“Piedmont Retreat/Tonic Design”

SM_Piedmont Retreat5
Tzu Chen Photography

Wrapped in vertical stripes of Corten® steel street-side, with vast expanses of floor-to-ceiling glass and cantilevered windows overlooking the forest behind it, a modern house sits quietly in the corner of a cul-de-sac in Durham.

Katherine Hogan, AIA, and Vinny Petrarca of Tonic Design in Raleigh are responsible for this creative two-story, 3800-square-foot, single-family structure that will, as the steel continues to weather, blend into the natural setting and never need painting. Their clients loved the concept since they wanted a low-maintenance house with a modest public presence. READ MORE…


Corten steel helps residence blend into surroundings seamlessly

Piedmont Retreat6

Located in a wooded cul-de-sac neighborhood in Durham, N.C., this single-family residence, nicknamed Piedmont Retreat, is wrapped in vertical Corten steel panels facing the street, and vast expanses of floor-to-ceiling glass and cantilevered windows in the back that overlook the surrounding forest.


The owners reached out to Raleigh, N.C.-based Tonic Design and Tonic Construction to design and build the residence. “It’s a corner lot,” says Vincent Petrarca, co-owner, designer and contractor at Tonic Design, “so the house really had to respond to the two streets. And for us, trying to create a place that’s calm and a getaway, the idea of even a few streetlights at night on the corner, the house really had to turn its back on the street. So the house created this hard shell to that side of the property, and then it really opens up, like a geode, looking down the Piedmont ravine into the mature forest.” READ MORE…

INHABITAT: “Weathered steel and reclaimed materials blend a modern home into the woods.”

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by Lisa Wang

Raleigh-based Tonic Design completed a creative new home that plays with the contrast between old and new through the use of reclaimed and contemporary materials. Tucked into the forests of Durham, the Piedmont Retreat is a 3,800-square-foot single-family home that embraces the outdoors in its use of weathered materials and large cantilevered windows. Reclaimed materials, like oak flooring and factory lights, help soften the modern steel and glass construction. READ MORE…

The Raleigh Architecture Co. Raises Funds, Food For Urban Ministries of Wake Co.

The Raleigh Architecture Co.
Sunday Supper in the city: RACo helps raise $1500 and 200 pounds of food. Photo © Juli Leonard.

The downtown Raleigh firm hosts Capital Club 16’s Sunday Supper On The Road.

The Raleigh Architecture Company (RACo), a design-build firm in the city’s downtown Warehouse District, helped raise $1500 and 200 pounds of food for Urban Ministries of Wake County when partners Craig Kerins, AIA, and Robby Johnson, AIA, hosted Capital Club 16’s “Sunday Supper On The Road” event in their offices on Sunday, November 9.

Shannon and Jake Wolf own and operate Capital Club 16, an American-German restaurant in downtown Raleigh. Several times annually they collaborate with other local businesses, artists, farmers, and friends to host “Sunday Suppers On The Road,” family-style dinners featuring all-local food and beverages. Open to the public but with limited seating, these suppers raise funds for various non-profit organizations. All proceeds are donated to the designated non-profit.

“We’re great friends with Shannon and Jake and we wanted to host an event that allowed us to celebrate the season, friendship, local purveyors, and to raise awareness for a community organization [Urban Ministries] that’s providing a critical service,” said Johnston. “Holding the November Sunday Supper in our office was an opportunity to give something back to the city that gives so much to us.”

Actually, the Sunday Supper took place in RACo’s workshop, which is under the same roof as the office on South West Street. Fifty-five people sat at white linen-draped tables to enjoy food and drink from Laurel Branch Gardens, Locals Seafood, Boulted Bread, and Trophy Brewing — all Raleigh-based businesses. Capital Club 16’s pastry chef Carrie Gephart prepared the desserts.

Besides purchasing tickets to the supper, which raised the $1500, attendees also donated food for Urban Ministries mission – 200 pounds of it.

Urban Ministries of Wake County is a private, non-profit organization that engages the community to serve and advocate on behalf of those affected by poverty by providing nutrition and promoting health and wellness. For more information:

For more information on Capital Club 16, go to

For more information on The Raleigh Architecture Company, visit

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, call 919-831-2995, or email:


Raleigh Architect Robby Johnston Serves On South Carolina Awards Jury


The Raleigh Architecture Co.
Robby Johnston, AIA

Raleigh architect Robby Johnston, AIA, partner and founding principal of The Raleigh Architecture Company, recently served on the design awards jury for the Greater Columbia section of the American Institute of Architects’ South Carolina chapter (AIAGC).

This marked the first time Johnston, 34, has served on a design jury other than student review juries at NC State University and UNC-Charlotte.

Steve Schuster, FAIA, principal of Clearscapes in Raleigh, was the jury chair who tapped Johnston for the task, along with young Raleigh architects Erin Sterling-Lewis, AIA, and Sara Queen.

“Steve should be commended for his unorthodox jury composition,” Johnston said. “He selected young, up-and-coming architects rather than architects who have years of experience serving on awards juries. It was an honor to be included.”

