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.


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

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:

Shaw Design Associates, TL Stewart Builders Announce Nottingham Road Project

Streetscape rendering by Shaw Design Associates
Streetscape rendering by Shaw Design Associates

Three high-end, custom-designed, Charleston style homes.

Shaw Design Associates of Chapel Hill and T.L. Stewart Builders of Sanford have announced that they have begun construction on their new Nottingham Road Project in West Raleigh — a trio of for-sale Charleston-style single-family homes.

The custom-designed homes average 4700 square feet and Stewart expects them to go on the market “in the $1 million range.”

High-end custom home designer Keith Shaw, AIA, had worked with Terry Stewart on several estate homes in Chapel Hill’s gated community Governors Club. When Stewart secured the four lots on Nottingham Road for his first project in Raleigh, he turned to Shaw for architectural design.

“Keith is easy to do business with,” Stewart said. “He has great options and he’s willing to listen to others’ ideas. He’s flexible. And his plans work.”

Stewart razed two nondescript duplexes on the property so that he and Shaw could reconfigure the property into three lots, rather than four, with an alleyway connecting the three.

During the design development stage, Shaw used the natural grade of the land which slopes down towards Nottingham Road, to place the houses’ garages on grade – “on the high side,” he said — at their rear elevations. As a result, the facades will rise two to three stories above the street and provide future homeowners with panoramic views of the wooded neighborhood, park area and “greenway”.

There are many variations of Charleston-style architecture, but one distinctive Low Country design element is the raised main level and entrance. Main levels were raised off the ground in Charleston to avoid floodwaters and to allow breezes to circulate under the house. Shaw’s designs will continue that tradition with grand staircases leading up to another classic Charleston-style element: a broad porch, or piazza, across the face of the entrance floor. Pairs of French doors and windows will open the interiors to the porches.

Expressing traditional Southern details with more modern, pragmatic materials, Shaw says he will combine brick foundations and columns with fiber cement HardieBoard® shake shingles and horizontal HardieBoard® paneling on the exterior. Front porches will feature standing-seam metal roofs.

The first of the three houses, now under construction, features the main living spaces, kitchen, and master bedroom suite on the entrance level with three more bedrooms and baths on the upper level. The corridors on the upper levels will overlook the lower level. A family room, guest bedroom and bath on ground level floor will be equipped to become an “in-law suite,” says Shaw, with options for a kitchenette, dining room, gas fireplace in the living room, and laundry room.

Charleston Architect Serves on Custom Home Design Awards Jury

Studio A’s Whitney Powers helps select the nation’s best custom-designed

Whitney Powers, AIA, LEED AP, principal of Studio A Architecture in Charleston, SC



February 10, 2011 (CHARLESTON, SC) – Whitney Powers, AIA, founder and principal of Studio A Architecture in Charleston, flew to Washington, DC, late last month to serve on the jury for the 2011 Custom Home Design Awards program, sponsored by Custom Home Magazine.


The judging took place on Wednesday, January 26, in the downtown Washington offices of Hanley Wood LLC. Hanley Wood publishes Residential Architect magazine as well as Custom Home and Custom Home Outdoors. The jury made its selections independent of the magazine’s editorial staff.


An experienced design awards juror, Powers is an award-winning architect and LEED AP professional whose own work includes a variety of historic restorations and modern, sustainable residences, including the Dewees Island vacation home that was featured on HGTV’s “Extreme Living” show. She was named one of Charleston’s “Most Influential Home & Design Professionals” by Charleston Home & Design magazine in 2010 and one of the 40 most outstanding U.S. architects under the age of 40 in 1995.


The Custom Home Design Awards program accepted entries in 10 different categories from custom home-builders, remodelers, architects, designers, and other industry professionals. The jurors also chose a Best Residential Project of the Year from among the Grand Award-winning built entries. The winning entries will be featured in the May 2011 edition of Custom Home and presented at an awards dinner held concurrent with the American Institute of Architects National Convention in New Orleans in May of 2011.


Joining Whitney Powers on the jury were John Murphey, AIA, of Meditch Murphey Architects, Chevy Chase, Maryland; Matt Risinger, of Risinger Homes, Austin, Texas; and Ken Vona, of Kenneth Vona Construction, Waltham, Massachusetts. The group met for a Hanley Wood-sponsored Judges Dinner at The Jefferson Hotel the night before the jury officially convened.


“It was a wonderful experience,” Powers said. “I really enjoyed the camaraderie of the jury and I believe the winners are really the best of the best in the custom-home category.”


For more information on the Custom Home Design Awards, go to


For more information on Whitney Powers, visit


About Whitney Powers, AIA:

Whitney Powers, AIA, LEED AP, founded Studio A, Inc. in downtown Charleston, SC, in 1989, as a full-service architectural firm that proposes that the responsibility of architecture is to cultivate a language of form that promotes a sustainable culture and landscape, and that touches the emotions of delight, surprise and wonder. From cutting-edge contemporary architecture to the preservation and restoration of historic homes, structures and sites, Studio A is committed to an interactive relationship between the natural and built environments, conservation of energy and natural resources, and an appreciation for a “sense of place” where living, working and playing are connected with the specific idiosyncrasies of culture, climate and natural landscape where they take place. For more information visit