Capital Area Preservation recognizes contribution to historic preservation.
September 26, 2011 (Raleigh, NC) — Triangle Modernist Houses (TMH), the non-profit organization that documents, preserves, and promotes modernist residential design from the 1950s to today, has received a 2011 Anthemion Award from Capital Area Preservation, Inc. (CAP), Wake County North Carolina’s non-profit historic preservation organization.
CAP presents its Anthemion Awards annually to recognize and encourage outstanding historic preservation efforts in Wake County. Award winners have all made noticeable contributions to the preservation of Wake County’s architectural landscape.
Founded by George Smart in 2007, Triangle Modernist Houses.com is the website and archive for Triangle ModernistArchives, Inc., a non-profit, 501C3, non-traditional historic preservation organization. The TMH website’s archive features hundreds of modernist houses, from the 1950s to today, as well as profiles of the architects who designed them, video and audio files of interviews and lectures by modernist architects, and a free listing of modernist houses on the market.
Today, TMH maintains the largest single archive of modernist residential design in the nation and has become a national resource for the preservation, protection, and appreciation of residential modernist architectural.
Earlier this year, TMH received an Advocacy Award from Preservation Durham. The organization has also received a Sir Walter Raleigh Award from the City of Raleigh, an Award of Merit from the Preservation Society of Chapel Hill, a Gertrude S. Carraway Award from Preservation North Carolina, and a national Paul E. Buchanan Award from the Vernacular Architecture Forum.
Triangle Modernist Houses (TMH) is an award-winning 501C3 nonprofit established in 2007 dedicated to documenting, preserving, and promoting modernist residential design. The award-winning website is now the largest educational and historical archive for modernist residential design in America. TMH also hosts popular modernist house tours several times a year. For more information: www.trianglemodernisthouses.com. TMH also maintains an active community on Facebook.
Triangle Modernist Houses’ founder and director praised at awards
June 20, 2011 (Durham, NC) — George Smart, founder and director of Triangle Modernist Houses (TMH), a non-profit organization dedicated to documenting, preserving and promoting modernist residential design, is a 2011 recipient of Preservation Durham’s Advocacy Award for individual effort.
The 2011 Preservation Awards were announced during Preservation Durham’s Annual Meeting on June 15.
“George’s labor of love has turned, in a few short years, into the country’s largest online archive for modern architecture and modernism,” Preservation Durham announced during the awards presentation. “George has made it his personal mission to actively promote the value of modern architecture in our daily lives and in our architectural heritage – from mid-century/1950s houses to new construction – as well as the architects who design them.”
The award presentation cited Smart’s ongoing effort to archive and promote historic preservation “by cataloging the disappearing mid-century modern homes and commercial structures throughout the Triangle region and state, many of which we have lost and, sadly, many of which are currently at-risk.”
The presentation also cited TMH’s weekly newsletter and free listing of modernist houses for sale that helps realtors find buyers for those houses, especially those in danger of being demolished.
“But George’s hard work, dedication, and commitment to historic preservation is illustrated by more than a single website,” the announcement continued, pointing out TMH’s many house tours, dinners, tours outside the state, annual architecture movie series, and other educational programs.
“Educating the public about the importance of preserving the architectural treasures of the recent past is always a challenge for local and regional non-profits,” the announcement concluded. “The Triangle is fortunate and we are grateful to have such a staunch advocate, volunteer, and crusader in George Smart.”
Smart expressed his gratitude for the award: “Durham has an amazing range of Modernist houses, many of which are approaching 50 years old. Now is the time for the community to recognize these houses as the next generation of Durham’s history. TMH is proud to help Durham cherish that legacy through our online archive. We are honored to receive this award.
This marks the fourth public accolade Smart and TMH have received. In 2008, TMH received an Award of Merit from the Preservation Society of Chapel Hill and a Gertrude S. Carraway Award from Preservation North Carolina. In 2009, TMH received the Paul E. Buchanan Award from the Vernacular Architecture Forum and a Sir Walter Raleigh Award for Community Appearance from the City of Raleigh.
