On The Boards: Arielle Condoret Schechter Designs A Modern Family Destination

Modern Cabin

Modernist architect Arielle Condoret Schechter, AIA, has a host of projects underway these days. Among the residential work taking shape in her home studio and office, high atop Stillhouse Bluff in Chapel Hill, is a Modern Cabin out in rural Orange County, North Carolina.

A couple from San Francisco commissioned Schechter to design their Modern Cabin where one of their sons will live for a few years until they permanently relocate to North Carolina.

The couple asked the architect for a “sort of rustic but more modern cabin” that would become their permanent home as well as a family get-together destination optimized for comfortable visits with their two children.

Unlike stereotypical cabins, Schechter’s design expresses its modernity in materials, space, and architectural vocabulary. Abundant glazing will welcome sunlight and panoramic views of the wooded setting into the house. Under flat rooflines, the open floor plan will provide a natural, unfettered journey through the house and outside onto balconies and porches.

Like any well-designed cabin, traditional or modern, the structure will be efficient and durable. Schechter expects construction to begin this spring.

For more information on the architect and to see her built work as well as other “On The Boards” projects, 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.

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CUSTOM BUILDER: “Backstory: Playing Both Sides”

A creative duo’s partnership is driven by client needs, site specifics, and school schedules

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(Photos: Tzu Chen)

 

Sir Walter Salutes Five Points Icon: Tonic Design receives 2017 Sir Walter Raleigh Award

1700 Glenwood Before_After

1700 Glenwood Avenue before (bottom) and after (top).

For transforming an odd, vacant eyesore into a gleaming glass, energy-efficient commercial building that deserves its place at the pinnacle of Raleigh’s Five Points intersection, Tonic Design principals Katherine Hogan, AIA, and Vincent Petrarca received a 2017 Sir Walter Raleigh Award for Community Appearance for their work on the building at 1700 Glenwood Avenue.

The awards jury called Tonic Design’s work “a well-done project in a very visible location” and noted the manner in which the 5800-square-foot structure “provides lots of light [and] awesome views from within at all levels.”

The mid-century modern, two-story building at the junction of Glenwood Avenue, Fairview Road, and Whitaker Mill houses three thriving businesses today. Yet it has fascinated passersby since 1964 when it was built for a progressive dry cleaner who enclosed the upper story in glass to show off its state-of-the-art mechanization. In 1979, an audio repair and computer equipment business took over the space and, for 28 years, Raleigh residents knew it as the “Audio Buys building.”

Audio Buys closed in 2007 and the building sat vacant for four years. In 2011, the owners hired Tonic Design, an award-winning design-build firm, to upgrade it for leasing to a new generation of tenants.

After installing new, insulated glazing, a custom shade system over the floor-o-ceiling glass walls, and zinc siding, the building could now shade its interior from glare and reduces summer heat gain by more than 70 percent. Yet it continued to languish uninhabited.

McConnell-Continuum-04In 2016, new owners called the Tonic partners back in, this time to increase the building’s function and make it more accessible. Among other improvements, the duo created a new glass-enclosed entry, staircase, and elevator tower; transformed the existing roof into a roof garden with spectacular views in every direction; and added a two-story steel sculpture (left) by McConnell Studios, entitled “Continuum,” to the West Whitaker elevation.

Tonic’s award emanated from the Rehabilitation/History Preservation category, which honors the preservation or rehabilitation of existing buildings, especially Raleigh’s historic resources. “The designers have done a great job further repurposing a building instead of knocking it down,” the jury commented.

For more information on the Sir Walter Raleigh Awards for Community Appearance, go to www.raleighnc.gov/sirwalterraleighawards. For more information on 1700 Glenwood Avenue and Tonic Design, visit www.tonic-design.com.

About Tonic Design:

Tonic Design is a multi-award-winning design-build firm in Raleigh, NC. Among many accolades throughout their careers, principals Katherine Hogan and Vincent Petrarca were named 2013’s “Rising Stars” by Residential Architect magazine. Their projects have been featured in a host of national publications, including Architectural RecordResidential Architect, DwellCustom Homes, Inform magazine, and Metal Architecture, and locally in the News & ObserverWaltermagazine, and Urban Home.  For more information: www.tonic-design.com.

 

“The Professor’s House” Will Be Open For Public Touring in September


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Designed by Arielle Condoret Schechter, AIA, this small, modern, age-in-place house is part of the Fall 2017 Modapalooza Tour.

 

July 19, 2017 (Chapel Hill, NC) — “The Professor’s House,” a small, sustainable, age-in-place house overlooking Morgan Creek in Chapel Hill, has been selected for the Fall 2017 Modapalooza Tour on Saturday, September 16, sponsored by North Carolina Modernist Houses (NCMH).

