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.

 

Chapel Hill Architect Tapped to Judge 2019 ‘Metal Construction News’ Awards

Doug P. 2019The editors of Metal Construction News (MCN), the premier national news magazine for the metal construction industry, have tapped North Carolina architect Doug Pierson, AIA, to serve as one of only three judges for their 2019 Building and Roofing Awards.

Pierson and his partner Youn Choi are co-owners and principals of pod architecture + design. Their Chapel Hill-based firm received the highest honor – Grand Winner — in MCN’s 2018 awards program for their design of the 55,000-square-foot Rabbit Hole Distillery in downtown Louisville, Kentucky.

“Because that honor meant so much to us, I was incredibly honored when [Senior Editor] Mark Robins asked me to serve as a judge this year,” said Pierson, who is also a faculty member at NC State University’s College of Design.

Projects have been submitted to the Building and Roofing Awards in five categories: Metal Buildings, Metal Roofs/New, Metal Roofs/Retrofit, Metal Walls/New, and Metal Walls/Retrofit.

Pierson and the other two judges will receive the entries digitally on October 4th. On October 14 they will confer with the MCN staff to determine the best three submissions in each category and the 2019 Grand Winner. The judges may also suggest projects worthy of a “Judges’ Award.”

This is the 33rd year that Metal Construction News has showcased innovation and excellence in the metal construction industry through its awards program.

MCN is a Modern Trade Communications, Inc., publication. For more information, go to metalconstructionnews.com.

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

 

Chapel Hill Firm Wins AIA Kentucky Award for Modern Bourbon Distillery in Downtown Louisville

New Modern Bourbon Distillery
Rabbit Hole Distillery’s transparent Manufacturing Atrium. Designed by pod architecture + design

In a ceremony in Cincinnati, Ohio, last week, Doug Pierson, AIA, and Youn Choi, partners at pod architecture + design (pod a+d) in Chapel Hill, NC, received their second design award for Rabbit Hole Distillery, the metal, glass, and blackened wood structure they designed in downtown Louisville, KY, that the president of the Kentucky Distillers Association called “a modern monument to our historic industry.”

Earlier this year, pod a+d’s distillery design claimed the top “Grand Award” honor in Metal Construction News’ annual awards program.

The Kentucky chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) presented its awards during the AIA Ohio Valley Region’s “Celebrating Design Awards Luncheon” on September 19 at the Hilton Netherlands Plaza in Cincinnati.

The awards jury praised the new distillery as “an exuberant extension of industrial language with playful materiality. There is a legible and contemporary expression of both corporate identity and the process of making at various scales. In this way, the process of production becomes part of the architecture.”

Doug and Youn
Founder, partners, and principal designers Doug Pierson and Youn Choi.

According to Pierson and Choi, the design embraced the strategy “form follows process” as they allowed the building to take shape in direct response to the bourbon production process it houses.

The design also expresses owner Kaveh Zamanian’s vision for “transparency and craft,” another aspect the awards jury appreciated: “The architectural language in section builds up to create programmatic density in some moments and transparency at the atrium.”

The building’s “strong relationship to the street” impressed the jurors as well.

For more information on Rabbit Hole Distillery, visit www.rabbitholedistillery.com.

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

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, experiential design, and wayfinding. 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. For more information: www.podand.com.

Hybrid Design Firm Moves Into Downtown Chapel Hill

pod architecture + design, chapel hill architects
L-R: Youn Choi and Doug Pierson

On August 21, pod architecture + design (pod a+d), the award-winning design firm previously located in Carrboro, moved its multi-disciplinary studio from the historic Depot on that town’s Main Street to offices at 201-A North Columbia Street in Chapel Hill.

The move reflects the partners’ desire to establish their studio in the more nationally known Chapel Hill since many of their projects are located outside North Carolina. Examples include Rabbit Hole Distillery in downtown Louisville, Kentucky; Sixty Beverly Hills Hotel in Beverly Hills, California; and a new distillery in Brooklyn, New York.

Doug Pierson, AIA, and his wife, experiential designer Youn Choi, are the founders, partners, and principal designers at pod a+d. They relocated the firm from Los Angeles to North Carolina a few years ago and have been operating out of the converted 1882 Depot in Carrboro since 2013.

