Sir Walter Salutes Five Points Icon: Tonic Design receives 2017 Sir Walter Raleigh Award

1700 Glenwood Before_After

1700 Glenwood Avenue before (bottom) and after (top).

For transforming an odd, vacant eyesore into a gleaming glass, energy-efficient commercial building that deserves its place at the pinnacle of Raleigh’s Five Points intersection, Tonic Design principals Katherine Hogan, AIA, and Vincent Petrarca received a 2017 Sir Walter Raleigh Award for Community Appearance for their work on the building at 1700 Glenwood Avenue.

The awards jury called Tonic Design’s work “a well-done project in a very visible location” and noted the manner in which the 5800-square-foot structure “provides lots of light [and] awesome views from within at all levels.”

The mid-century modern, two-story building at the junction of Glenwood Avenue, Fairview Road, and Whitaker Mill houses three thriving businesses today. Yet it has fascinated passersby since 1964 when it was built for a progressive dry cleaner who enclosed the upper story in glass to show off its state-of-the-art mechanization. In 1979, an audio repair and computer equipment business took over the space and, for 28 years, Raleigh residents knew it as the “Audio Buys building.”

Audio Buys closed in 2007 and the building sat vacant for four years. In 2011, the owners hired Tonic Design, an award-winning design-build firm, to upgrade it for leasing to a new generation of tenants.

After installing new, insulated glazing, a custom shade system over the floor-o-ceiling glass walls, and zinc siding, the building could now shade its interior from glare and reduces summer heat gain by more than 70 percent. Yet it continued to languish uninhabited.

McConnell-Continuum-04In 2016, new owners called the Tonic partners back in, this time to increase the building’s function and make it more accessible. Among other improvements, the duo created a new glass-enclosed entry, staircase, and elevator tower; transformed the existing roof into a roof garden with spectacular views in every direction; and added a two-story steel sculpture (left) by McConnell Studios, entitled “Continuum,” to the West Whitaker elevation.

Tonic’s award emanated from the Rehabilitation/History Preservation category, which honors the preservation or rehabilitation of existing buildings, especially Raleigh’s historic resources. “The designers have done a great job further repurposing a building instead of knocking it down,” the jury commented.

For more information on the Sir Walter Raleigh Awards for Community Appearance, go to For more information on 1700 Glenwood Avenue and Tonic Design, visit

About Tonic Design:

Tonic Design is a multi-award-winning design-build firm in Raleigh, NC. Among many accolades throughout their careers, principals Katherine Hogan and Vincent Petrarca were named 2013’s “Rising Stars” by Residential Architect magazine. Their projects have been featured in a host of national publications, including Architectural RecordResidential Architect, DwellCustom Homes, Inform magazine, and Metal Architecture, and locally in the News & ObserverWaltermagazine, and Urban Home.  For more information:


Preservation NC, Nowell’s Furniture To Host TMH “Thirst 4 Architecture” Event

August’s networking event brings design and preservation enthusiasts together.

August 15, 2011 (Cary, NC) – Preservation North Carolina and Nowell’s Contemporary Furniture join with Triangle Modernist Houses (TMH) to host this month’s TMH “Thirst4Architecture” happy hour on Thursday, August 25, from 6-8 p.m. in Nowell’s at 900 E. Chatham Street, Cary, NC.

These informal monthly events are free and open to architects, artists, designers, interior designers, realtors, engineers, contractors, property investors, building managers, Modernist homeowners, materials and furniture dealers “or anyone with a huge crush on great architecture,” said TMH founder and director George Smart.  Nowell’s will provide refreshments as well as live music by Third Expression.

Jerry Nowell, the owner of Nowell’s Contemporary Furniture, has long been a strong supporter of TMH, including the Nowell’s annual architecture film series.

Preservation North Carolina (PNC), North Carolina’s only private, nonprofit, statewide preservation organization, has also supported the TMH mission since the organization was established in 2007.

“Our first preservation easement on a mid-century modern houses was the [1948] Kamphoefner House in 1996,” said Myrick Howard, president of PNC. “But for that easement, that house would now be history. We share Triangle Modernist House’s enthusiasm for structures that serve as excellent examples of the Modernist movement and hope to continue to protect them through educational and entertaining events like Thirst4Architecture.”

