East of Edenton: Two Homes Tours Highlight Young Firm’s Pioneering Project in Downtown Raleigh

E. Edenton St. houses

AIA Triangle and NC Modernist Houses tour-goers discovered Raleigh Architecture Co.’s innovative urban infill houses in an old neighborhood.

“Hungry Neck,” an old, established neighborhood just east of Downtown Raleigh, is not an expected destination for homes tours. A mixed-use neighborhood, most of the houses there were built between 1900 and 1940 and many of those are in disrepair.

However, two recent homes tours – the Triangle section of the American Institute of Architects’ (AIA Triangle) Residential Tour on October 11th and North Carolina Modernist Houses’ (NCMH) annual “ModaPalooza Tour” of strictly Modernist houses on October 17 – brought hundreds of surprised participants to the 500 block of East Edenton Street. There they discovered two Modernist urban-infill houses designed and built by Craig Kerins, AIA, and Robby Johnston, AIA, of the Raleigh Architecture Company (RACo).

At 554 and 556 East Edenton Street, these houses are actually two of five RACo-designed Modernist houses that will soon grace the Hungry Neck neighborhood within a block of each other. One across the street, the Hungry Neck house at 562 New Bern Avenue, is under construction. (The NCMH group got a sneak-peak inside.) Next door to the Hungry Neck house, the Floyd house at 558 New Bern is just a foundation at the moment, as is the fifth project, the Powers house at 567 New Bern.

“We’re very committed to downtown Raleigh,” said architect Robby Johnston, AIA, who owns the two-year-old design/build firm with his partner, architect Craig Kerins, AIA. “The name of our firm reflects that and we maintain both our office and shop under one roof in the Warehouse District. We’re very interested in building community in this neighborhood, which is really a delightful place where people on porches and walking down the sidewalk interact all the time.”

Johnston and Kerins also live in or near the downtown district. In fact, 554 Edenton is Johnston’s private residence, which he shares with his wife and two young daughters. Nabarun Dasgupta and Roxanne Saucier own the house next door with son Ishan.

How did RACo manage to get all five commissions? “We created the first two, the Edenton homes, by purchasing both properties and preparing a development proforma to court prospective clients,” Johnston explained. “Once these took shape the phone began ringing with interest not only in the area but also in the kind of architecture we were offering. Then we began to create relationships between our clients and prospective landowners and served as purchase advisors/consultants based on our institutional knowledge of the actual value of building in this area.”

Johnston calls the two completed houses on the recent tours “paternal twins.” Architecturally, they share certain similarities, he explained, including North Carolina cypress siding, window style, thin shed roofs, and a narrow footprint – yet maintain individual identities through variations in form and materials. They also share a green space/courtyard since the compact lots didn’t allow for individual side yards, as well as upper-level outdoor spaces: Johnston’s 1800-square-foot house features a second-floor terrace while the 2100-square-foot Dasgupta-Saucier house features a third-story terrace.

The houses differ in additional exterior materials. Gray slate from a demolished house in nearby Historic Brooklyn neighborhood became siding for 554 Edenton. The Corten steel which wraps around 556’s upper level is transforming from a raw steel finish to a uniform, intentional patina as it acclimates to is downtown Raleigh surroundings.

Since Kerins and Johnston knew they were introducing Modernist, sustainable residential design to this old urban neighborhood, they made a concerted effort to recall architectural elements from the existing structures. Front porches, created and shaded by cantilevered upper forms, “pay tribute to the importance of ‘public’ outdoor space in these and all historic Southern homes,” Kerins noted. The houses address the sidewalk at the same distance as neighboring houses and floor-to-ceiling windows on the lower levels engage the neighborhood while high windows on the upper levels provide privacy for the personal spaces there.

To ensure an abundance of natural light in these slim houses, RACo designed open floor plans for both with double-height cores capped by large skylights. RACo fabricated open steel staircases in each to accommodate vertical circulation. At 556 Edenton, the staircase is a bold element within the space.

The NCMH “ModaPalooze” group also visited RACo’s renovation of the Larry Wheeler-Don Doskey house in Chapel Hill.

For more information on the Raleigh Architecture Company, 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 us to meet our clients’ economic expectations and to seamlessly execute high quality details, both small and large. Our 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.

