Modern meets the levee on May 11

Lawrence Modern Open Houses May 2019

Tim Hossler

The fusion of vernacular and modern is not unique to Lawrence but so many interesting examples abound here—Dan Rockhill’s contemporary prairie designs come to mind—that they have become a kind of regional architectural dialect. Nowhere is this more evident than in North Lawrence, where cues from the surrounding landscape and architecture—broad, flat floodplain with grain elevators and chicken coops—have been applied to a cluster of homes near the Kaw River levee. The resulting small farm industrial look is interesting architecturally and geographically, if only because it’s hard to imagine these structures belonging anywhere else. Many of them have been design-built by Scott Trettel, including the first home on our tour (226 N. 6th Street) owned by Becky Harpstrite. A modern take on the so-called “dogtrot” style common in the south, the house has two separate living areas connected by a glass-enclosed breezeway. It also features the traditional Japanese Shou Sugi Ban treatment on the exterior siding, where the wood has been charred with blowtorches to achieve a rustic look. The result is stunningly beautiful.

The second home on the itinerary, located at 718 Ash Street, fuses shed-roof modernism with a native Rockhillian feel. (Indeed, owners Steve and April Evans owned Rockhill’s “Kansas Longhouse” for six years before moving into town.) The house is a design collaboration between Steve, a retired architect, architect Dan Hermreck, and builder Kenn Peters, who together have created a house responsive to the long and narrow site with views toward the levee. A house that is modern architecturally, but vernacular in nature.

We look forward to sharing these special homes with you in North Lawrence. Please tread lightly because it is a residential neighborhood and the streets are narrow. Parking will be challenging. Please carpool, or park near the parks. Do not park on Walnut or Ash Streets. Consider walking from 226 N. 6th St. to 718 Ash St., it is only a few blocks away.

Tom Harper, Tim Hossler, Dennis Domer & Bill Steele


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