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Modern Speakeasy

Overton Mountain Development Partnership, Rockhill and Associates

Project Name

Modern Speakeasy

Project Status



1,376 sq. feet

Construction Cost



  • General Contractor: Dan Rockhill
  • Dan Rockhill

Room or Space


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Project Description

2006 RADA
Outbuilding / Merit

Dan Rockhill may be the only architect in the country who's designed a home restaurant. The zoning-be-damned outbuilding he fashioned for a Lawrence, Kan., chef serves as the dining room of a not-quite-legal establishment run by the owner and his wife. “There's no sign, you can't park in front, and you have to ask where it is,” Rockhill explains. “It attracts people looking for something just quirky enough.”

The concept sounds tailor-made for Rockhill, an iconoclast who takes building as seriously as design. He and project architect David Sain renovated the owners' kitchen into a commercial-grade one and added on an apartment for the chef's mother-in-law. The new, transparent dining room sits just a few feet behind the house. Insulated glass, steel cross bracing, and a grass roof fortify the 30-seat structure against cold and wind. “It's an out-of-your-mind building,” said one judge approvingly. “It's bold and graphic.”
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