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…

New Film Celebrating Sicily Sells Out U.S. Premiere in Kansas City

Feature-length documentary by Mark Spano finds appreciative audience in Middle America.

 Theater marquee

Independent filmmaker Mark Spano, along with celebrated Kansas City Chef Jasper Mirabile Jr., are pleased to report that the U.S. premiere of Spano’s new documentary “Sicily: Land of Love & Strife” sold out the Screenland Armour Theater in North Kansas City, MO., last week.

The event was co-sponsored by the Kansas City chapters of the American Sons of Columbus and UNICO, the largest Italian-American non-profit service organization in the United States.

Mark with Family and Friends in Lobby
NC Filmmaker Mark Spano (center, back row) with family and friends in the theater’s lobby after sell-out screening in Kansas City, his hometown.

Although Spano lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, he chose Kansas City — the city where he was born and raised — for the U.S. premiere of the film that celebrates his family’s land of origin.

“Holding the premiere in Kansas City not only allowed me to see friends and family I had not seen in years, but it also gave me the opportunity to present my film to a very diverse Middle-America audience,” said Spano, a Sicilian by heritage who holds dual citizenship. “Their responses were both informative and heartwarming. I could not have asked for more. The theater was sold out and the crowd loved the film — I was truly humbled by their responses.”

By design, the feature-length documentary invites viewers to discover the Sicily that movies and television largely ignore. “But for crime, Sicily has gone largely unexplored,” said Spano. “Yet Sicily is more fascinating and diverse than other Italian regions and few places compare to Sicily for a story of spectacular beauty, epic human struggle, depth and diversity of culture, philosophic insights and historic sites.”

Chef Mirabile, the emcee for the sold-out event, also feels the film is a loving tribute to his land of origin. “Personally, the film evokes wonderful memories of the many trips I’ve made to my family’s homeland. I’m was honored to help showcase this remarkable region of Italy.”

Explaining his choice of emcee for the film’s U.S. premiere, Spano smiled. “I knew Jasper would be the right guy to emcee this event. Members of the Kansas City community have taken this man into their hearts. And, why shouldn’t they? He’s the best chef. He’s a tireless champion of Kansas City food, and he stands as one of the finest representatives of the success stories that Sicilian immigrants and their descendants have had all over the globe.”

From now through November, “Sicily: Land of Love & Strife” will be presented in various cities across the U.S. and Canada as part of a promotional opportunity called “Bring Sicily to Your Town.”  Two upcoming screenings include Hamilton, a suburb of Toronto, on June 20, then Buffalo, New York, on June 25th.

For more information on Mark Spano and “Sicily: Land of Love & Strife,” visit www.markspano.wordpress.com.

(Click here for more information on “Bring Sicily to Your Town.”)

Mark on Stage
Mark on stage for the Q&A session as the credits roll.

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.

THE KANSAS CITY STAR: “Chef Jasper Mirabile is celebrating Sicily on the big screen and in the kitchen”

April 09, 2018 02:56 PM

 

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

DESIGN MILK: “Venice House is a California House with a Sloping Trapezoidal Roof”

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By Caroline Williamson

Among the tightly packed lots in Venice, California, the Venice House is a three-story, energy-efficient residence topped off with a unique, sloping trapezoidal roof. The beach house was designed by pod architecture + design (pod a+d), who also happen to be the owners, and it spans 1390-square-feet, which proved challenging as they had to build three bedrooms and two-and-a-half baths on a compact, 700-square-foot lot. They managed to accomplish that and then some within the white metal and wood clad abode. 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

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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.