Arielle Condoret Schechter’s “Haw River House” Wins Matsumoto Prize

The Paradis-Zimmerman home earns second place in the coveted Jury Awards category.

1.Haw River House drone view copy 2PHOTOS BY TZU CHEN

The modern, Net Zero house that Chapel Hill, NC, architect Arielle Condoret Schechter, AIA, designed for Kate Paradis and Scott Zimmerman received a high honor last week. Perched on a rocky knoll overlooking the rapids, the “Haw River House” received Second Place in the prestigious Jury Awards category during the 2020 George Matsumoto Prize, which recognizes excellence in modernist residential design.

NC Modernist, a nationally recognized educational non-profit organization, created the Matsumoto Prize in 2012 to honor modernist architect George Matsumoto, FAIA, one of the founding faculty members of North Carolina State University’s College of Design. The awards ceremony took place online this year.

HR2_Riverside elevation

According to NC Modernist executive director George Smart, the 2020 jury members “seemed to agree at the outset” that the 2600-square-foot house in the forest above the Haw River would be one of the three winners out of the 21 submissions.

“This is one of the houses I’m most proud of in my career so far,” Schechter said after the awards were presented. “I grew up on a river, New Hope Creek, which haunts me to this day. I hope I can work on other river-fronting houses because I feel tied to them.”

Arielle Schechter is known for giving her clients distinctly modern, environmentally sustainable houses that create as much or more energy than they use – i.e., Net Zero. The 2600-square-foot Haw River House is one of those. And like the others, it reflects its place — in this case, a harsh, remote, yet beautiful setting surrounded by a forest. Cantilevered decks and porches echo the angles of old trees that grow out over the water from the rocky riverbank. The butterfly roof references a huge, cleft boulder on the property that acts as a natural trough for rainwater.

Haw River House-47

The owners’ desire to enjoy constant, panoramic views of the river resulted in the floorplan’s clear orientation towards the river, the extensive glazing on the river-facing side, and those porches and decks that extend the interior living spaces outdoors.

“At night, the house glows like a lantern in the forest,” Schechter notes in the video she produced for the competition.

For more information on Arielle Condoret Schechter and more details about this award-winning Net Zero house, visit acsarchitect.com.

About the Matsumoto Prize and the 2020 Jury

The Matsumoto Prize focuses on the houses rather than the designers. Therefore, any residential designer — registered architect or not — may submit a modernist house he or she has designed as long as the house is located in North Carolina. For more information: ncmodernist.org/matsumotoprize.

Each year, a carefully selected jury of professionals selects the top three winners for the Jury Awards while a People’s Choice component invites public voting. This year, the jury included architects Toshiko Mori, FAIA, of New York; Barbara Bestor, FAIA, of Los Angeles; Stella Betts, New York; Annabelle Selldorf, FAIA, New York ; Hugh Kaptur, FAIA, Palm Springs, CA; Harry Wolf, FAIA, Los Angeles; and California architect/author/historian Alan Hess.

3.Haw River House_Cisterns

pod architecture + design to convert old industrial building in downtown Durham into new Liberty & Plenty Distillery

ENTRY WITH OPEN DOORS
RENDERING OF FRONT PORCH AND PUBLIC ENTRANCE, by pod a+d

pod architecture + design, an interdisciplinary design firm based in Chapel Hill represented by Blueplate PR, has been commissioned to design Liberty & Plenty Distillery, a new start-up craft distillery planned for downtown Durham that will produce rum, whiskey, gin, and flavored vodkas.

Solely owned by head distiller Tina Williford, MSc, of Raleigh, the project will involve the adaptive re-use of a former distillery in a one-story, brick, 3400-square-foot building at 609 Foster Street. Built in 1938, the structure was originally an RJ Reynolds tobacco packing house and warehouse. The back patio of the property’s Rickhouse event space (formerly an aging warehouse where packed tobacco barrels were stored) faces the old Durham Bulls stadium.

“I love the architectural concept of contrasting a fresh, contemporary space within the steel and wood patina of the prizery,” Williford says. The prizery was the place where the tobacco was “prized” or pressed into hogshead barrels for shipping. “Two traditional types of copper stills and other vacuum-based techniques will be used for distillation and blending based on the spirit created. This use of the space and the distilling processes complement and balance the old and the new.”

According to Doug Pierson, AIA, co-founder and principal architect at pod a+d, the architectural idea for Liberty & Plenty “focuses on the entry, the bar, and on the way visitors will experience the distillery.”