A Raleigh native, George Smart became interested in architecture through his father, the late George Smart Sr. The latter was a local architect for over 40 years and, like many in his generation, admired Frank Lloyd Wright’s modernist style. Although the son’s career has little in common with architecture (he is a business consultant through his firm Strategic Development, Inc.), George can’t deny genetics. Modernist design is irrevocably embedded in his DNA. Even his mother, Ann Seltman Smart, a WPTF radio personality at one time, produced a documentary during the 1960s called “A is for Architecture.” In 2007, George created the website www.trianglemodernisthouses.com. Recognizing increasing threats to the region’s modernist inventory, George set out to document every structure that could be identified, from existing neighborhood icons to those already lost to demolition or decay. George lives with his wife, Eleanor Stell, in their award-winning modernist house on a lakefront in Durham.
July 22, 2009 (RALEIGH, NC) — Property easements aren’t sexy, but they are important, especially when they concern property with historic value. Easements protect historic structures by assuring that the property’s intrinsic values will be preserved through subsequent ownership.
To help the general public understand how easements work, what they protect, their advantages and disadvantages, Triangle Modernist Houses.com (TMH) will present a workshop and panel discussion in the new addition to Pullen Memorial Church, 1801 Hillsborough Street in downtown Raleigh, on Saturday, August 15, from 10-11:30 a.m.
Members of the panel will include TMH founder and executive director George Smart; Elizabeth Sappenfield, director of Urban Issues for Preservation North Carolina and the National Trust for Historic Preservation; J. Myrick Howard, executive director, Preservation North Carolina; and Sig Hutchinson, a Wake County insurance agent who is best known for his work in protecting and preserving open space and expanding Raleigh’s greenway system.
TMH’s George Smart is particularly interested in how preservation easements can save mid-century Modernist houses from being razed in the Triangle.
“Many people have a deep personal connection to their house or property,” he said. “It is a part of their family legacy or the cherished result of a life’s work. A preservation easement assures a beloved property will be preserved forever.”
Panelist Elizabeth Sappenfield explained that a preservation easement is “a legal agreement filed with the county register of deeds that protects buildings. Easements are flexible tools and can be custom-designed to meet the personal and financial needs of the property owner. In some cases, the owner may choose only to protect the exterior of the building, but a preservation easement may also protect a building’s interior and important landscape elements.”
Through the panel discussion, Smart hope to make “easements easier!” he said. The group will discuss the role of easements in local historic districts and the National Register of Historic Places, along with the length of easement protection, parties involved and costs required.
Special guest Ellen Weinstein of the architectural firm Dixon Weinstein Friedlein in Chapel Hill will also be on hand to discuss her firm’s design of the new modern hall at the historic Pullen Memorial Church, which was built using recycled materials and features a “green” roof, rainwater cistern, geothermal heating/cooling, and natural lighting. The church campus is located at the corner of Hillsborough Street and Cox Avenue.
About Elizabeth Sappenfield:
A Raleigh native, Elizabeth Sappenfield is working on preservation issues in the City of Raleigh, including protecting historic neighborhoods, advocating for preservation in city planning, and working directly to preserve historic properties. She is particularly interested in the preservation of Raleigh’s Modernist architecture, working with owners of Modern homes on their preservation options, including easements, and educating the public on Raleigh’s Modernist architecture legacy.
About J. Myrick Howard:
Myrick Howard and Preservation North Carolina’s revolving fund has protected more than 270 historic properties in 60 counties since 1977. Howard has written numerous articles, including a chapter for an international book on American preservation. Each year he teaches a course on historic preservation planning at UNC-Chapel Hill. He is the 2006 winner of the AIA Triangle Isosceles Award.
About Sig Hutchinson:
Sig Hutchingson has worked to promote not only Raleigh’s world-class greenway sytem but also multi-modal transportation options such as connecting sidewalks, bike lanes and greenways to an expanded bus and light rail system. Hutchinson successfully led four bond referendums totaling more than $140 million in Wake County for open space and in the City of Raleigh for parks and greenways.
About Triangle Modernist Houses:
TMH is the website for Triangle Modernist Archives, Inc., an award-winning nonprofit founded by George Smart in 2007 that preserves, advocates, and builds community around modernist residential design in the Triangle area of North Carolina. Through its online archive and frequent tours of modernist houses in the area, TMA spotlights the beauty and value of modernist residential design and the need for celebrating and preserving the area’s finest examples. www.trianglemodernisthouses.com.