While they’re quick to say they’ve thoroughly enjoyed the historic Depot, something was always nagging at them,..

pod a+d is licensed in five states because the firm’s work frequently takes its team of designers from North Carolina to California and other project sites in between. And more often than not, whenever they’ve told out-of-state clients that their firm is headquartered in Carrboro, the look on their faces has made them add quickly, “…which is right next door to Chapel Hill.” The nods and smiles afterward spoke volumes. Like Duke University in Durham, UNC-Chapel Hill has given the town a national reputation.

“Ultimately, it made sense to us to align our firm with that distinction,” Choi said. So they loaded a moving van at the Depot, drove a few blocks northeast, and unloaded the van at 201A North Columbia Street.

“We’re looking forward to settling into our new studio and enjoying all the opportunities available in Chapel Hill’s downtown district,” Pierson added.

The studio move has taken place just a couple of months before Pierson, Choi, and their two children will move into the new modern house they designed that’s currently under construction in Carrboro.

Modern house Chapel Hill
Model, Carrboro House

For more information on pod architecture + design, visit www.podand.com and follow the firm on Facebook.

About pod architecture + design

pod architecture + design (pod a+d) is a full-service, award-winning, non-traditional architecture firm located in the Triangle region of North Carolina and licensed in five states. As a firm, we believe in the integration of architecture and all aspects of design to connect buildings, environment, and 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 integrated approach to architecture. For more information: www.podand.com.

Leading Design Firms Team Up to Propose Elegant Concept for J.W. Rutledge Distillery

pod architecture + design, Luckett & Farley present scheme to investors at special event

During a special event held recently in downtown Louisville, KY, pod architecture + design (pod a+d) of Carrboro, NC, and Luckett & Farley architects and engineers of Louisville, presented a surprising concept for a modern, environmentally sustainable, mid-sized distillery to an assemblage of investors.

Designed for the event’s host, J.W. Rutledge Distillery of Middletown, KY, the 69,000-square-foot facility is intended for 140 picturesque acres of gently rolling grassland just outside Louisville. The architectural concept suggests an elegant, two-building composition linked by physical representations of various elements of the distilling process. In form and footprint, the concept engages the landscape and gently steps downward toward Floyd’s Fork, allowing the process of bourbon-making to flow naturally via gravity, from grain delivery all the way to barreling.

The distillery would also be oriented to convert the naturally occurring stillage (the byproduct of bourbon making) into energy via a biomass digester and to capture heating and cooling through a geothermal pond loop.

This innovative solution was designed by Douglas Pierson, AIA, and Youn Choi, pod a+d’s co-founders and Luckett & Farley’s President/CEO Aric Andrew and Vice President/Distilling Marketer Kyle Beasley. pod a+d and Luckett & Farley also worked together recently as architect and engineers, respectively, on the award-winning Rabbit Hole Distillery in downtown Louisville.

With a projected budget of $20-$25 million, Rutledge’s sustainable distillery will produce “World Class Bourbon and Rye whiskeys,” says Jim Rutledge, owner and multi-award-winning Master Distiller, on his website. “We will produce Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey and Straight Rye Whiskey the ‘old-fashioned way’ relative to the requisites, guidelines, and standards for Straight Whiskey production that have been in place for close to two centuries.”

“This one of a kind campus will engage a breathtaking site in a manner that honors an old-fashioned tradition done well while looking toward the future to thrive,” Pierson added.

The Investor Tasting Event took place in the Mint on Mellwood, a renovated industrial building in downtown Louisville. Investors enjoyed specialty bourbon and light refreshments while they discussed the proposed distillery with the J.W. Rutledge executive management team.

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

For more information on Luckett & Farley: www.luckett-farley.com.

For more information on J.W. Rutledge Distillery: www.jwrutledgedistilleryllc.com.

Carrboro Architect Douglas Pierson Appointed to the AIA Triangle Board of Directors

Doug P. 2019Douglas Pierson, AIA, LEED AP, BD+C, co-founder and a principal designer of pod architecture + design (pod a+d), has been appointed to the Board of Directors of the Triangle section, American Institute of Architects (AIAT) for a two-year term.

