The Kahn House; Lima, Ohio; 1985

The Ohio of the 19th century was the agricultural heartland of the nation. Today's Ohio is still considered heartland--although it is now perhaps more industrial than agricultural--and visible still, among the interstate highways and the chimneyless factories of modern technology, is the rare, white board-and-batten, Gothic Revival farmhouse of the past. The site of this house, not surprisingly, was an abandoned farm.  The design of the house reflects the program set out by the clients, a busy obstetrician and his growing family. It consciously abstracts elements from older houses nearby--houses that not only reflect stylistic traditions but also come to terms with the climatic extremes of the region. The plywood-and-batten house recalls these older farmhouses while minimizing the details and adding such products of 20th century technology as insulating glass and thermal, reflective insulation to the 19th century balloon-frame exterior. A factory-coated metal roof whose battens align with those on the walls of the house contributes to the desired verticality of the design and contributes the implied architectural order. The center-hall plan, attached burgundy "barn," and oversized glass cupola also borrow from historical architectural forms. The "barn" is connected to the house by a glass-enclosed link, veiled with trellis screens; it contains a guest suite above the four-stall garage. Eleven bay windows focus views from the interior of the house on the woodland. A long allee cut through the scrub on axis with the living room's bay windows heightens the sense of domain.

Winner: Award for Excellence in House Design, Architectural Record 1986

Published: Architectural Digest, "Houses that Work," Nov. 1982; Architectural Record, April 1986: 128-133; House Beautiful, Sept 1986: 76-81

Project Architect: David Takesue

Architectural photography: Robert C. Lautman