To that end, he and his partner, co-founder/designer Youn Choi, have custom-designed a multi-functional “furniture bar” to accommodate product tasting, retail displays, bottle sales, and casual seating for distillery events in one elegant furniture item.

FURNITURE BAR
RENDERING OF THE MULTI-FUNCTIONAL “FURNITURE BAR,” by pod a+d

The “furniture bar” will also create a visual and physical separation between guests and the production process. A physical separation is a state requirement for all operating distilleries.

“In other words, we’ll feed two birds with one seed,” Pierson said. “The furniture bar will satisfy the state mandate while accommodating a host of distillery needs.”

Like their client, the pod a+d team also believes the textural contrast between the clean lines and smooth wood of the furniture bar and the unrefined nature of the old brick building will be part of Liberty & Plenty’s appeal.

As for the name: The unique nomenclature for Williford’s future distillery is as North Carolina-centric as the location: It’s derived from the N.C. State seal. At the center of the seal are two robed figures,  “Liberty” on the left and “Plenty” on the right.

This project marks the fourth spirits distillery that pod a+d has designed, including the 55,000-square-foot Rabbit Hole bourbon distillery in downtown Louisville, Kentucky, which has received two design awards to date.

For more information on pod architecture + design, visit www.podand.com and follow the firm on Facebook.

About pod architecture + design

At pod a+d, we believe in the integration of architecture and all aspects of design to connect buildings + environment + identity. That’s why pod a+d is a hybrid firm, offering all architectural services, environmental design, experiential graphics, and wayfinding design. Exterior and interior architecture; furnishings and finishes; financial feasibility and scheduling; engineering and construction; and experiential graphics  –  considered simultaneously, these disciplines inform our hybrid/integrated approach to architecture. For more information: www.podand.com.

 

Blueplate PR client Arielle Condoret Schechter, AIA, is GREEN BUILDING & DESIGN’s Summer of 2020 “Architect To Watch”

ACS by her fireplace_cropped

Arielle Schechter on how Japan Inspires Her Design Philosophy

This architect builds for the North Carolina climate and for clients who crave sustainability.

By Jessica Mordaco

Light is the most important factor in architect Arielle Schechter’s design philosophy. Much of her design inspiration comes from Japanese architects who use screens and overhangs to block the sun while creating a seamless translucence from outdoors to indoors—that, and modernist design that connects inside spaces to nature. Schechter became interested in her craft at a young age, growing up with a famous mid-century architect as a father. “I always thought I’d work for him but, when he died, I had a lot of things I wanted to say in architecture,” she says. “I totally believe there’s no point in designing anything, much less a green building unless you’re going to make it wonderful for the people who live in it, too.”

So she started her firm Arielle Condoret Schechter, AIA, and she now works tirelessly to change public opinion that architects are scary and expensive to work with.

“I really don’t care how much money I make. I just want to get people to stop buying cookie-cutter, badly built developer houses that don’t have an architect involved because they’re inefficient.”

READ MORE…

INHABITAT: “Distinctly Modern Net Zero Home Sits in Harmony with its Woodland Surroundings”

5.Haw_Roof overhangs. Photo by Iman Wods copy 2
The Haw River House designed by Blueplate PR client Arielle Condoret Schechter, AIA

By Nicole Jewell | Photos by Tzu Chen

Chapel Hill-based firm Arielle Condoret Schechter is known for its commitment to building sustainable homes that don’t sacrifice elegance or comfort. The company’s latest work includes the spacious Haw River House, which was built with several efficient features to create a net-zero energy home that is seamlessly linked with its natural surroundings.

Tucked into a pristine woodland overlooking the Haw River, which runs through central North Carolina, the beautiful Haw River House sits in harmony with the landscape. Using this natural setting as inspiration, the 2,600-square-foot house is outfitted with several energy-efficient features that make it completely energy-neutral. READ MORE

ARCHITECTS + ARTISANS: “A Hawk’s-Eye View from a Haw River Home”

1.Haw River House drone view copy 2

Architecture writer Mike Welton considers a new residential project by Chapel Hill architect Arielle Condoret Schechter, AIA. (Photo by Tzu Chen)


For a new home on the Haw River in North Carolina’s Chatham County, architect Arielle Schechter found her inspiration in two places.

One was the river. The other was a rock.

“Walking down by the riverbank, there were so many trees cantilevered and bent out over the river, that I said: ‘I want this house to bend out over the river too,’” she says.

