written by:
June 11, 2013
Originally published in America the Beautiful
as
The Big Screen
Architect Dan Rockhill tackled a tight budget and a steep slope to build a modern Midwest haven.
lawrence, kansas, midwest, dan rockhill, modern, house, wood, slats, screen

Photo by: Dan Rockhill

Courtesy of 
Dan Rockhill
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Modern facade with slatted Cumaru wood screen

Photo by: Dan Rockhill

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lawrence, kansas, midwest, dan rockhill, modern, house, wood, slats, screen

Photo by: Dan Rockhill

Image courtesy of Dan Rockhill.
Project 
Screen House
Architect 

Contemporary architecture in Lawrence, Kansas, is an anomaly. “On one of my earlier projects, I got the middle finger from passersby while constructing a flat roof,” says architect Dan Rockhill. As a result, Rockhill eagerly accepted a rare request for a modern home from a local family, even though they had just $214,000 to spend on design and construction.

Modern facade with slatted Cumaru wood screen

Photo by: Dan Rockhill

Rockhill’s first move was to remedy the site’s two drawbacks—a steep slope and street noise—in one swoop by placing the bulk of the 1,500-square-foot home on the second level and tucking an additional bedroom, bathroom, and carport underneath. But, his biggest flourish was a slatted exterior screen of Cumaru wood that shields the inexpensive metal siding. Although the South American hardwood was a splurge, Rockhill felt its visual impact and overall durability was worth it: “On smaller projects you are lucky to be able to make two big gestures, so you’d better make them good,” he says.

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