The AIA Triangle’s mission is “to serve its members and the Triangle community by enhancing and promoting the profession of architecture.” The AIA Triangle Board of Directors governs the overall execution of the organization’s mission.

 Within the last two years, Pierson and his wife, co-founder/principal designer Youn Choi, relocated their firm and family from Los Angeles, CA, to Carrboro, establishing their studio in the historic train depot building on Main Street.

As a relative newcomer to the area, Pierson has been immersing himself in the Triangle region’s architectural community, first by becoming a Professor in Practice at the NC State School of Architecture, then by joining the Triangle Architecture & Design Society (TADS). He and Choi have also hosted a “Thirst4Architecture” networking event sponsored by North Carolina Modernist Houses and opened their studio to the public as part of AIA Triangle’s recent “Firm Crawl.”

“Joining the AIA Triangle Board is an honor and a great opportunity to serve the profession in and around our new hometown,” said Pierson. He hopes to use his experience with nonprofit organizations, community service, fundraising, advocacy, and education to support the work of the Board.

For Doug Pierson’s full biography and more information about pod a+d, visit www.podand.com and follow the firm on Facebook.

RALEIGH MAGAZINE: “A Smooth Transition”

Blueplate PR client: Tonic Design

10.Snow, right corner_75

by Jane Porter | photo by Keith Isaacs

When old design meets new, there’s often an element of surprise to the final result. For a residence in Raleigh’s Historic Cameron Park neighborhood, architect Katherine Hogan and designer Vinny Petrarca, the principals of Tonic Design, created an air of the unexpected that’s seamless and deferential, but also practical and beautiful, all at once. READ MORE

 

METAL CONSTRUCTION NEWS: “Dynamic Distillery” – Rabbit Hole takes the Grand Award

Blueplate PR client: pod architecture + design LLC

In the 2018 Metal Construction News Building & Roofing Awards

RH Ariel View

By Mark Robins, Senior Editor

Form follows process. This is contemporary bourbon maker, founder and CEO of Rabbit Hole Distilling, Kaveh Zamanian’s vision for life and for his Rabbit Hole Distillery manufacturing building in downtown Louisville, Ky. This very modern, innovative 55,000-square-foot bourbon distillery, completed in July 2018, exemplifies this vision. The judges for the 2018 Metal Construction News Building and Roofing Awards were very impressed with both the distillery’s form and process, with two of them even saying that if they saw it from a distance while out driving, they would want to drive toward it to learn and see more about it.

“The Rabbit Hole Distillery project is a new contemporary building for a new bourbon manufacturing product in an otherwise traditional industry,” says Douglas V. Pierson, AIA, LEED APBD+C, co-founder/partner, architect and design principal at pod architecture + design, Carrboro, N.C. “A design strategy of transparency was our way of showcasing in a modern way the complex process of bourbon making for all to see, and, while standing on the shoulders of giants, ridding any expectations of secret recipes and obscure traditions.”  READ MORE

Tonic Design Selected for WCPSS Master Professional Services Agreement

Blueplate PR client: Tonic Design

 To provide architecture services for Wake County public schools.

Tonic Design
Vinny Petrarca and Katherine Hogan, AIA

Tonic Design, a multi-award-winning architectural firm based in Raleigh, NC, has qualified to provide architecture services to the Wake County Public School System, the largest school district in North Carolina, under the WCPSS’s Master Professional Services Agreements.

To qualify, Tonic Design co-owners Vincent Petrarca and Katherine Hogan, AIA, met all criteria including:

  1. Expertise in the type of work the WCPSS would require.
  2. Number of years the firm has been in business.
  3. Successful past performance on similar projects that included handling budgets and scheduling.
  4. Awards and professional acknowledgments with letters of recommendation.
  5. Status as a minority business with 51 percent of the firm owned by, in this case, a woman.

Hogan, who is also a member of the City of Raleigh’s Appearance Commission, and Petrarca presented their qualifications to the WCPSS’s Facilities Design and Construction department. The agreement is in effect for two years

Tonic Design is currently working on a “Maker Space,” a new building for an existing private elementary school. The school’s administration wants to expand pedagogical opportunities through long-term projects and new technologies. Inspired by their mission, the partners have based the building’s form on sustainable design strategies. A large roof, for example, will define adaptable volumes of interior space and will let the students witness the sun tracking through the building during the school day.

