Triangle Architecture Fans Head “Downeast”

Spotlighting three Modernist houses in Rocky Mount and Greenville, NC.

The 1952 Dowd residence in Rocky Mount


February 15, 2011 (DURHAM, NC) – Triangle Modernist Houses (TMH) will host its first “Downeast Modernist Tour” of three houses in Rocky Mount and Greenville, NC, on Saturday, March 12. The tour is open to the public with advance reservations through the TMH website.


“When most people in the Triangle area think ‘modernist houses,’ they don’t realize that there are some true gems in Rocky Mount and Greenville,” said George Smart, TMH founder and director. “They’ll change their minds after they see these gorgeous homes.”


The Downeast Modernist Tour will take participants to the 1952 Jesse Dowd residence designed by George Harrell. According to Smart, the Dowd house is “the finest surviving example of mid-century Modernism in Rocky Mount.”  Harrell grew up in Rocky Mount and went on to a very successful architecture career in Texas.


The 1962 Yenne/Hammer residence in Rocky Mount

The tour will also stop at the 1962 Matthew and Edna Yenney residence in Rocky Mount, designed by John L. Thompson. Current owners John and Megan Hammer have since renovated the house extensively, including adding a 1500-square-foot guesthouse.


In neighboring Greenville, the tour will visit a much newer Modernist house: the 2009 Bobby and Kristi Walters residence designed and built by Tonic Design + Tonic Construction. Within the sleek modern structure, the 4042-square-foot house includes environmentally sustainable features, such as photovoltaic technology for generating electricity, solar hot water, and a geothermal heating and air conditioning system.


Vinny Petrarca, president of Tonic Construction and a partner in Tonic Design, and architect Robby Johnson, AIA, who served as project manager for Tonic on the Walters house, will come along for the tour as special guests and to answer questions about the design and construction of the house. (Johnson is now with Clearscapes Architecture.)

The 2009 Walters residence in Greenville.


As an added bonus, the group will stop at Smith’s Red & White Grocery in Rocky Mount on the way home for authentic North Carolina barbecue, sausage and other pork products.


The tour will depart RDU’s FastPark on a luxury internet-equipped bus at 9 a.m. on March 12 and return by 3:45 p.m. Tickets are $49.  Architects can receive self-reported continuing education credit if arranged in advance with the American Institute of Architects.


For more information on the tour, visit


For more information on TMH, visit


About Triangle Modernist Houses:

Triangle Modernist Houses (TMH) is an award-winning, 501C3 nonprofit established in 2007 to archive, preserve, and promote modernist residential architecture from the 1950s to new construction. The TMH website, now the largest educational and historical archive for modernist residential design in America, continues to catalog, preserve, and advocate for North Carolina modernism. TMH also hosts popular modernist house tours several times a year, giving the public access to the Triangle’s most exciting residential architecture, past and present. These tours raise awareness and help preserve these “livable works of art” for future generations. Visit the website at

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s