Blueplate PR Client’s Project Featured in Metal Architecture magazine.

pod architecture + design’s “Hillside House” gets national press.

Abundant glazing provides views of the wooded site from every room. (Photo by Allen Weiss)

by Christopher Brinkerhoff, Associate Editor

Zig zagging down a hillside in Carrboro, N.C., a black-clad house blends into a wooded site. The home is the vision of partners and design duo Douglas Pierson and Youn Choi, pod architecture + design PLLC, Chapel Hill, N.C.

The house comprises three forms that are connected. At their simplest, they are rectangles that connect to form a Z pattern, descending the slope of the hill toward a creek.

Corrugated metal panels give texture to the lengthy façades that are punctured by horizontal windows, which emphasize their length. To keep the lines clean, the architects specified limited trim.

Two Appearances

The home blends in with other houses in the neighborhood in terms of size and scale, but because of the slope, the two lower forms disappear from the street view. The buildable area on the hillside site was limited to a triangular, northeast corner of the site. Instead of facing the streetside to the east, the house faces the creek bed to the southwest. READ MORE

Chapel Hill Architect Tapped to Judge 2019 ‘Metal Construction News’ Awards

Doug P. 2019The editors of Metal Construction News (MCN), the premier national news magazine for the metal construction industry, have tapped North Carolina architect Doug Pierson, AIA, to serve as one of only three judges for their 2019 Building and Roofing Awards.

Pierson and his partner Youn Choi are co-owners and principals of pod architecture + design. Their Chapel Hill-based firm received the highest honor – Grand Winner — in MCN’s 2018 awards program for their design of the 55,000-square-foot Rabbit Hole Distillery in downtown Louisville, Kentucky.

“Because that honor meant so much to us, I was incredibly honored when [Senior Editor] Mark Robins asked me to serve as a judge this year,” said Pierson, who is also a faculty member at NC State University’s College of Design.

Projects have been submitted to the Building and Roofing Awards in five categories: Metal Buildings, Metal Roofs/New, Metal Roofs/Retrofit, Metal Walls/New, and Metal Walls/Retrofit.

Pierson and the other two judges will receive the entries digitally on October 4th. On October 14 they will confer with the MCN staff to determine the best three submissions in each category and the 2019 Grand Winner. The judges may also suggest projects worthy of a “Judges’ Award.”

This is the 33rd year that Metal Construction News has showcased innovation and excellence in the metal construction industry through its awards program.

MCN is a Modern Trade Communications, Inc., publication. For more information, go to

For more information on Doug Pierson and pod architecture + design, visit


Umicore Building Products Wins Three National Awards

For the exceptional use of metal in innovative architectural designs.

October 19, 2011 (Raleigh, NC) — Umicore Building Products USA received three national Metal Construction Association (MCA) Chairman’s Awards this year for the exceptional use of metal in innovative architectural designs.

In the Residential category, Umicore Building Products (UBP) received the 2011 MCA Chairman’s

The GREENville House

Award for Kristi and Bobby Walters’ “GREENville House” in Greenville, North Carolina. Designed and built by Tonic Design + Construction of Raleigh, NC, the exterior cladding of this modern, thoroughly “green” house is a mix of brick veneer, vertical cedar panels, and VMZINC® architectural zinc. Metal Worx was the installer.

UBP received the MCA Chairman’s Award in the Educational category for the Gateway Center at Westchester Community College In Valhalla, New York. Designed by Ennead Architects LLP of New York with Worth Construction as contractor, sustainable design strategies including the choice of materials: VMZINC, stone and glass. Barrett Roofing was the metal installer.

Finally, UBP received the MCA Chairman’s Award for Municipal design for the Nebraska Public Power

Gateway Center, Westchester Community College

District’s new Norfolk Operations Center in Norfolk, Nebraska. Designed by HDR, Inc., with J.E. Dunn Construction Co. as contractor, the LEED-Gold  project utilizes UBP’s patented Dri-Design® panels for 12,887 square feet of VMZINC’s Anthra Zinc in addition to aluminum and copper. SGH, Inc., was the metal installer.

The Chairman’s Awards are an annual designation given to outstanding building projects involving MCA member companies. The awards honor innovation and creativity while showcasing how metal products contribute to exceptional building designs.

“We are honored to receive three awards from the MCA this year,” said Dan Nicely, Director of Market Development UBP. “And we are proud to be associated with such great projects by incredible architects

Norfolk Operations Center

such as HDR, Ennead, and Tonic.”

The award ceremony took place on Tuesday, October 11, during this year’s METALCON International convention in Atlanta. Pierre Van de Bruaene, Umicore’s Corporate Senior Vice President for the building products division, Norbert Schneider, President of Umicore Building Products North America, and Dan Nicely received the award.

For more information on Umicore Building Products and VMZINC, visit For more information on the Metal Construction Association and the MCA Chairman’s Awards, go to

About Umicore Building Products USA, Inc.

Umicore is a world-leading producer of architectural zinc. For over 160 years Umicore has been providing innovative solutions for building owners, architects and contractors. Umicore has offices and representatives all over the world. In the United States, Umicore Building Products USA, Inc., is based in Raleigh, NC. For additional information, visit