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.

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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

 

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

Smart, Stylish, Sustainable: House in Beech Forest Featured on Fall Modapalooza Tour

Arielle Condoret Schechter, AIA
View from the kitchen at the center of the house through the dining area to the deck and the forest.

The name Arielle Condoret Schechter has become synonymous in the Triangle with smart, stylish, Net Zero Passive houses whose modern horizontal forms appear as comfortable on their sites as the forests that often surround them.

Fans of this Chapel Hill architect’s work were pleased to learn that her most recently completed house — this one in Chapel Hill’s Beech Forest — will be featured on the fall “Modapalooza” Tour of modernist houses in the Triangle.

Sponsored by the non-profit organization North Carolina Modernist Houses, this fall’s “Modapalooza” will be held on Saturday, October 12, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. It will offer nine private homes for touring, including Schechter’s Mason-Grabell House on Mill Valley Road.

Schechter designed the 2465-square-foot house for Anne Mason and Bruce Grabell who moved to Chapel Hill from Florida. They wanted a modest and modern, environmentally sustainable, age-in-place home in a natural setting. They found the perfect property in Beech Forest.

Working with green home builder Kevin Murphy of Newphire Building Co. in Chapel Hill, Schechter designed the Mason-Grabell House to be extremely energy efficient now as it awaits a future solar array on the roof, which will take it easily to Net Zero.

Among the high-performance features that Modapalooza tour-goers will see are Schechter’s favorite Passive House-rated windows and doors from Eurostar Fenestration® and the flat roof’s deep overhangs. The latter provide shade for the windows and overhead shelter for the porches and decks – the outdoor living spaces – that are key elements in all of Schechter’s residential work.

To meet the homeowners’ age-in-place goal, Schechter designed the one-story house to be “zero thresholds” from the walkway to the front door and throughout the interior: There are no steps and no tripping hazards, such as thresholds at doorways and shower curbs.

Arielle Condoret Schechter, AIA
Arielle Schechter custom-designed all of the black walnut cabinetry in the kitchen and throughout the house.

On the front elevation, reminiscent of a cluster of orange Cosmos in a field of wildflowers, the house’s orange front door is a bold element within the horizontal panel siding and cypress accent wall.

On the rear elevation, a large screen porch appears to float out into the landscape. A wrap-around deck connects the porch to an outdoor grilling area.

Inside, an entire wall of the main living space is actually two massive, glass folding doors. While the house’s windows, strategically placed to avoid heat gain, provide visual access to the natural setting, the folding doors literally open the interior to the outdoors overlooking Beech Forest.

Aware that Anne Mason loves to cook, Schechter’s floorplan revolves around the kitchen — the heart of the house, both physically and metaphorically — with all other spaces having easy access to it.

And in the kitchen, as throughout the interior, Schechter custom designed all of the black walnut cabinetry. With its vivid grain and rich color, black walnut is both retro and regal and lent itself beautifully as well to the mid-century-inspired cocktail bar she created for a space beside the fireplace in the dining area.

The fall Modapalooza Tour is sold out, but NCMH founder George Smart encourages anyone interested to get his or her name on the waiting list in case there are cancellations. Click here for details.

For more information on Arielle Condoret Schechter and her work, visit www.acsarchitect.com.

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 houses, Net Zero/Net Positive houses, and Micropolis Houses®, the collection of tiny houses she designed. Her residential projects range from 400 to 6000 square feet. She is a lifelong environmentalist and began practicing green design long before it became mainstream. She is also a lifelong animal advocate. She 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.

 

INHABITAT: “Micropolis custom net-zero home generates all its own energy”

Blueplate PR client: Arielle Condoret Schechter, AIA

2.EXTERIOR LEFT

By Lucy Wang

When Cheryl and Ken Serdar saw one of the homes belonging to Micropolis®, a collection of sustainable and contemporary house plans designed by architect Arielle Condoret Schechter, they knew they wanted a custom home based on the original 950-square-foot “Happy Family” plan. Taking into account the couple’s needs for extra space, Schechter designed a 2,222-square-foot dwelling that also offered all of the sustainable and modern design features defined in her Micropolis® line. Located in the Piedmont region of North Carolina, the custom net-zero home is the most energy-efficient residence that the architect has designed to date. READ MORE…

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.

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.

 

THE MODERN SHELTER: “MidZENtury paradise”

 

ACS reading nook_Keith Isaacs
Reading corner along the hallway. Photo by Keith Isaacs

By Sara Mingote

Hi there, welcome! Please, make yourself at home. This is the first post in the blog, and also a very special one.

This is the residence of Arielle Condoret Schechter, architect and designer, a space with great character but serene, filled with natural light and good decisions. With a mid-century modern inclination and a zen outdoor inspiration, she decided to make her home as comfortable as possible, e.g., adding wheels to chairs and tables, allowing the sunlight to find her path in between sofas and shelves and fill every possible inch.

Driven by sustainability, the architect installed solar panels on the roof -approaching almost net zero-, and also built a solar hot water heater and a large compost tiller. Condoret believes that making that kind of decisions, conserving energy, preserving natural resources and reducing costs, ‘That’s the kind of environment that just makes you feel good about life…”  READ MORE…