In The Ground and On The Boards: Chapel Hill Architect Arielle Condoret Schechter, AIA, Greets Spring with Modern, Custom Houses at Every Phase of Design and Construction

Mason_GrabellMASON-GRABELL MODERNISM (All renderings by Arielle Condoret Schechter, AIA)

May 1, 2018 (Chapel Hill, NC) — A family of transplants from hurricane-prone Florida can’t wait for construction to begin this summer on their spacious, modern house perched on a hillside in Orange County. Cheryl and Ken Serdar are showing off their new, modern, Net Zero, Micropolis® house in Hillsborough, NC, during the 2018 Green Home Tour. And a husband and wife in Chatham County are anxious to “break free” of the “soul-deadening” confines of a cookie-cutter residential development, so they’re counting the days until they can move into their new, modern, Net Zero house also nearing completion in Chatham County.

Chapel Hill architect Arielle Condoret Schechter, AIA, a Net Zero/Net Positive Passive House expert*, designed all three houses.

Meanwhile back in her studio, Schechter is moving along with six more projects that span the first three phases of architectural design: schematic design, design development, and construction documentation.

Mason-Grabell Modernism (pictured at top)

Construction is scheduled to begin this summer on the spacious Mason-Grabell house. The family grew tired of fighting hurricanes down in Florida so they relocated to Chapel Hill, NC, where hurricanes are extremely rare.

Rising from a hillside with large expanses of glass on all sides, the Mason-Grabel house features flat, cascading roofs that crown specific interior spaces. Designed to touch the ground lightly and protect the site’s natural hydrology, “Mason-Grabell Modernism” will be one of very few modernist houses in its neighborhood.

Net Zero on Tour

Happy Family“HAPPY FAMILY” (photo by Iman Woods) 

 Schechter always stresses that a smaller house allows homeowners to invest their money in elements other than square footage. In the Serdars’ house (above), that other element is a luxurious, spa-like bathroom with a curb-less walk-in shower for two, a custom cast-concrete trough sink, and a vanity area where top-quality tile rises up the high walls to the ceiling.

Otherwise, the Serdars’ relatively small house is deceptive. It appears to be a simple modern house with large, honey-hued wood soffits adding warmth and textural contrast to the precast custom concrete exterior walls. But this is a Net Zero passive house. And the design skills, technological and materials knowledge, and attention to details necessary to create such a high-performance house are anything but “simple.”

*Schechter welcomes the challenge, however, as she continues to add to her growing portfolio of certified Net Zero and Net PositivePassive residential designs with what she’s dubbed the “Happy Family” house.

 Privacy House

Privacy House

“They consider themselves ‘escapees’ from a rigid, traditional development to a lot in the woods,” Schechter said, referring to her clients who are moving out of a traditional development and into this secluded, Net Zero house (above) in the forest in Chatham County. (She noted that “breaking free” and “soul-deadening” are her clients’ words.)

Besides the huge emphasis on privacy, the couple told their architect that they wanted a “modern but simple, unpretentious, age-in-place design.” And they had one specific request. “A sheltered place to sit outside and watch the rain,” Schechter said as she pointed out the house’s deeply cantilevered roof.

Phasing In

Concurrently, Arielle Schechter is working through the schematic design phase for a house for two engineers in Harnett County. She’s also fine-tuning three houses in design development and shepherding two other houses through the construction documentation phase.

For more information on Arielle Condoret Schechter and to see additional examples of her built and on-the-boards work, visit www.acsarchitect.com.

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Arielle Condoret Schechter, AIA

About Arielle Condoret Schechter:

Arielle Condoret Schechter, AIA, is a licensed, registered architect based in Chapel Hill, NC, who specializes in Modernist, energy-efficient buildings with a focus on PASSIVE, NET ZERO/NET POSITIVE houses, as well as her new tiny house plans, the Micropolis® Houses. She is a lifelong environmentalist and began practicing green design long before it became mainstream. She is also a lifelong animal advocate who lives in Chapel Hill with her husband, Arnie, and an assortment of foster animals in the modern, sustainable house she designed for all of them.

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ARCHDAILY.com: “Piedmont Retreat/Tonic Design”

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Tzu Chen Photography

Wrapped in vertical stripes of Corten® steel street-side, with vast expanses of floor-to-ceiling glass and cantilevered windows overlooking the forest behind it, a modern house sits quietly in the corner of a cul-de-sac in Durham.

Katherine Hogan, AIA, and Vinny Petrarca of Tonic Design in Raleigh are responsible for this creative two-story, 3800-square-foot, single-family structure that will, as the steel continues to weather, blend into the natural setting and never need painting. Their clients loved the concept since they wanted a low-maintenance house with a modest public presence. READ MORE…

NC Architect To Conduct Construction Tour of Rabbit Hole Distillery for AIA Central Kentucky Chapter

Doug Pierson will take professional peers through his latest project in Louisville.