Chapel Hill architect Arielle Condoret Schechter, AIA, designed the house for a retired professor of Native American Studies. A widow now, she wanted to downsize from her 3200-square-foot house and live with her dog in a modern, age-in-place house in a quiet, wooded neighborhood in Chapel Hill, NC.

She contacted Schechter because she’d heard about the Micropolis Houses®, a collection of modern “tiny house” plans Schechter designed that range from 150 to 1500 square feet and can be customized to meet specific buyers’ needs and preferences. In this case, the professor wanted to add a third bedroom/office and an extra bath to the Micropolis® plan she chose.

modern, age-n-place house Chapel Hill
A bridge from the parking area to the front door means guests won’t have to maneuver any steps.

“A small house meant she could have things like a swimming pool, a Japanese soaking tub, and choose nicer elements for her money,” Schechter noted.

The final design is nearly half the size of the professor’s previous house. Yet at only a little more than 1600 heated square feet– almost 1000 square feet less than the average American house, which is now 2500 square feet — it packs in all of the professor’s spatial needs in an open, fluid floor plan with age-in-place functionality. Schechter calls it a “Custom-opolis.”

The Professor’s House is one of seven houses designed by award-winning architects on this year’s Modapalooza Tour, including projects by Frank Harmon, Phil Szostak, Tina Govan, Jason Hart, and in situ studio. (For all the details about the tour, visit http://www.ncmodernist.org/palooza17.htm.)

The Professor’s House is also in the running for a 2017 George Matsumoto Prize, which recognizes excellence in North Carolina modernist residential design sponsored by NCMH. Winners are selected by both a professional jury and public voting. (Public voting at https://ncmhcompetitions.squarespace.com ends July 20.)

For more information on The Professor’s House and architect Arielle Condoret Schechter, AIA, 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

 

ARCHITECT MAGAZINE: “The Shortlist for This Year’s Matsumoto Prize Awards”

Medlin Residence by in situ studio. (Photo by Richard Leo Johnson)
Medlin Residence by in situ studio. (Photo by Richard Leo Johnson)

The annual program hosted by Durham, N.C.-based nonprofit organization, North Carolina Modernist Houses, selected 16 sites for its shortlist honoring modernist residential architect George Matsumoto.

North Carolina Modernist Houses (NCMH) has selected a shortlist of 16 submissions for this year’s Matsumoto Prize Awards. Recognizing modernist residences across the U.S. South, the Matsumoto Prize projects must be located within the region to be eligible. However, designers and architects can be located outside of it. This program is one of many conducted by NCMH, the Durham, N.C.-based nonprofit organization founded by 2016 AIA Collaborative Achievement Award winner George Smart (now NCMH’s executive director) that documents, preserves, and promotes modernist architecture across the country. READ MORE…

Durham’s BuildSense To Host June’s “Thirst4Architecture”

The BuildSense building in downtown Durham.
The BuildSense building in downtown Durham.

BuildSense, an award-winning design-build firm located in downtown Durham, will host “Thirst4Architecture,” a networking event sponsored by North Carolina Modernist Houses (NCMH) and Emilie Huin of Triangle Modern Homes Real Estate, on Thursday, June 16, from 6-8 p.m., in the firm’s offices at 502 Rigsbee Avenue.

T4A events are opportunities for architects, artists, building managers, contractors, engineers, furniture dealers, realtors, and anyone else interested in Modernist residential design to connect and create strategic alliances in a casual environment. The hosts provide refreshments and other entertainment while introducing T4A participants to their businesses.

Founded by Randall Lanou and Erik Van Mehlman in 1999, BuildSense Inc. is a full-service architecture and construction firm known for designing and building both modern and traditional sustainable, energy efficient homes and renovations. The firm frequently participates in NCMH events, including homes tours and the Matsumoto Prize for Residential Design.

Those attending the June T4A will be able to tour the firm’s ca. 1945 building that served as an auto service center for 30 years before Lanou and Mehlman retrofitted into one of the most energy-efficient buildings in downtown Durham in 2014. For more information on BuildSense, including directions to the offices, visit www.buildsense.com.

