Goodman House / Preston Scott Cohen

Architects: Preston Scott Cohen
Location: Pine Plains, NY,
Structural Engineers: Don Montgomery, Bill Bishop
Lighting: Light This, Inc.,Daina Yurkus
Contractor: EEE, Inc., Eric Wolf
Client: Arnold and Elise Goodman
Program: Administrative building
Design year: 2001-2002
Construction year: 2003-2004
Constructed Area: 418 sqm

A transported, restored and re-erected Dutch barn frame is contained in this house like a guitar in its case. The gabled barn form appears to turn outside in due to a passageway traversing the entire width of the house. The breezeway converts into a winter garden by means of slide up screen doors and roll down glass doors. Thermally transformable, the breezeway/winter garden saves energy costs while allowing visual access from the interior living space to the upper reaches of the unheated fifth bay of the barn structure.

The clients’ affection for the antiquated timbers combined with their desire for an excessively lit and predominantly undivided interior did not allow for the reintroduction of the mezzanines and partitions that typically stabilize barn structures from within. Therefore, lateral structural stability has been reintroduced by a steel frame surrounding the barn. The enclosure wall with windows wraps the peripheral steel frame. It is as if nostalgia caused the emergence of a Modernist paradigm of construction more fitting to a commercial building than to a house. The relationship between compartmental and open spaces, small and large windows, refined and rustic structural components creates a rich and variable environment for living, entertainment, artistic production and exhibition.

Cite: "Goodman House / Preston Scott Cohen" 19 Mar 2009. ArchDaily. Accessed 23 Sep 2014. <>


  1. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    What a great space! I really like the aesthetic it gives off. Although I would have liked to see more photos of the mezzanine and then see the breezeway converted for winter garden use. Additionally a few more “detail” photographs would have been good, there were a lot of small interesting little rooms and niches that could have been further documented. All-in-all though a great project.

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    I love houses with the simplicity of a ‘Monopoly’ piece, but this one tweaks that simplicity with the fenestration and interior space.

    Interior and exterior in harmony, both pragmatic WYSIWYG with effortless style and panache… touché.

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    Preston Scott Cohen’s theoretical discourse translates convincingly into a physical space for every day living.

  4. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    The structure of antiquated timbers looks particulary great. Reminds me a bit of a warehouse. I also love the whole open space with a possibility to transform the areas.

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    With the steel frame’s independent lateral load resistance criteria, it could have been formally explored to serve as a counter form to the base form of the timber frame thereby creating a dialectic. Regardless if the steel frame is ultimately expresses as a surface (a skin) or a volume wrapping or containing the timber frame, a dialogue between the two protagonists of the project could have yielded a potentially more interest project. Instead the 1:1 relationship yielded a cliched iconography of the barn typology with windows as decorations. Granted, the architect may have had his hands tied behind his back as the client may have stipulated a barn identity for the project but that would simply confirm that for most architects even one as intellectually engaged with the discipline of architecture as PSC really doesn’t have a voice in the matter…

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    Nice work… four comments though:
    1. Roof overhangs are way too small to play a role they should have in prolonging the building lifespan.
    2. Heating bills will likely be significant. This is the state of NY.
    3. Maintaining such awkwardly placed windows clean will likely be quite a challenge.
    4. Seems like more time could be spent on a fenestration design to get some kind of a harmony in this disorder and to provide a user friendly building envelope.
    Otherwise … looks good…

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    I wonder if somebody could tell me how were the curves of Wu House designed by PS Cohen in 2000 generated??? My Thanks a lot if you can help!!!

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