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Carrboro, NC-based architect Doug Pierson, AIA, of pod architecture + design (pod a+d) will conduct a construction tour of the new 55,000-square-foot Rabbit Hole distillery and campus he designed in downtown Louisville, KY, for the American Institute of Architects Central Kentucky Chapter on Tuesday, April 17, beginning at 5 p.m.

Rabbit Hole founder and CEO Kaveh Zamanian and structural/mechanical engineers from Luckett & Farley will join Pierson in giving participating architects “an overview of the inspirations, revelations, and explorations behind the Rabbit Hole distillery with the focus on structural/MEP systems, design excellence, and the user experience,” AIA Kentucky said in its invitation to members.

According to Pierson and his partner/wife Youn Choi, the design embraces the owner’s desire for transparency, as well as a “form follows process strategy, allowing the building to take shape in response to the bourbon production process it will house.

The abundance of glass throughout the building satisfies the desire for transparency – from the inside out and the outside in. Tours will let visitors see each step along the process of creating world-renowned bourbon. During the day, the transparent/translucent structure will provide panoramic views from the inside to NuLu’s historic streetscape, downtown Louisville’s main street, and the barges and bridges along the Ohio River.

Located on an entire city block at 711 East Jefferson Street in the historic NuLu district, Rabbit Hole Distilling is Louisville’s newest high-end craft distillery. Construction began in October 2016. The grand opening is scheduled for Derby Day, Wednesday, May 5th.

Pierson and Choi are well-known in Louisville for having designed the highly acclaimed “Green Building,” Louisville’s first commercial Platinum LEED-certified building and Kentucky’s first Platinum LEED adaptive reuse structure.

Click here for more information on the April Tour.

Click here for more information on Rabbit Hole Distilling.

Click here for more information on the Rabbit Hole Distillery project.

ARCHITECTS + ARTISANS: “In Louisville, Rabbit Hole Distillery”

By Mike Welton

When Saturday, May 5 rolls around in Louisville, Ky., there’ll be more to celebrate than the 144th running of the Kentucky Derby.

At the corner of Jefferson and Market Streets downtown, a new distillery called Rabbit Hole will hold its grand opening – with a Derby Day party.

“It’s a start-up – 60,000 square feet with fermenters and a couple of stills,” says architect Doug Pierson of Carrboro, N.C.-based pod architecture + design. “When opening day comes, they wanted to be ready to go – during construction, they started their process in a secret location.”

Pierson and his partner Youn Choi designed the distillery as a transparent affair, studying the path of bourbon-making from grain to barrel. “We developed the building around that, from the ground up, so people can see the whole process,” he says. “We said: ‘Form follows process.’” READ MORE

Carrboro Architects To Complete $15 Million Project in Louisville before Derby Day

pod architecture+ design finishes eagerly anticipated Rabbit Hole Distillery.

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From their modest studio inside the old train depot on Main Street in Carrboro, award-winning architect Doug Pierson, AIA, partner/wife, designer Youn Choi, and their team at pod architecture + design are focused on making sure their $15 million project in Louisville, Kentucky – the 55,000-square-foot Rabbit Hole Distilling facility and campus — is finished by Kentucky Derby Day, May 5th.

Rabbit Hole is a Kentucky-based bourbon and whiskey distiller founded by Kaveh Zamanian in 2012. The new distillery is nearing completion now in the East Market District of downtown Louisville, better known these days as the very hip NuLu (New Louisville) neighborhood. It will have the capacity to produce around 20,000 barrels of whiskey annually.

 RabbitHole3

 In addition to the distillery, the Rabbit Hole campus includes retail and tour spaces, a 65-foot-high glass-enclosed atrium and event space with spectacular views of the city: an old, adaptively re-used church building, two bars; and a high-end $1.5 million restaurant and bar. Pierson designed the entire campus, including the restaurant.

“We didn’t come to the table with any set notions about form, floorplan, stylistic quality, or building materials,” said Pierson, who flies to Louisville once a week now. “We embraced the design strategy ‘form follows process,’ allowing the building to take shape in response to the bourbon production process it will house. So the building shares its design and purpose equally with the copper and steel equipment. That utilitarian yet distinctly beautiful equipment, the flow of the bourbon along the path from grain to bottle – the process itself became our inspiration.”

The facility has been under construction since late 2016. The distillery is expected to have a grand opening on Derby Eve.

A relative newcomer to the Triangle region, Doug Pierson and his wife and partner, Youn Choi, moved their firm and family from Los Angeles to North Carolina In the midst of the Rabbit Hole project.

Along with Pierson and Choi, the design team at pod a+d includes project architect Justin Williams and project associates Barbora Ngaboyamahina and Dougald Fountain.

