NC’s Pioneering Black Architects Get National Attention

Recent Past Preservation Network features notable North Carolina heroes. 

May 4, 2011 (Durham, NC) – The Recent Past Preservation Network (RPPN), a national organization preserving historic buildings and sites from the last 50 years, featured Triangle Modernist’s recent series on early NC black architects.  The feature covers a five-page spread in the Spring 2011 edition online magazine RPPN Bulletin.

Entitled “Triangle Modernist Houses Honors Pioneering NC Black Architects,” the article discusses how the award-winning non-profit organization and its founder, George Smart, were inspired to launch the series during Black History Month this past February.

“African American men who followed their hearts into architecture before 1970s did so despite great resistance from both society and their own industry,” Smart told RPPN.

“Today there are many black architects in North Carolina, but before 1970 it was another story, and not a nice one. The field of architecture made choosing the profession nearly impossible for minorities. In North Carolina, there were almost none for decades.”

The RPPN article includes a list of 17 architects featured on the Triangle Modernist Houses (TMH) website thus far, and some photos of those architects’ work.

In contrast to the relative cloak of obscurity under which those pioneering architects practiced, the RPPN article notes some of the very prominent black architects practicing in North Carolina today, including Loeb Fellowship winner Phil Freelon, FAIA, founder and principal of The Freelon Group in Durham, and Harvey Gantt, FAIA, principal partner of Gantt Huberman Architects in Charlotte, former Mayor of the City of Charlotte, and the man for whom The Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture in Charlotte is named.

“It means so much to have a national resource such as RPPN recognize these important men in North Carolina’s design history, past and present,” Smart said recently. “A spotlight for them in RPPN’s Spring Bulletin is indeed an honor.”

To view the article, go to and click on the photo of the Bulletin.

To view the TMH archive “Pioneering Black Architects in North Carolina,” visit

About RPPN:

The Recent Past Preservation Network promotes preservation education, assistance, and activism through the medium of new technologies, to encourage a contextual understanding of our modern built environment. The Network assists preservationists by providing an open community platform for the development and revision of practical strategies to document, preserve, and re-use historic places of the recent past. In carrying out its mission, RPPN engages in  a wide variety of activities of a charitable and educational nature. For more information visit

About Triangle Modernist Houses:

Triangle Modernist Houses (TMH) is an award-winning, 501C3 nonprofit established in 2007 devoted to archiving, preserving and promoting modernist architecture in the Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill “Triangle” region of North Carolina. It has since grown to feature modernist houses and their designers statewide and includes an archive of national and international modernist architects. TMH continues to catalog, preserve, and advocate for North Carolina modernism by hosting popular modernist house tours several times a year, giving the public access to the Triangle’s most exciting residential architecture, past and present. For more information visit TMH also maintains an active Facebook page.

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