For more information on NCMH and the locations for future Thirst4Architecture events, visit www.ncmodernist.org.

redchair smAbout NC Modernist Houses:

North Carolina Modernist Houses (NCMH) is an award-winning, 501C3 nonprofit organizations established in 2007 and dedicated to documenting, preserving, and promoting Modernist residential design. This year, the American Institute of Architects awarded NCMH founder and director George Smart its Collaborative Achievement Award for his work with NCMH. The website www.ncmodernist.org is now the largest open digital archive for Modernist residential design in America. NCMH also hosts popular architecture events every month and frequent home tours, giving the public access to the most exciting residential architecture, past and present. These tours and events raise awareness and help preserve these “livable works of art” for future generations. For more information: www.ncmodernist.org. Find NCMH on FacebookFollow NCMH on Twitter and Instagram.

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Media contact:

Kim Weiss, Blueplate PR

919.272.8615; blueplatepr@gmail.com

Image attached: BuildSense building in downtown Durham, courtesy BuildSense

Chapel Hill Architect Arielle Condoret Schechter Wins “Best of Houzz 2016” Award

Best of Houzz BadgeFrom among remodeling and design professionals in North America and around the world

Architect Arielle Condoret Schechter, AIA, of Chapel Hill, NC, has won a “Best Of Houzz 2016” award in the Customer Service category.

Houzz is a leading platform for home remodeling and design. Over 35 million unique monthly users that comprise the Houzz community chose Schechter’s firm from among more than one million active home building, remodeling, and design industry professionals represented on the platform.

The Best Of Houzz awards are presented annually in three categories: Design, Customer Service, and Photography. Customer Service honors are based on several factors, including the number and quality of client reviews a professional receives during the year. As a result, a “Best Of Houzz 2016” badge appears on winners’ Houzz profiles to help homeowners identify popular and top-rated home professionals in every metro area.

“I’m surprised and thrilled to receive this honor,” Schechter said. “And I want to

Arielle Condoret Schechter, AIA
Arielle Condoret Schechter, AIA

thank all of my wonderful clients who wrote those kind reviews.”

“Anyone building, remodeling, or decorating looks to Houzz for the most talented and service-oriented professionals” said Liza Hausman, vice president of Industry Marketing for Houzz. “We’re so pleased to recognize Arielle’s work this way.”

In 2015, Schechter received a “Recommended on Houzz” honor.

To see Schechter’s Houzz page, click here. For more information on the firm, 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 designs, Micropolis Houses™. She is a lifelong environmentalist and animal advocate who was riding on the green design train long before it became mainstream. She lives in Chapel Hill with her husband, Arnie, and an assortment of foster animals in a Modern house she designed. For more information: www.acsarchitect.com

About Houzz:

Houzz is the leading platform for home remodeling and design, providing people with everything they need to improve their homes from start to finish – online or from a mobile device. From decorating a small room to building a custom home and everything in between, Houzz connects millions of homeowners, home design enthusiasts and home improvement professionals across the country and around the world. With the largest residential design database in the world and a vibrant community empowered by technology, Houzz is the easiest way for people to find inspiration, get advice, buy products and hire the professionals they need to help turn their ideas into reality. Headquartered in Palo Alto, CA, Houzz also has international offices in London, Berlin, Sydney, Moscow and Tokyo. Houzz and the Houzz logo are registered trademarks of Houzz Inc. worldwide. For more information, visit houzz.com.

 

Re-imagining The Neighborhood Grocery: The Raleigh Architecture Co. Completes Standard Foods

The Raleigh Architecture Co.
Standard Foods’ restaurant section designed by The Raleigh Architecture Co.

When Standard Foods opened in downtown Raleigh’s Person Street Plaza this fall, owners John Holmes and Scott Crawford finally revealed their vision for an all-locally sourced, farm-to-table grocery store and restaurant, both of which celebrate “the food, farmers, and artisanal production methods of our region,” according to the website.

Stand.Foods1 low_resWithin the Plaza, a redevelopment project that includes Raleigh City Farm, Yellow Dog Bakery, and other locally owned businesses, something else happened. Standard Foods’ physical space revealed The Raleigh Architecture Company’s interpretation of a shopping and dining experience that is at-once modern, urban, and artisanal.

A few months earlier, while the project was still under construction, John Holmes told the Independent Weekly, “We want the design to reflect what we’re trying to do with the food.” With that in mind, he and Crawford turned to Craig Kerins, AIA, and Robby Johnston, AIA, of The Raleigh Architecture Co (RACo), a local firm well known for custom retail designs and quality craftsmanship.

“The challenge,” Kerins said, “was to create a design concept for the StandFoods3 low_resrestaurant and bar that is reinforced by our selection of authentic and natural materials and honest detailing.”

Ted Van Dyke of New City Design served as architect of record for the project with RACo as design architect for the front-of-the-house (areas open to the public) and the exterior.

Standard Foods is a 3000-square-foot grocery store, butcher shop, and 80-seat restaurant. The restaurant side features a 26-seat communal table and a 16-seat bar.

