Charlotte’s Oldest Modern House Saved From Demolition

Triangle Modernist Houses, Modern Charlotte Realty find a buyer by

Modern Charlotte Realty's Gail Jodon with the "sold" sign at the Lassiter house.

deadline.

July 22, 2011 (Charlotte, NC) – The 1956 Lassiter House, the oldest mid-century modernist house in Charlotte that was threatened with demolition if it didn’t sell by June of this year, has been sold to new owners and will be renovated.

Gail Jodon of Modern Charlotte Realty officially reported the sale this month after closing papers were signed. The new owners are Leslie and John Culberson, who “are very happy and proud, and I expect they will do a wonderful renovation,” Jodon said.

The Culbersons have selected Matthew Benson, AIA, of Meyer Greeson Paullin Benson in Charlotte to design the renovation.

The previous, and original, owner of the three-bedroom, three-bath house, which was designed by architect A.G. Odell with landscape design by Lewis Clark, put it on the market in February and announced that if the it didn’t sell by June, it would be razed so the property could be sold as a lot.

Aware that the Lassiter house is a classic example of mid-century modernist residential design by one of the South’s foremost architects of the time, Triangle Modernist Houses (TMH), the non-profit organization dedicated to documenting and preserving modernist houses, immediately issued regional and national alerts to help find a buyer. Recent Past Preservation Network out of Washington, DC, picked up on the TMH alert and posted it on their website and online journal.

“A. G. Odell put Charlotte architecture on the map through the Ovens Auditorium and countless other Queen City buildings,” said TMH director George Smart. “Because the land value exceeded the house, Modernist gems like this are disappearing at an alarming rate. All of us at TMH could not be happier to know the Lassiter House will be preserved, renovated, and enjoyed by the Culbersons for years to come.”

Jodon offered “a very special shout out to George Smart for putting out a preservation alert, which really helped put the home in the spotlight and created a real sense of urgency that was instrumental in assisting me in getting this home sold and in good hands. I am thrilled that the Lassiter home has a new owner and that this important piece of Charlotte’s architectural history has been saved from the wrecking ball.”

She added that successes like this are the reason she chose to specialize in mid-century modern houses. “I don’t win them all, but it is so satisfying to be able to say that Modern Charlotte Realty played a key role in saving this home.”

Published in Better Homes and Gardens magazine in 1956, the house features steel beams that support the roof, eliminating the need for load-bearing interior walls. As a result, the interior spaces are large, open, and thoroughly wheelchair accessible. Extensive glass walls and doors visually and physically open the inside to outdoor gardens. Architect Charles McMurray designed an addition to the house in the 1970s.

The sale included significant tax credits since the house is designated as a Historic Property by the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Properties Commission, who calls it “extremely rare as a fully realized example of Modernist Style” and “important as an early example of the [Modernist] movement after World War II to apply technology to residential architecture.” For more information on A.G. Odell and the Lassiter house, visit www.trianglemodernisthouses.com/odell.

About Triangle Modernist Houses

Triangle Modernist Houses (TMH) is a 501C3 nonprofit established in 2007, dedicated to documenting, preserving and promoting modernist residential architecture. The award-winning website, now the largest educational and historical archive for modernist residential design in America, continues to catalog and advocate for North Carolina modernism. TMH 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 www.trianglemodernisthouses.com. TMH also has an active community on Facebook.

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