For more information on pod a+d: www.podand.com.

For more information on the Rabbit Hole project: www.podand.com/work/#/new-gallery-3/.

 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 environmental graphics  –  considered simultaneously, these disciplines inform our hybrid/integrated approach to architecture.

Click here to visit the pod a+d website.

Click here to for more information on the design.

Click here to visit Rabbit Hole Distilling’s website.

A sampling of articles about Rabbit Hole Distilling/Distillery:

Steel-Clad House in Duke Forest Receives 2018 AIA Triangle Honor Award

Piedmont Retreat6

Photography © Tzu Chen Photography

“Piedmont Retreat,” a modern, single-family home clad in Cor-Ton® steel, earned for Tonic Design of Raleigh, NC, one of only three Honor awards — and the only residential design among the three — in the 2018 AIA Triangle Design Awards. The awards were presented March 22 during a gala event at the Contemporary Art Museum in downtown Raleigh.

Partners in life and practice, Katherine Hogan, AIA, and Vincent Petrarca have now received 10 AIA Triangle Design Awards for the practice. This is their third honor award.

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According to the partners, the clients wanted their new house to have a modest public presence and a direct connection to their property’s wooded landscape within its cul-de-sac neighborhood on the edge of Durham within Duke Forest. They also wanted a private, comfortable, low-maintenance house that would blur the boundaries between indoor and outdoor spaces.

Minimal in form and materials, Piedmont Retreat’s steel exterior forms a protective barrier to the street and presents a humble profile to the neighborhood. This rugged, weathering skin will eventually find its final patina and blend into the landscape.

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In contrast, the living spaces open to an array of shifting perspectival views within and throughout the house.

Alex Anmahian, AIA, founding partner of the internationally acclaimed firm AW in Cambridge, MA, served as chair of the all-Boston jury. Anmahian, who teaches at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University GSD, announced the winners, noting that the jury admired Tonic Design’s “consistency of message” throughout the submission and the “restrained palette of materials and textures,” among other attributes.

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“We’re especially honored to have our work recognized by this year’s jury,” Hogan said, “all of whom are highly respected, practicing professors of architecture.”

Seven design awards were presented this year: three Honor and four Merit.

Carrboro Architect Helps Select Durham’s Golden Leaf Awards for Community Appearance

pod_Doug at desjPod architecture + design’s Doug Pierson joins 2018 jury.

Architect Doug Pierson, AIA, of pod architecture + design, the firm Pierson and his wife/business partner, designer Youn Choi, relocated from Los Angles to Carrboro, was honored to serve as a juror for Durham’s 2018 Golden Leaf Awards for Community Appearance.

“One of the many things Youn and I have come to love about the Triangle region is the City of Durham, the heart of Durham County,” Pierson said. “Once a tobacco and textiles town and now a world-class hub for medicine and research. The city is such an urban revitalization success story that still values its architectural history while embracing design innovation. It’s an authentic Southern town. And it’s terrific that the city and county celebrate contributions to their combined appearance.”

Sponsored by the Durham City-County Appearance Committee, the annual Golden Leaf Awards recognize new developments, buildings, and landscaping throughout Durham County that provide positive attributes to the city’s built environment. Awards are presented in seven categories, including a People’s Choice Award determined by public voting.

Judging of the Golden Leaf Awards, except the People’s Choice Award, is done by an independent panel of local professionals representing architecture, landscape architecture, development, and the arts community.

Pierson also has been tapped to present the 2918 Golden Leaf Awards to the winners on April 19th.

About Doug Pierson

Douglas V. Pierson, AIA, LEED AP, BD+C, attended the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Va., then the Lettres program at the Université Paul Valéry in Montpelier, France, before earning his Masters in Architecture degree at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va. Early in his career, he worked with several architecture firms in Europe and Australia and served as designer and curator for numerous art exhibits, including The Work of Charles and Ray Eames. He worked with Hodgetts & Fung Design Associates in Culver City, CA, then joined architect Frank Gehry’s Los Angeles office, Gehry Partners LLP.  Before launching pod a+d, Pierson was a partner in the Inglewood, CA., firm form, environment, research (fer) studio L.L.P. in Inglewood, CA., for 10 years. He and Choi have two young children and will begin construction soon on their new modern home in Carrboro. Pod a+d’s offices are located in the old train depot, The Station, on Main Street in Carrboro. For more information: www.podand.com.

