grandchildren.

    Photo by: Raimund Koch

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  Rather than concealing the barn frame in the private rooms, Cohen created an interplay between modern and historic elements in the master bathroom.  Photo by: Raimund Koch
    Rather than concealing the barn frame in the private rooms, Cohen created an interplay between modern and historic elements in the master bathroom.

    Photo by: Raimund Koch

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  A massive pine beam defines the master bathroom.  Photo by: Raimund Koch
    A massive pine beam defines the master bathroom.

    Photo by: Raimund Koch

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  In a narrow residual area between the breezeway and the house's northern elevation, Cohen created a so-called "skinny space," with a changing area accessible to the outdoor shower.  Photo by: Raimund Koch
    In a narrow residual area between the breezeway and the house's northern elevation, Cohen created a so-called "skinny space," with a changing area accessible to the outdoor shower.

    Photo by: Raimund Koch

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  The Pine Plains, New York, home of Elise and Arnold Goodman boasts 48 windows, the largest of which measures 8'6'' by 7'6''. As architect Preston Scott Cohen explains, the "free facade makes it impossible to identify how many levels there are, or even to tell the difference between a door and a window." From without, the windows reveal dramatic glimpses of the 18th-century barn farm and new steel structure that support the house. From within, says Elise, "Each season, each time of day, offers a different view of the world. It's spectacular."  Photo by: Raimund Koch
    The Pine Plains, New York, home of Elise and Arnold Goodman boasts 48 windows, the largest of which measures 8'6'' by 7'6''. As architect Preston Scott Cohen explains, the "free facade makes it impossible to identify how many levels there are, or even to tell the difference between a door and a window." From without, the windows reveal dramatic glimpses of the 18th-century barn farm and new steel structure that support the house. From within, says Elise, "Each season, each time of day, offers a different view of the world. It's spectacular."

    Photo by: Raimund Koch

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