About Tonic Design

Tonic Design is a multi-award-winning architecture firm located in Raleigh, NC. Among many accolades throughout their careers, principals Katherine Hogan, AIA, and Vincent Petrarca received the 2017 Kamphoefner Prize for Modern Architecture, one of the highest honors for practicing architects in the state. In 2013, they were named “Rising Stars” by Residential Architect magazine. Their projects have been featured in a host of national publications, including Architectural Record, Residential Architect, Dwell, Custom Homes, Inform magazine, and Metal Architecture, and locally in the News & Observer, Walter magazine, and Urban Home. For more information: www.tonic-design.com.

 

on the boards: pod architecture + design partners reveal plans for their modern house on a hillside

Blueplate PR client: pod architecture + design LLCmodern, custom-design house NC

Scale model of Carrboro House by pod architecture + design

Eager to plant their roots more deeply into their new hometown, experiential graphics designer Youn Choi and award-winning architect Doug Pierson, AIA, partners in life and founding partners of pod architecture + design (pod a+d) in Carrboro, have designed a modern house for their family of four that they’re about to build on a site that poses a host of challenges.

“No one has purchased the lot for a long time because it’s so hard to build on,” said Pierson, referring to the 1.2-acre swatch he and Choi purchased within a 12-acre preserved wooded area. “It has severe limitations: a year-round 100-foot creek setback, an oddly shaped buildable area, a steep hillside, dense forest coverage, and it’s adjacent to a floodplain.”

Yet Pierson and Choi didn’t see those issues as limiting. They saw them as inspirational.

From their design studio in the historic train depot in downtown Carrboro, Pierson explained how the land informed the custom design of the future 2500-square-foot, three-bedroom, three-bath modern house that he and Choi will share with their two young children.

Rendering

“We’ve chosen to honor the unique site by letting it suggest the form of the house,” he said. “So we’ve partially embedded it into the wooded hillside and opened it up to the natural meadow and creek at the lower elevations. We’ve used the strict construction limitations to establish a design that follows the usable land contours, reflects the climb in elevation by ‘hopping’ up to the higher elevation, then anchors itself back to the top. The form evolved wholly from the site limitations and our desire to maintain the meadow undisturbed.” He paused and smiled. “On a different site, it would be a different house. So we’re very happy that we found this particular site.”

Pierson, whose family hails from North Carolina, and Choi, a native of South Korea, are excited about reusing the Southern yellow pine trees that have to be felled to make room for the house. They’re having all of them milled locally then returned to the site to be repurposed as cabinetry and architectural woodwork.

According to the design, this modern, sustainable house will be a composition of sleek, rectilinear forms, at once soaring and grounded. Huge expanses of glass will frame views of the meadow, forest, and creek and allow natural light to fill the interior. The foundation and retaining walls will be polished concrete block. A terrace on the upper level will have glass overlook guardrails.

They haven’t decided on the exterior material yet. If the past is precedent, it will be corrugated metal. But Choi is still searching for a new cladding material that can be continuously wrapped around the house’s form and respond to the site and the climate.

Inside, their modern house will feature exposed structural steel, polished concrete floors over radiant heating, quartz countertops, and the repurposed southern yellow pine for custom cabinetry.

Committed to Local:

Pierson pointed out that he and Choi have hired green home builder Kevin Murphy of Newphire Building in Chapel Hill, and an all-local roster of consultants and suppliers including: structural engineer Rob Munach of Excel Engineering in Carrboro; Fitch Lumber & Hardware in Carrboro; Stonehenge Masonry and Adams/Oldcastle Products, both in Youngsville; Metal Sales Manufacturing Corp. in Mocksville; and radiant flooring expert Mike Torville of Carrboro.

The Choi-Pierson house should be completed by August of 2019.

For more information on pod a+d, go to www.podand.com and visit the blog, pod news & media. The firm is also on FacebookPinterest, and LinkedIn.

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. For more information: www.podand.com.