The awards recognize outstanding achievements in architecture by AIAGC members. Johnston explained why his jury chose to honor only three of this year’s submissions:

“Each award-winning project exemplified a balance of historical recognition cross-pollinated with contextual response and sensitive, contemporary detailing. We chose only three — one citation, one merit, and one honor award – because, as a group, we felt it was important to preserve the significance of design awards by selecting only the most deserving projects.”

A native North Carolinian, Robby Johnston graduated from UNC-Charlotte’s College of Arts and Architecture in 2003. As a Modernist architect he worked with Michael Ross Kersting Architecture in Wilmington, NC, Tonic Design + Tonic Construction in Raleigh, and Clearscapes before he and partner Craig Kerins launched The Raleigh Architecture Company, a design-build firm, in 2012. He served on the AIA Triangle Tour of Residential Architecture committee for two years and is now a member of City of Raleigh Appearance Committee.

For more information on Johnston and The Raleigh Architecture Company, visit

RACo logoAbout 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, call 919-831-2995, or email:

Triangle Modernist Houses Announces The 2012 “Appetite4Architecture” Series

A4A dinners bring architects and the public together in a social atmosphere.

January 9, 2012 (Raleigh, NC) – Triangle Modernist Houses (TMH) has announced its third “Appetite4Architecture” series of dinners that give the public the chance to enjoy relaxed, informal discussions in an upscale dining environment, where diners have direct access to some of the area’s best residential architects and professionals.

TMH is an award-winning, non-profit organization dedicated to documenting, preserving and promoting Modernist residential design.

“Dreaming of a new Modernist house? Long admired the work of a local architect or designer? Thinking about architecture as a career? Appetite4Architecture offers a chance to break bread with prominent members of the Triangle’s design community in an intimate, affordable small group setting,” said TMH founder and board chair George Smart. “There are no presentations or PowerPoint slides — just great conversations with award-winning cuisine.”

The schedule and special guests for the 2012 A4A dinners:

Again this year, the “A4A” dinners will be held at 18 Seaboard in Raleigh and begin at 6:30 p.m. The dinners include three courses from a preselected menu (vegetarian options are available) plus coffee, water, tea, tax, and gratuity. Price per person is $53. Tickets are available at

TMH requires a minimum of 10 participants per event (maximum 17). Otherwise the event will be cancelled with full refunds. If someone purchases a ticket but then can’t attend, substitutions are allowed. Payments are nonrefundable except for event cancellation. All proceeds benefit TMH’s ongoing documentation, preservation, and house tours programs. For more information call George Smart, 919-740-8407.

For more information on TMH, visit

About Triangle Modernist Houses:

Triangle Modernist Houses was established in 2007 to document, preserve, and promote Modernist residential design. The award-winning website is now the largest educational and historical archive for Modernist residential design in America. TMH also hosts Modernist house tours several times a year. These tours raise awareness and help preserve these “livable works of art” for future generations. Visit TMH also has an active community on Facebook.

Frank Harmon Architect PA Announces New Project Architects

John Caliendo, AIA

John Caliendo, AIA, and Michael Spinello, LEED AP, join the award-winning firm.


October 13, 2010 (RALEIGH, NC) – Frank Harmon, FAIA, principal and founder of Frank Harmon Architect PA in Raleigh, has announced that John Caliendo, AIA, and Michael Spinello, LEEP AP, have joined his award-winning firm.

Michael Spinello, LEED AP

Originally from New York City, Caliendo is a LEED AP Professional and an adjunct professor of architect at NC State University’s College of Design. Before joining Harmon’s firm, he was principal of his own firm, John Caliendo Architect in Raleigh. Previous work experience includes years of practice with Peace Brinkley Cease + Lee and Kenneth Hobgood Architect, both in Raleigh. He has extensive experience in commercial, institutional and residential architecture.


Caliendo received a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics and economics from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill in 1990 and graduated cum laude with a Masters in Architecture from NCSU in 1995. He has served on the Advisory Board for the Department of Interior Architecture at UNC-Greensboro, on the Advisory Board for Design Corps in Raleigh, and as a member of the Isosceles Awards Committee with the Triangle chapter of the American Institute of Architects.


“I first met Frank Harmon as a student at NC State College of Design,” Caliendo said. “From my student years and throughout my professional career, Frank has been extremely supportive and has served as a source of inspiration. Now, given the opportunity to work alongside him, it’s a rare privilege. I am very excited.”


Michael Spinello was born in Berkeley, California in 1971, the son of university professors who moved around the country before settling in Auburn, AL. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Chapman University in Orange, California, in 1994. He received a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture degree from Auburn University in 1999 and spent a semester at Auburn’s acclaimed Rural Studio. In 2004, Spinello earned his Master of Architecture degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is also a LEEP AP Professional.


Spinello’s previous work experience includes five years at Cooper Carry Architects in Atlanta in the Planning, Mixed-use and Science & Technology studios where he led the successful effort to win the competition for the Gwinnett Tech Life Sciences Building, now in construction.