Outside, weathered steel slats trace the upper edge of the one-story, matte-charcoal exterior and provide shading for large windows that frame views of the Raleigh City Farm 20 yards away. Eventually the slats will also support plantings to add more shade and elements of the farm to the façade.

StandFoods4 low_resInside, market and restaurant spaces flow into each other and the matte-charcoal reappears on background walls that enhance natural sapele wood and slate wall panels in the market, and heart pine tables and chairs in the restaurant. Metal refrigeration cases gleam under energy-efficient lighting, and accents of marble and leather add upscale elements to the simple, natural materials.

Part handcrafted, part sophisticated, the total design creates a distinctive identity for Standard Foods. Yet the colors and textures of the food – in the market or served on the tables – are the main attractions.

To ensure a community-oriented shopping experience, the aisles in the grocery store area are tight, reminiscent of an urban bodega. The spacing creates an intimate experience with the products. Benches between aisles encourage shoppers to linger.

“Most of us view grocery shopping as a chore,” observed architect Robby Johnston. “Our goal was to make this grocery store an experience – to give shoppers a feeling that’s fresh and friendly with an immediate perception of value.”

Standard Foods is a joint venture between Holmes, the president of real estate firm Hobby Properties, and Crawford, the former chef of Herons at The Umstead in Cary and twice a James Beard semifinalist for Best Chef in the Southeast. The men call their partnership The Nash Hospitality Group. For more information, go to standard-foods.com.

The Raleigh Architecture Co. is frequently commissioned for urban up-fits in existing buildings in downtown Raleigh. A few of the partners’ completed projects include Arrow Haircuts and NuvoNivo on Hargett Street, Runologie and State of Beer on Hillsborough Street, Trophy Brewing Company on Maywood Avenue and Crank Arm Brewing Company on West Davie Street. For more information, visit www.raleigh-architecture.com.

About The Raleigh Architecture Company:

The Raleigh Architecture Company is an award-winning design-build firm specializing in Modern sustainable architecture and craftsman-quality construction. As licensed architects and general contractors, we consider designing and building to be one integrated process. This streamlined approach empowers the firm to meet clients’ economic expectations and to seamlessly execute high quality details, both small and large. The firm’s office and shop are located under one roof in downtown Raleigh’s Warehouse District at 502 S. West Street. For more information visit www.raleigh-architecture.com, call 919-831-2995, or email: info@raleigh-architecture.com.

 

North Carolina “Starchitect” Frank Harmon, FAIA, Celebrates Career, Retirement Nov. 19

Frank Harmon, FAIA. (photo by William Morgan)
Frank Harmon, FAIA. (photo by William Morgan)

On Thursday evening, November 19, from 6-8 p.m., multi-award-winning architect, professor, author, and artist Frank Harmon, FAIA, will thank friends, colleagues, and clients for a 50-year career that saw him rise to the top of his profession when he officially announces his retirement during an oyster roast and champagne toast.

Harmon’s retirement party will be held at the thoroughly “green” Modern building he designed and where his office has been located for the past three years: the AIA NC Center for Architecture and Design, 14 East Peace Street, in downtown Raleigh. Free and open to the public, the event is part of North Carolina Modernist Houses‘ “Thirst4Architecture” series. Anyone who wishes to attend should email RSVP@frankharmon.com.

Since founding his firm in 1985, Frank Harmon has received dozens of local, regional, and national design awards and other professional honors, including the 2013 F. Carter Williams Gold Medal, the highest honor the North Carolina Chapter of the American Institute of Architects presents.


 

See AIA NC’s 2013 Gold Medal presentation,which includes a history of Frank Harmon and his work: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WUclN7GWgZM


 

An AIA Fellow and Professor in Practice at NC State University’s College of Design, Harmon has built his illustrious reputation on designing modern, innovative, sustainable, and regionally appropriate buildings of all types, especially environmental education facilities. As another AIA Fellow, Jeffrey Lee, once wrote of his friend and colleague:

“Across the architectural profession, Frank Harmon, FAIA, is the face of North Carolina architecture. Through his words, his deeds, and the work of his firm, he has brought to a national audience a glimpse of the unique character and architectural culture of his home state [and his work] is an architectural presence so deeply rooted to the influence of place that one can hardly imagine it existing elsewhere.”

When asked why he’s decided to retire now, Harmon grinned. “I don’t think one ever retires. You simply do other things. But one of our goals in life is to be happy, right? I’ve decided to pay attention to that. I realize now that a visit from my daughter, a trip to London to see my son, a simple dinner with friends, or the shape of a flower in my garden gives me more happiness than designing another building.”