She placed the home on the only available buildable knoll since the 21-acre site slopes steeply down to a flood plain and riparian buffer below.

As for the rock, it actually was a huge granite boulder, split down the center. “It’s super-sculptural with a thin knife-blade through the middle where rainwater flows,” she says. “The idea of bisecting something appealed to me, so I did that with the butterfly roof.”

Then there was the raptor. READ MORE

 

DURHAM MAGAZINE: “How We Live Now: Personal Experiences During Quarantine”

When Durham Magazine editors looked around the Triangle to discover how a sampling of residents are making the most of the current COVID-19 quarantine, they called Blueplate PR client pod architecture + design in Chapel Hill to chat with architect Doug Pierson and experiential graphics designer Youn Choi, partners in life as well as the award-winning firm. The magazine posted the full story at durhammag.com/how-we-live-now-in-quarantine/. Below is Doug’s and Youn’s segment (plus the recent family photo by Jeremy Lange for the Wall Street Journal).

Doug and fam. Jeremy M. Lange
L-R: Sora, Doug, Oscar and Youn by their future home in Carrboro.

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‘Stay-at-home retreat’

Carrboro architects Doug Pierson and Youn Choi of pod architecture + design and their kids, Oscar, 18, and Sora, 15, live in a temporary townhome on Smith Level Road while they wrap up on a custom-built house they designed in Carrboro near South Green. Doug writes:

We are expecting our certificate of occupancy for our new house in a couple weeks, but it has been a challenge to finalize with the pandemic and stay-at-home requirements in place.

So, as we prepare for our eventual move, we are using our property as a “stay-at-home” retreat where we have family outdoor time. Activities include working on the house and site; checking out fish in our stream; walking to the old 1930s community Sparrow Pool ruin in our woods; having a picnic; homework; bike rides and walks.

WALL STREET JOURNAL: “For These Unique Homes, Being the Odd One Out Has Its Ups and Downs

Photo by Jeremy M. Lange

Outliers in architecturally distinct areas can linger on the market, but fetch a premium over comparable homes.

By Katy McLaughlin  |  Photos by Jeremy M. Lange for the WSJ

Youn Choi and her husband Doug Pierson are just finishing construction of a home in Carrboro, N.C., that is so “unique” and “quirky” that neighbors stand and stare at it from the road, said Mr. Pierson, 55.

One curious passerby called out “what is that?” When Mr. Pierson answered “it’s a house,” he responded, “really?” In general, neighbors have been encouraging, flashing “thumbs-up” signs or telling the couple they like it.

Doug and fam. Jeremy M. Lange
L-R: Sora, Doug, Oscar, and Youn

Mr. Pierson and his wife, who co-own an architecture and design firm in Chapel Hill, N.C., moved from Los Angeles, where they worked for contemporary design firms. Their suburban community features some historic mill houses and lots of newer, traditional homes. But the house the couple designed, with its snakelike form, cantilevered angles and black, corrugated-metal cladding, has few precedents in the area.

They paid $170,000 for the 1.3-acre lot which is close to downtown but filled with topographical challenges, including slopes and a creek, which necessitated the home’s meandering shape. So far, they have spent about $650,000 to build, and plan to move into the home in May, they said.

The Pierson/Choi home could fetch about $800,000 to $1 million, said Jeff Rupkalvis, owner of Dwell Real Estate in Carrboro. “It’s as unique a home as I’ve seen in Carrboro,” he said. Most homes in the area follow the traditional “five-four-and-a-door” format of five windows on the top floor and four on the ground level with the front door in the middle, he said… CLICK HERE to read the entire article

Real Estate Experts Intends to Plant 5000 Trees in Partnership with American Forests

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Real Estate Experts, a residential real estate and property management company based in Chapel Hill, will donate $50 to American Forests to aid in reforestation efforts for each real estate transaction.

Every $50 donation will amount to 50 trees planted on behalf of Real Estate Experts’ clients who will receive a certificate at closing, informing them that the company is planting trees in their names.

Client CertificatesAccording to Jodi Bakst, Real Estate Experts’ broker/owner, her company’s goal is to plant 5000 trees in 2020.

“Real Estate Experts is committed to doing our part to improve the environment and reduce our carbon footprint,” she said. “We’re confident we can meet our 5000 trees goal. In fact, we hope to exceed it.”