LOUISVILLE COURIER JOURNAL: “A grand opening for this new distillery in NuLu is set for Kentucky Derby night”

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By Kirby Adams

We don’t know who but we do know where — 2018 Kentucky Derby celebrities may choose to party after the races at a new distillery in downtown Louisville. he Rabbit Hole Distillery, 711 E. Jefferson St., will celebrate its grand opening  Saturday, May 5 with an invitation-only event…

…The new multimillion-dollar distillery in Louisville’s historic NuLu neighborhood is designed by award-winning architect Doug Pierson and will also showcase the identity, tradition, and legacy of bourbon making in Kentucky. VIEW THE VIDEO AND READ MORE

Day and Night: Pod Architecture + Design To Display Work in NCSU Exhibition

Demonstrating the perception of space from day to night.

Carrboro modern architects
Exhibition board showing Connie & Ted’s restaurant by day (top) and night (bottom).

February 12, 2018 (Carrboro, NC) — How structure is perceived from day to night is the theme of the presentation that pod architecture + design (pod a+d) in Carrboro is contributing to the upcoming N.C. State University School of Architecture Alumni Exhibition. The exhibition will be on display in the Brooks Hall Gallery on the NCSU campus during the School’s accreditation review in mid-February.

Juxtaposing a photograph of each project taken in bright daylight with a photo captured against a darkened sky, pod a+d’s presentation includes an adaptive re-use project in Louisville, KY, an educational facility in Goshen, IN, an iconic restaurant in West Hollywood, CA, and a large-scale experiential graphics project in Qatar.

Pod a+d is a hybrid firm owned and operated by design principals Douglas V. Pierson, AIA, LEED AP, BD+C, and Youn Choi, an environmental graphics designer. The couple relocated their firm from Los Angeles to North Carolina in 2016.

Carrboro Modern Architects
Qatar experiential graphics project by day (top) and night( (bottom).

“Doug and I always consider the day and nightlife of a design because the perception of the space changes as the light changes – from day to night and from natural to electric lighting,” Choi explained. “We also consider when the use of the space will be the liveliest. Perhaps the users are more productive during the day when the sun is shining. Some rejuvenate in the evening as the sun goes down. This is an integrated, repeating process that we always consider.”

According to David Hill, head of the School of Architecture, NCSU College of Design, “This will be an important show of work that will be seen by visitors from the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB), faculty, students, and other visitors. Perhaps this exhibition will allow the school to reconnect with a great number of alumni throughout the world.”

For more information on the upcoming exhibition, email david_hill@ncsu.edu.

For more information on pod architecture + design, visit www.podand.com.

About pod architecture + design:

pod a+d offers all architectural design services that connect building, environment, and identity because we believe in the integration of architecture and design disciplines throughout our projects.  Exteriors, interiors, engineering, furnishings and finishes, equipment, financial feasibility, scheduling, construction, and the environmental context – these are the contributing elements that inform our integrated approach to each architectural project’s design.  More information: www.podand.com.

 

For The Third Consecutive Year, Chapel Hill Architect Arielle Condoret Schechter is Awarded “Best of Houzz” for Client Satisfaction

Best of Houzz Badge 2018Arielle Condoret Schechter, AIA, of Chapel Hill, NC, has been voted by Houzz.com as a winner of a Best of Houzz 2018 award, marking the third consecutive year she has received this award from the popular worldwide online community.

From among more than one million active home building, remodeling, and design industry professionals associated with Houzz, Schechter won in the Client Satisfaction category again because “your portfolio includes some of the most consistent reviews on Houzz in 2017,” the Houzz team informed her.

Expressing her gratitude for her clients taking the time to post so many positive reviews on Houzz.com, Schechter explained her thoughts on client services.

“While we’re working together, my clients and I form a type of family,” she said. “I care about them and their worries are my worries.  Also, having built my own house, I empathize strongly with their concerns. It’s the most expensive thing they’ll ever own and I am very respectful of that.”

Founded in 2009 in Palo Alto, CA, the Houzz platform features articles, photographs, product recommendations, and a user forum along with professional profiles. The Best of Houzz awards are presented annually in three categories: Design, Customer Service/Client Satisfaction, and Photography. A “Best of Houzz 2018” badge appears on a winner’s Houzz profile to help homeowners identify popular and top-rated professionals in every metro area. For more information, go to www.houzz.com.

To see Arielle Schechter’s Houzz profile, including her clients’ reviews, go to www.houzz.com/pro/acsarchitect/arielle-c-schechter-aia. For more information on the architect, visit www.acsarchitect.com.

About Arielle Condoret Schechter AiA:

Arielle Condoret Schechter, AIA, is a licensed, registered architect based in Chapel Hill, NC, who specializes in Modernist, energy-efficient buildings with a focus on passive houses, NET ZERO houses, and her new tiny house plans, the Micropolis Houses®. She is a lifelong environmentalist and began practicing green design long before it became mainstream. She is also a lifelong animal advocate who lives in Chapel Hill with her husband, Arnie, and an assortment of foster animals in the Modern, sustainable house she designed for them. For more information: www.acsarchitect.com.