February 9, 2008 (CHARLESTON, SC) – This past spring, the 1802 Anderson House in downtown Charleston, once in complete disrepair, was transformed into much-needed office space for the Medical University of South Carolina’s College of Pharmacy. Last month, the Preservation Society of Charleston honored MUSC for its adaptive reuse of this historically significant structure by presenting the University with its Pro Merito Award.
The architect for the project was Whitney Powers, AIA, principal of Studio A, Inc., in Charleston.
Established in 1999, the Pro Merito Award is an off-shoot of the Society’s Carolopolis Award for historic preservation, which appears as a plaque on the receiving properties. The Pro Merito Award recognizes properties that have undergone a major restoration since they received a Carolopolis Award.
The Historic Charleston Foundation has described the 7300-square-foot house originally built by Daniel Cannon as one of the “…largest, most intact Federal period houses in the city with architectural details equaled only by those within the Nathaniel Russell House.”
The house was modified in 1838 when Southern industrialist William Gregg purchased it and introduced elements of the then-fashionable Greek Revival style.
So for the exterior, Powers did not want to reinforce the architectural significance of the building by focusing on any particular era of its evolution. “We realized that the building was significant, not for any single period or style, but for its composite nature,” she said.
She also had to balance the preservation of the historic house with the School of Pharmacy’s functional requirements.
After extensive analysis, Powers decided to remove ad hoc enclosures at the ground floor and the first floor piazza that were not “character-defining features,” she said. She also removed a rooftop balustrade at the piazza that also wasn’t historically significant and that caused water to seep in where the upright posts penetrated the roof. The Board of Architectural Review approved her decisions, which returned the piazza to its more historically accurate appearance.
The once handsome interior had undergone many alterations over the years and required all-new electrical, plumbing and mechanical systems as well as repairs and refinishes to every wall, floor and ceiling. Stylistically, “the original delicacy of the Adams-style details had been countered by the more robust Greek Revival alterations of the mid-19th Century,” Powers said.
Again, Powers chose to maintain these alterations “as evidence of the house’s evolution over time,” she said. “Then we specified new fittings and finishes that are historically appropriate for this remarkable interior.”
Powers praises the College of Pharmacy’s staff for readily embracing many accommodations that will prevent wear and tear on the historic finishes, including extensive use of task lighting and the arrangement of upper-level office areas.
A veteran of preservation/adaptive reuse projects in and around Charleston, Powers has received numerous design awards and has been featured in local, regional and national design magazines and journals. Earlier this year, her work with Raleigh, NC, architect Frank Harmon on The Circular Congregational Church’s Sunday School addition and Lance Hall renovation received the Historic Charleston Foundation’s Robert N.S. and Patti Foos Whitelaw Founders Award. For more information on Whitney Powers and Studio A, visit www.studioa-architecture.com.
The Preservation Society of Charleston is the nation’s oldest non-profit community and membership preservation organization. For more information, visit www.preservationsociety.org.
“The real challenge for LEED in the future, especially with regards to historic preservation, comes with recognition of the nuances that relate to regional differences in construction and the use of natural energies.” — Whitney Powers, AIA
June 19, 2008 (CHARLESTON, SC) – Whitney Powers, AIA, principal of Studio A Architecture in Charleston, Recently completed the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) for Historic Structures Workshop held at the Charleston Maritime Center.
The workshop helped participants understand how they can implement the LEED® High Performance Rating System into historic preservation, restoration and adaptive re-use projects. It identified ways to apply “green” building practices to historic rehabilitation projects within the LEED® framework. It also addressed elements of sustainable design in historic preservation that are not identified by LEED® and may not be quantifiable.
Whitney Powers is a recognized leader in both sustainable design and historic preservation/adaptive re-use. Last year she was instrumental in bringing “green” elements to bear on the renovation of the historic Lance Hall at the Circular Congregational Church on Meeting Street, among other projects.
In fact, combining preservation and sustainability is a key mission for Powers, she said, since the sheer number of older, existing buildings represents a much larger opportunity to reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions that contribute to global warming than the comparatively small number of new structures erected each year. (A recent New York Times report entitled “Green Buildings Don’t Have To Be New,” noted that new buildings “represent a small fraction of the nation’s estimated 4.5 million commercial properties, many of which were erected decades ago before sustainable, or green, designs became de rigueur.”)