“Thirst 4Architecture” events are intended to build relationships, generating passion about good design, creating strategic alliances, and connect people, according to Smart. “It’s all interaction. There are no presentations or PowerPoint slides,” he said. “Come enjoy the refreshments, the music by Third Expression, enter for door prizes, and make new friends and contacts. We’re delighted to have Nowell’s and PNC in on the fun, and the mission, with us.”

For more information on “Thirst4Architecture” events, go to

For more information on Nowell’s Contemporary Furniture and to get directions to the store, go to

For more information on Preservation NC, visit

About Preservation North Carolina:

Since 1939, PNC has protected and promoted hundreds of buildings and landscapes important to the diverse heritage of North Carolina. As North Carolina’s only private, nonprofit statewide preservation organization, PNC protects historic properties by identifying, purchasing and reselling them through its highly effective Endangered Properties Program. It also promotes preservation through its stewardship properties, educational programs, public recognition program, DVDs and publications. PNC is supported through the generosity of nearly 5,000 members. Members receive a magazine, which features properties available for rehabilitation and articles of interest. Join PNC and make North Carolina a better place for present and future generations. For more information:

About Triangle Modernist Houses:

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, 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: TMH also has an active community on Facebook.

Recreation Planners Use Technology To Get Public Participation

April 9, 2009 (CHARLESTON, SC) — “A 21st century way to engage the public directly in recreation and conservation decisions” – that’s how planner Edwin S. Gardner of Heritage Strategy Group describes the approach he and his team are taking to make sure the public is keenly involved in the 2010-2020 Tennessee State Recreation Plan.

“Using the new website, we’re now able to reach the public in ways that were impossible five years ago,” Gardner said, “and it isn’t costing the State a dime to do it.”

Heritage Strategy Group, a subsidiary of the architectural firm Studio A, Inc., in Charleston, South Carolina, recently received the contract for the state of Tennessee’s new Recreation Plan that will identify needs and issues and guide recreation and conservation policies in Tennessee for the next decade.

The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation is holding a series of public meetings this month to get input into the plan that will guide the State’s recreation and conservation policies for the next 10 years.

To bring 21st century technology into the process, Gardner and Dr. Mark Fly, director of the University of Tennessee Human Dimensions Lab, are posting the same public-opinion survey online that meeting attendees will receive.

The survey will be available soon on the Tennessee Department of Conservation and Environment website ( “so we can hear from people all over the state, not just those who make it to one of the meetings,” Gardner said. “This should generate a far greater response than we’ve ever had before.”

Making the survey available online is “a big first for Tennessee,” noted Gardner, who served as conservation and preservation planner for that state’s 2003 Recreation Plan, which the National Park Service cited as one of the nation’s best and “a model for other states to follow.”

Using technology to reach more people “is part of our firm’s intention to use every available method to generate as much public participation in this planning process as possible,” Gardner said. “We’re certain that the more Tennesseans we get involved in the decision-making process, the more accurate, responsive, and effective the eventual plan is going to be.”

The new Recreation Plan will include the state’s 2020 Land and Water “Vision Plan” as well as the five-year Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP). The SCORP is a federally mandated program that makes states eligible to receive federal Land and Water Conservation Fund grants through the National Park Service for acquiring, developing, and renovating outdoor recreation facilities.

Gardner and his team intend to publicize the survey throughout the state, to ask meeting attendees to send the link to their friends, and to ask recreation-related organizations to send the link to their members. They hope to get over 5000 responses.

Consultants on the Tennessee State Recreation Plan include Barge Waggoner of Sumner & Cannon in Knoxville, Tennessee, and the Human Dimensions Research Lab at the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture.

The public meetings are being held in Farragut, Chattanooga, Jackson, and Murfreesboro. The new Recreation Plan should be completed by August 2009, Gardner said. The National Park Service’s approval is expected by the end of the year.

Edwin Gardner recently created a blog — — as an addendum to Studio A’s website (www.studioa-architecture) to more fully describe the work of a heritage planner and the impact such planning has on all forms of conservation.

The 2003-2008 plan is currently available at The survey for the 2010-2020 plan will be available at that site soon.


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