 

TMH To Host Public Tour Of The Larson Residence

Late architect Jon Condoret’s favorite project will be open to the public for the first time.Condoret-Larson_SM

March 20, 2013 (Durham, NC) – Triangle Modernist Houses (TMH), the award-winning non-profit organization dedicated to documenting, preserving, and promoting Modernist residential architecture, will host a tour of the unusual 1973 Arthur and Florence Larson Residence in Durham on Saturday, April 13, from 9 a.m. to 12 noon.

Originally designed by the late Chapel Hill architect Jon Condoret, the Larson home began at 4825 square feet. When the Larsons sold the house, the new owners engaged California architect Fu-Tung Chung to design the renovation, which was built by Landmark Renovation with the late landscape architect, Judy Harmon, designing an entrance path and garden. A further 2011 addition expanded the house to 6040 square feet.

“Jon Condoret considered the Larson house his favorite project,” said George Smart, TMH Executive Director. “It’s easy to see why. The expansive walls and ceilings, combined with exposed beams, echo the angular exterior.  The house is filled with natural light and views of the wooded surroundings. We are very grateful to the current owners for opening it on April 13 to the public.”

Condoret-Larson2_SMAccording to the Durham Herald-Sun’s 1993 obituary, Arthur Larson joined the Duke faculty in 1958 and became only the second James R. Duke professor of law after having served as Undersecretary of Labor, Director of the U.S. Information Agency, and as special assistant in charge of speeches for President Dwight E. Eisenhower. He also served as consultant on international affairs to President Lyndon B. Johnson, the U.S. State Department, and the United Nations.  While the Larsons lived in their Modernist home, they frequently entertained friends and fellow Duke Faculty, often holding classical music concerts in the large two-story-clear living room.

Tickets to the tour are $6.50 in advance or $10 at the door. (Advance sales close a week before the tour.) Admission is on a timed-entry basis every 30 minutes. Photography is allowed anywhere inside and outside the house. Architects can earn continuing education credits for attending the tour if arrangements are made with the American Institute of Architects in advance.

To order tickets, select an entry time, get directions to the house, and for additional information, go to www.trianglemodernisthouses.com/tour. Proceeds benefit TMH’s ongoing mission. Call George Smart with any questions: 919-740-8407.

About Triangle Modernist Houses:

Triangle Modernist Houses (TMH) is a 501C3 nonprofit established in 2007 and dedicated to documenting, restoring, and growing Modernist architecture in the Triangle. The award-winning website, now the largest educational and historical archive for Modernist residential design in America, continues to catalog, preserve, and advocate for North Carolina Modernism.  TMH hosts popular Modernist house tours several times a year, giving the public access to the Triangle’s most exciting residential architecture, past and present. These tours raise awareness and help preserve these “livable works of art” for future generations. For more information:

 

Triangle Modernist Houses Announces Spring Homes Tour

Featuring four unique Modernist houses in Durham’s Hope

The Patel House is one of four modernist homes on the spring tour.

Valley neighborhood.

February 20, 2012 (Durham, NC) — The 29th Triangle Modernist Houses tour of modern homes will be held Saturday April 14, 1-4 p.m., in the Hope Valley neighborhood of Durham, NC.

The tour will feature four unique homes: one brand new, one four years old, and two mid-century moderns that have been renovated. The houses on the spring tour are:

  • The Miriam and Henry Nicholson House, designed by architect Robert (Judge) Carr.  Renovated and currently for sale.
  • The 2008 Monica Hunter House, designed by architect Bill Waddell.
  • The 2011 Patel House, designed and built by architect Sanjeev Patel.
  • The Chute Residence, a mid-century modern ranch currently under renovation and expansion by architect Ellen Cassilly.

Architects Waddell, Cassilly, and Patel will be at the houses to discuss any details or questions from the public. Photography is allowed and encouraged inside and out.

Tour-goers may park for free at St. Stephen’s Church on Rugby Road. From there they can walk, bike, or take one of two free shuttle buses to the houses. (Please do not drive directly to the houses.)

“We’re super green,” said TMH founder and board chair George Smart. “Think of all the carbon saved by shuttles versus driving hundreds of cars from house-to-house individually.”

Tickets are $14.95 per person in advance for the general public, $11.95 per person in advance for Mod Squad members, and $20 per person on the day of the tour. Children carried or in strollers are admitted free.  Tickets are available at www.trianglemodernisthouses.com/tour.htm.