Yet he admits he’ll miss his practice:

“Of course this is bittersweet. I’ll miss coming to the office each day to work with bright young people and to work with craftsmen and builders I respect. But they will continue to do new and better things, which I will enjoy. The future of architecture is good in their hands.”

For the past few years, Harmon has acquired a devoted following for his blog “Native Places,” a collection of thoughts and hand-drawn sketches that illustrate the value of looking closely at buildings and places. (Custom Home Magazine features Native Place on its website.) More recently, he began writing a similar monthly piece for Midtown Magazine that he calls “Everyday Places.”

Perhaps both columns were foreshadowing: After a rewarding 50-year career as a practicing architect, Harmon is now ready to express his thoughts and values through those endeavors, rather than design and construction:

“I think that what I want to say in architecture can be done with a pen and watercolor brush,” he said recently. “I don’t need an office to do that.”

For more information on Frank Harmon’s life and work:

Chapel Hill Architect and Builder Continue To Raise The Bar For Green Design and Construction

Arielle Condoret Schechter
Rendering, eastern elevation

After stealing the show during the 2015 Green Home Tour with “Happy Meadows,” the modern, net-zero passive house she designed in Pittsboro, NC, Chapel Hill architect Arielle Condoret Schechter, AIA, now has another modern, net-zero, passive house-inspired home under construction – this time in Chapel Hill, and this time for the custom green homebuilder who helped her create Happy Meadows: Kevin Murphy of Newphire Building.

For the past decade, “greenwashing” has run rampant in the home building industry. Simply put, “greenwashing” occurs when an architect, contractor, or home builder spends more time and money claiming to be “green” through advertising and marketing than actually implementing practices that minimize environmental impact.

Arielle Schechter and Kevin Murphy take environmental impact very seriously.

Arielle Condoret Schechter, Chapel Hill architect
Rendering, front elevation

According to Murphy, the 2950-square-foot house Schechter has designed for his family of four will be “a warm and functional family home as well as a showcase of cutting-edge green building techniques.”

Architecturally, the house effortlessly combines environmental stewardship with the simple volumes, flat rooflines, open floor plan, and indoor-outdoor living that define modern styling. The first floor will feature a spacious living/dining/kitchen area connected to a screen porch that will extend the living space outdoors. The master bedroom wing will be located on the first floor with the children’s suite – complete with a multipurpose music and entertainment room –  and home office upstairs. Typical of Schechter’s residential work, a private interior courtyard will link all spaces together.

The house is located on a 4.3-acre site at the end of a private gravel road that is very secluded yet only a seven-minute drive from Chapel Hill or Carrboro. Despite the size of the lot, stream buffers, setbacks to existing well and septic concerns, and a new leach field left Murphy with a surprisingly small area on which to build his house.

Rendering, rear corner at screened porch
Rendering, rear corner at screened porch

The site’s eastern line runs down to the branch of a small creek. Beyond the creek, dozens of acres of Triangle Land Conservancy property provides a lush buffer for wildlife. The screen porch faces the forest.

Far from “greenwashing,” the Murphy home will be “net zero/net positive,” meaning that it will produce as much energy as it uses and probably even more. “We anticipate a National Green Building Standard ‘Gold’ rating,” Murphy noted.

Murphy said he will employ the techniques he’s learned while building Certified Passive Houses. His home will be super-insulated and extremely air tight, far beyond regular building code requirements. To provide the home with fresh air, Murphy and Schechter will utilize the cutting-edge Conditioning Energy Recovery Ventilator (CERV) that they used at the Happy Meadows home. The CERV filters, dehumidifies and tempers incoming fresh air before distributing it to the living area. The home will be heated and cooled by two tiny Fujitsu mini-split heat pumps and all of the windows will be high performance, European, triple-pane tilt and turn by Awilux. As a result, the house will need only a small array of photovoltaic (solar) panels to produce all the electricity the house will need.

To maximize both passive and active solar gain, the house’s axis run east to west, thereby capturing an abundance of southern sunlight.

According to its architect and builder/homeowner, this modern, high-performance house will be part of the 2016 Green Home Tour sponsored by the Home Builders Association of Durham, Orange and Chatham counties.

For more information on Arielle Condoret Schechter, visit www.acsarchitect.com. For more information on NewPhire Building: www.newphirebuilding.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 designs, Micropolis Houses™. She is a lifelong environmentalist and animal advocate who was riding on the green design train long before it became mainstream. She lives in Chapel Hill with her husband, Arnie, and an assortment of foster animals in a Modern house she designed. For more information: www.acsarchitect.com

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