Reforestation efforts recover hundreds of thousands of acres of wildlife habitat, according to American Forests, along with safeguarding vital watersheds, absorbing millions of tons of greenhouse gases, and protecting some of the most picturesque landscapes in America.

“We’re thrilled to launch an exciting new partnership with Real Estate Experts,” said Lindsey Putz, American Forests’ director of corporate giving. “The company’s generous support will help us restore critical ecosystems across some of the country’s most important natural landscapes. Forests in these ecosystems collect and filter drinking water, provide wildlife habitat and naturally capture carbon emissions to slow climate change, so the work is more important than ever.”

Bakst’s partnership with American Forests is just one indication of her commitment, and her company’s commitment, to environmental stewardship. She is currently working on developing a new neighborhood in Orange County, NC, that will be 100 percent Net Zero Energy, the first of its kind in North Carolina.

About American Forests:

American Forests, the nation’s oldest conservation organization, has been restoring forests for more than 140 years. Since 1990 alone, they have planted nearly 60 million trees in forest restoration projects in all 50 states. They have also worked in dozens of cities across America, expanding the tree canopy and improving the quality of life for residents. American Forests uses trees and greenspace to make America’s communities more sustainable, beautiful and livable. For more information: www.americanforests.org.

About Real Estate Experts:

Real Estate Experts is a residential real estate and property management company that has been serving the greater Chapel Hill-Durham area, including Mebane and Burlington North Carolina, for over 20 years. In addition to providing high-level customer service to their buyer, seller and investor clients, Real Estate Experts has industry-leading expertise in transactions involving inherited homes, divorce negotiations and workouts, and in green building and high-performance properties. To learn more about Real Estate Experts, visit www.realestateexperts.net or contact Jodi Bakst at 919-928-5131 ext. 2 or email info@realestateexperts.net.

 

DWELL: “The Mason-Grabell ‘Beech’ House by Arielle Condoret Schechter, AIA

4.LeftSide_screen porch, wrap around deck

5.Rear Elevation
Anne and Bruce, the clients for this project, had recently relocated to Chapel Hill from Florida. They considered themselves “climate refugees” who no longer wanted to live through the yearly hurricanes they were experiencing in Florida. They selected Arielle Schechter for her modernist style, then agree to ramp up the design “Net-Zero Ready” in accordance with her commitment to sustainability.

They told Schechter they dreamed of a modest, yet decidedly modern, environmentally sustainable, age-in-place home in a natural, wooded setting. They found the perfect building site in a beech tree forest in Chapel Hill. READ MORE

Jodi Bakst of Real Estate Experts Makes Best Agents List

Out of 105 agents considered throughout the Triangle region.

Real Estate Experts
Jodi Bakst, owner, Real Estate Experts

After analyzing and scoring 105 agents, Expertise has awarded Jodi Bakst (left), owner of Chapel Hill-based Real Estate Experts, a place on its 2019 list of the Best Real Estate Agents serving Durham, NC.

“I’m thrilled!” Bakst said, smiling, as she downloaded the award badge for her agency’s website.

Based in Seattle, WA, Expertise uses proprietary, in-depth research and selection process, including detailed comparisons, to identify the top service professionals in over 200 different industries in significant cities across the United States.

Ultimately, the Expertise team conducts a manual review before notifying those who make the list. But first, Expertise’s in-house software grades them on Reputation, Credibility, Experience, Engagement (approachable and responsive to clients), and Professionalism.

“Jodi Bakst… began her career in the real estate field over two decades ago,” her Expertise listing points out. “Focusing on the local real estate market in Chapel Hill, Durham, and surrounding communities, she specializes in residential properties, green building, digital marketing, and property management.” It also notes her “many advanced certifications, including residential and luxury home marketing specialist, distressed property expert, and international property specialist.”

Expertise reports that the lists on its website, Expertise.com, receives over half a million monthly visitors. To see all of the lists of “Best Local Experts” by state, city, and category, visit expertise.com.

For more information on Jodi Bakst and Real Estate Experts, visit realestateexperts.net.

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About Real Estate Experts:

 Real Estate Experts is a residential real estate and property management company that has been serving the local market for over 20 years, going above and beyond to provide exceptional service to its clients. The agents are experts in their market and out-of-the-box thinkers when it comes to the real estate transaction, negotiation, and marketing. With their clients in mind, they listen and deliver the results they want. For more information, visit realestateexperts.net, call 919-928-9131, or email Jodi@realestateexperts.net.