Since 2008, no organization in North Carolina has hosted more Modernist house tours than TMH. Support from thousands of homeowners, architects, builders, and members of the community allow TMH to bring the public exclusive access to modernist residential architecture. Proceeds from tour ticket sales benefit TMH’s ongoing documentation, preservation, and promotion projects.

Sponsors for the April 14 tour, who will also be on hand at each house, include: L.E. Meyers Builders, The Kitchen Specialist, Studio B Architecture/BuildSense, Go Realty, Anchorage Building Corporation, Nowell’s Contemporary Furniture, Byrd Tile Distributors, and Tonic Design/Tonic Construction.

Contact George Smart at 919-740-8407 with questions about the Durham tour.

For more information on Triangle Modernist Houses, visit www.trianglemodernisthousescom.

About Triangle Modernist Houses:

Triangle Modernist Houses (TMH) is a 501C3 nonprofit established in 2007 and dedicated to restoring and growing Modernist architecture in the Triangle. The award-winning website, now the largest educational and historical archive for Modernist residential design in America, continues to catalog, preserve, and advocate for North Carolina Modernism. TMH also hosts popular Modernist house tours several times a year, giving the public access to the Triangle’s most exciting residential architecture, past and present. These tours raise awareness and help preserve these “livable works of art” for future generations. Visit the website at www.trianglemodernisthouses.com. TMH also has an active community on Facebook.

Triangle Modernist Houses.com Opens Door To Modernist Marvel

Never-before-seen Modernist House Open on Saturday, June 19.

The 2001 Thompson House, by David Davenport, AIA

June 1, 2010 (DURHAM, NC) — On a serene, 20-acre swath of land between Garner and Apex, NC, overlooking a small lake, rests one of the most remarkable Modernist houses in the entire Triangle region, according to George Smart, founder and Executive Director of Triangle Modernist Houses (TMH). On Saturday, June 19, from 1-4 p.m., this private home will be open to the public for the very first time.

In 1999, Diane and Bobby Thompson commissioned David Davenport, AIA, of Davenport Architecture + Design in Manteo and Cary. Built by Tom Brown of The Splinter Group in Raleigh, the 6000-square-foot, two-story home was completed in 2001.

“This sleek, white, sculptural modern design evokes immediate comparison to the work of master Modernist architects Richard Meier, FAIA, and Charles Gwathmey, FAIA,” said Smart. “Architect David Davenport had the perfect wave of design talent, a sophisticated client, an exceptional site, and a premium budget.”

The Thompson House is engineered with heavy steel and wood and covered in real stucco. Extensive glazing and architectural forms create framed views of the landscape. The interior features sweeping, multi-use spaces including second-floor balconies behind glass railings. Contemporary interior finishes and furnishings are by Lynda Lankford of Room Service in Raleigh. Lighting designer Stan Pomeranz of LightTech Design in Research Triangle Park created the architectural lighting for the house and grounds.

The Thompson property also features a 3400-square-foot garage/apartment and a full scale go-kart track modeled after the Bristol International Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee.  For sale since March, the list price is $2.5 million. Additional photos and information on architect David Davenport are available at www.trianglemodernisthouses.com/davenport.htm.

Tickets to this one-time-only tour are $5.95. Reserve tickets online at www.trianglemodernisthouses.com/register.htm. Access is limited, so early reservations are recommended.  The event occurs rain or shine.

The TMH Thompson House Tour is co-sponsored by LightTech, Lynda Lankford of Room Service, and Tom Brown of The Splinter Group. Representatives from all three firms, plus Davenport Architecture, will be at the house during the tour.

TMH offers the public access to modernist architecture throughout the year.  The nine-house “TMH Modern 2010” tour in Raleigh is September 25, a lineup ranging from the 1950s to 2008. For more information, visit www.trianglemodernisthouses.com.

About Triangle Modernist Houses

Triangle Modernist Houses (TMH) is a 501C3 nonprofit established in 2007 to restore and grow modernist architecture in the Triangle. The award-winning website, now the largest educational and historical archive for modernist residential design in America, continues to catalog, preserve, and advocate for North Carolina modernism.  TMH also hosts popular modernist house tours several times a year, giving the public access to the Triangle’s most exciting residential architecture, past and present. These tours raise awareness and help preserve these “works of art” for future generations. Visit the website at www.trianglemodernisthouses.com. TMH also has an active community on Facebook.