rockhill and associates, lecompton, kan.

This rural Kansas project reminded the jury of Australian architect Glenn Murcutt's work. “There's something about the strength, beauty, and simplicity of this house that is just wonderful,” said one judge.

Firm principal Dan Rockhill stretched the long, narrow building along its pristine prairie site to gain as much southern exposure as he could. He covered the south side with glass, letting sunshine warm the interiors all day long. The south-facing awning windows team with elevated operable clerestories on the north side to provide cross-ventilation.

A sod roof helps insulate the house, but the aesthetic benefits of this grassy top are just as important. “As you approach the house, there's a momentary confusion because the sod roof has to emerge from the fields,” Rockhill says. The limestone-and-metal-clad house is there, all right, coexisting in peace with the wildflowers and jackrabbits.

principal in charge / general contractor: Dan Rockhill, Rockhill and Associates
project architect: David Sain, Rockhill and Associates
project size: 2,736 square feet
site size: 8 acres
construction cost: $141 per square foot
photography: Dan Rockhill