Spinello has taught architecture and landscape architecture studios at MIT, Georgia Tech, and Auburn University. He also taught Professional Practice of Architecture at Auburn and has been a guest speaker at the annual Auburn University Rural Studio alumni event. This year, he worked with Professor Emeritus Norbert Lechner of Auburn University on a high-efficiency, region-specific, low-cost housing prototype called the Alabama Energy House, currently seeking construction funding.


“Many of the extraordinary challenges to be faced in the 21st century will be solved through design,” Spinello said. “Issues ranging from rapid urbanization and energy conservation, to preservation of regional cultures and the creation of environments of distinction and delight, will require a holistic approach to designed solutions. I am extremely proud to be a part of the Frank Harmon Architect team. I can think of no better place to engage these issues first-hand and to make architecture that matters.”


Frank Harmon Architect PA is recognized nationally as a leader in innovative, modern, and regionally inspired “green” architecture. For more information visit


About Frank Harmon Architect PA:


Frank Harmon Architect PA was founded in 1985 by Frank Harmon, FAIA, who is also Professor in Practice at NC State University and the 1995 recipient of the Kamphoefner Prize for Distinguished Design over a Ten-Year Period. This year the firm was ranked 13th out of the top 50 firms in the nation by Architect magazine, an annual rating that emphasizes ecological commitment and design quality as much as profitability. Recent projects that blend sustainable architecture with stewardship of the natural environment include Duke University’s Ocean Science Teaching Center in Beaufort, the NC Botanical Garden’s new Visitors Center at UNC-Chapel Hill, and the Walnut Creek Wetlands Center in Raleigh. The firm’s work has been featured in numerous books, magazines and journals on architecture, including Dwell, Architectural Record, Architect, and Residential Architect. For more information, go to

Design Team Member Becomes Registered Architect

Matt Griffith, AIA, of Frank Harmon Architect PA
Matt Griffith, AIA, of Frank Harmon Architect PA

May 26, 2009 (RALEIGH, NC) – Frank Harmon Architect PA in Raleigh, NC, is pleased to announce that Matthew Griffith has successfully completed his registration exams and is a registered architect and a member of the American Institute of Architects.

Griffith joined Frank Harmon, FAIA’s award-winning firm in November of 2006 after moving to Raleigh from Fayetteville, Arkansas. He is a 1996 graduate of Davidson College (BS Mathematics) and a March 2002 graduate of the NCSU College of Design where he concentrated in Urban Design and was awarded the Kamphoefner Fellowship for outstanding service, the Faculty Design Award, and the AIA School Medal.  In 2004, he received the Boston Society of Architects’ Unbuilt Architecture Award for his design of a community center for Camden, New Jersey.

As an intern architect/designer and project manager, Griffith has served on the design team for many of the firm’s significant projects, including the North Carolina Botanical Garden Visitor Education Center in Chapel Hill, First Presbyterian Church renovation and addition in downtown Raleigh, and the future headquarters for the North Carolina Chapter/American Institute of Architects in downtown Raleigh, a project the firm won in a professional design competition.

Griffith’s areas of expertise include programming and site analysis, schematic design, construction detailing, physical modeling, and graphic design.

Before joining Frank Harmon Architect PA, Griffith worked in the office of Marlon Blackwell Architect and served as a Visiting Assistant Professor of Architecture at the University of Arkansas from 2002-2004.  He is currently a Visiting Professor of Architecture at the NCSU College of Design, teaching design studios.

Frank Harmon Architect PA is a nationally recognized leader in modern “green” architecture. The firm was recently included in Architect Magazine’s annual ranking of the top 50 firms in the nation in terms of design innovative and commitment to sustainability. For more information, visit

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Raleigh Architect Serves As Judge For AIA/Northern Virginia Awards

Frank Harmon, FAIA
Frank Harmon, FAIA

May 12, 2009 (RALEIGH, NC) — North Carolina architect Frank Harmon, FAIA, principal of the award-winning firm Frank Harmon Architect PA in Raleigh, will serve as juror for the North Virginia Chapter of the AIA 2009 Design Awards. The judging will take place in the offices of Pearce Brinkley Cease & Lee in Raleigh on May 15. Harmon will present the winners in Alexandria, Virginia on June 8.

Frank Harmon is a recognized leader in modern “green” architecture and an adjunct professor of architect at North Carolina State University’s College of Design. He is also a frequent juror for design awards programs across the country and a frequent speaker at design conferences on the subject of modern, innovative, regional architecture.

The AIA Northern Virginia Chapter Design Awards recognize its members’ achievements in the design of the built environment. Any licensed AIA member of the Northern Virginia Chapter may enter a project. All work submitted for the 2009 awards program had to be completed after June 1, 2004.

Categories for the awards are: Institutional Architecture, Commercial Architecture, Residential Architecture, Interior Architecture, Historic Architecture, Conceptual / Unbuilt Architecture, and Urban Design and Master Planning. A special category — the Herlong Memorial Award – recognizes work by associate or intern AIA members.

AIA/Northern Virginia is headquartered in Alexandria, VA. For more information on the chapter’s awards program, go to

For more information on Frank Harmon, visit

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