Powers noted that the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), the organization behind LEED, has been slow to acknowledge the inherent sustainability in historic buildings. Only recently has the USGBC opened discussions with the National Trust for Historic Preservation to incorporate preservation goals into the LEED ratings system — a fact she learned when she participated in the seminar “The Sustainability Initiative of the National Trust for Historic Preservation” at GreenBuild 2007 in Chicago.
An outgrowth of this dialogue includes workshops like the one in Charleston where actual case studies illustrated how the existing LEED system can apply to renovations and adaptive reuse of historic buildings.
“The real challenge for LEED in the future, especially with regards to historic preservation, comes with recognition of the nuances that relate to regional differences in construction and the use of natural energies,” Powers said. “Knowledge of these differences in energy demands, materials and durability will spell the maturing of the LEED system with regards to historic preservation.”
The USGBC has opened the comment period for LEED 3.0, “and this is a real opportunity for architects and engineers working in the preservation field, particularly in the South, to help underscore the regional differences so that the USGBC can effectively address in the new rating system due to be released in 2009,” she said.
Whitney Power’s work in sustainable design and historic preservation/restoration at Studio A Architecture has received numerous design awards and has been featured in local, regional and national design magazines and journals. For more information, visit http://www.studioa-architecture.com.
May 15, 2008 (CHARLESTON, SC) – The 1802 Anderson House in downtown Charleston, once in complete disrepair despite its historical significance, has found a new life as much-needed office space for the Medical University of South Carolina’s College of Pharmacy.
Architect Whitney Powers, principal of Studio A in Charleston, designed the restoration and adaptive reuse of the 7300-square-foot Federal Style house originally built by Daniel Cannon, a sawmill owner and house builder for whom the city’s Cannonborough neighborhood is named.
“This is an extraordinary example of an original, Federal-style ‘suburban villa,’ “ Powers said. “The building’s perfect proportions lend a remarkable delicacy to this grand structure. Its wonderful craftsmanship and durability are a testimony to the attention to detail accomplished under Daniel Cannon’s guidance.”
In 1838, Southern industrialist William Gregg purchased the two-and-a-half story house. He made a number of technological modifications and introduced numerous elements of the then-fashionable Greek Revival style. By the time the College of Pharmacy purchased it, however, it was in serious need of a facelift and a total interior restoration.
A veteran of historic restoration, Powers knew she would have to balance the preservation of the house with the School of Pharmacy’s functional requirements. “So we worked closely with the staff to integrate the historic significance of the building into the school’s administrative needs,” she said.
On the exterior, the architect was careful not to reinforce the architectural significance of the building without highlighting any particular era of its evolution.
“We realized that the building was significant, not for any single period or style, but for its composite nature,” she said. “Our analysis of the existing conditions indicated that the ad hoc enclosures at the ground floor and the first floor piazza consisted of miscellaneous window sashes and other seemingly found materials, none of which were character-defining features.”
The piazza’s rooftop balustrade also was not historically significant and water frequently seeped in where the upright posts penetrated the roof. The Board of Architectural Review approved removing balustrade, which solved a long-term maintenance problem. Whitney also removed the ground level and piazza enclosures, which returned the piazza to its more historically accurate appearance.
The interior, which had undergone a litany of renovations and alterations over the years, required all-new electrical, plumbing and mechanical systems as well as repairs and refinishes to all of the walls, floors and ceilings.
Stylistically, “the original delicacy of the Adams-style details had been countered by the more robust Greek Revival alterations of the mid-19th Century,” Powers said. “We maintained these alterations as evidence of the house’s evolution over time. Then we specified new fittings and finishes that are historically appropriate for this remarkable interior.”
To the College of Pharmacy’s credit, the staff readily embraced many accommodations that will prevent wear and tear on the historic finishes, Powers said, including extensive use of task lighting and the arrangement of upper-level office areas.
The Historic Charleston Foundation recently described the building as one of the “…largest, most intact Federal period houses in the city with architectural details equaled only by those within the Nathaniel Russell House.”
Studio A’s work in sustainable design and historic preservation/restoration has received numerous design awards and has been featured in local, regional and national design magazines and journals. For more information, visit http://www.studioa-architecture.com.