In The Ground and On The Boards: Chapel Hill Architect Arielle Condoret Schechter, AIA, Greets Spring with Modern, Custom Houses at Every Phase of Design and Construction

Mason_GrabellMASON-GRABELL MODERNISM (All renderings by Arielle Condoret Schechter, AIA)

May 1, 2018 (Chapel Hill, NC) — A family of transplants from hurricane-prone Florida can’t wait for construction to begin this summer on their spacious, modern house perched on a hillside in Orange County. Cheryl and Ken Serdar are showing off their new, modern, Net Zero, Micropolis® house in Hillsborough, NC, during the 2018 Green Home Tour. And a husband and wife in Chatham County are anxious to “break free” of the “soul-deadening” confines of a cookie-cutter residential development, so they’re counting the days until they can move into their new, modern, Net Zero house also nearing completion in Chatham County.

Chapel Hill architect Arielle Condoret Schechter, AIA, a Net Zero/Net Positive Passive House expert*, designed all three houses.

Meanwhile back in her studio, Schechter is moving along with six more projects that span the first three phases of architectural design: schematic design, design development, and construction documentation.

Mason-Grabell Modernism (pictured at top)

Construction is scheduled to begin this summer on the spacious Mason-Grabell house. The family grew tired of fighting hurricanes down in Florida so they relocated to Chapel Hill, NC, where hurricanes are extremely rare.

Rising from a hillside with large expanses of glass on all sides, the Mason-Grabel house features flat, cascading roofs that crown specific interior spaces. Designed to touch the ground lightly and protect the site’s natural hydrology, “Mason-Grabell Modernism” will be one of very few modernist houses in its neighborhood.

Net Zero on Tour

Happy Family“HAPPY FAMILY” (photo by Iman Woods) 

 Schechter always stresses that a smaller house allows homeowners to invest their money in elements other than square footage. In the Serdars’ house (above), that other element is a luxurious, spa-like bathroom with a curb-less walk-in shower for two, a custom cast-concrete trough sink, and a vanity area where top-quality tile rises up the high walls to the ceiling.

Otherwise, the Serdars’ relatively small house is deceptive. It appears to be a simple modern house with large, honey-hued wood soffits adding warmth and textural contrast to the precast custom concrete exterior walls. But this is a Net Zero passive house. And the design skills, technological and materials knowledge, and attention to details necessary to create such a high-performance house are anything but “simple.”

*Schechter welcomes the challenge, however, as she continues to add to her growing portfolio of certified Net Zero and Net PositivePassive residential designs with what she’s dubbed the “Happy Family” house.

 Privacy House

Privacy House

“They consider themselves ‘escapees’ from a rigid, traditional development to a lot in the woods,” Schechter said, referring to her clients who are moving out of a traditional development and into this secluded, Net Zero house (above) in the forest in Chatham County. (She noted that “breaking free” and “soul-deadening” are her clients’ words.)

Besides the huge emphasis on privacy, the couple told their architect that they wanted a “modern but simple, unpretentious, age-in-place design.” And they had one specific request. “A sheltered place to sit outside and watch the rain,” Schechter said as she pointed out the house’s deeply cantilevered roof.

Phasing In

Concurrently, Arielle Schechter is working through the schematic design phase for a house for two engineers in Harnett County. She’s also fine-tuning three houses in design development and shepherding two other houses through the construction documentation phase.

For more information on Arielle Condoret Schechter and to see additional examples of her built and on-the-boards work, visit www.acsarchitect.com.

acs-best-headshot
Arielle Condoret Schechter, AIA

About Arielle Condoret Schechter:

Arielle Condoret Schechter, AIA, is a licensed, registered architect based in Chapel Hill, NC, who specializes in Modernist, energy-efficient buildings with a focus on PASSIVE, NET ZERO/NET POSITIVE houses, as well as her new tiny house plans, the Micropolis® Houses. She is a lifelong environmentalist and began practicing green design long before it became mainstream. She is also a lifelong animal advocate who lives in Chapel Hill with her husband, Arnie, and an assortment of foster animals in the modern, sustainable house she designed for all of them.

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Chapel Hill Architect and Builder Continue To Raise The Bar For Green Design and Construction

Arielle Condoret Schechter
Rendering, eastern elevation

After stealing the show during the 2015 Green Home Tour with “Happy Meadows,” the modern, net-zero passive house she designed in Pittsboro, NC, Chapel Hill architect Arielle Condoret Schechter, AIA, now has another modern, net-zero, passive house-inspired home under construction – this time in Chapel Hill, and this time for the custom green homebuilder who helped her create Happy Meadows: Kevin Murphy of Newphire Building.

For the past decade, “greenwashing” has run rampant in the home building industry. Simply put, “greenwashing” occurs when an architect, contractor, or home builder spends more time and money claiming to be “green” through advertising and marketing than actually implementing practices that minimize environmental impact.

Arielle Schechter and Kevin Murphy take environmental impact very seriously.

Arielle Condoret Schechter, Chapel Hill architect
Rendering, front elevation

According to Murphy, the 2950-square-foot house Schechter has designed for his family of four will be “a warm and functional family home as well as a showcase of cutting-edge green building techniques.”

Architecturally, the house effortlessly combines environmental stewardship with the simple volumes, flat rooflines, open floor plan, and indoor-outdoor living that define modern styling. The first floor will feature a spacious living/dining/kitchen area connected to a screen porch that will extend the living space outdoors. The master bedroom wing will be located on the first floor with the children’s suite – complete with a multipurpose music and entertainment room –  and home office upstairs. Typical of Schechter’s residential work, a private interior courtyard will link all spaces together.

The house is located on a 4.3-acre site at the end of a private gravel road that is very secluded yet only a seven-minute drive from Chapel Hill or Carrboro. Despite the size of the lot, stream buffers, setbacks to existing well and septic concerns, and a new leach field left Murphy with a surprisingly small area on which to build his house.

Rendering, rear corner at screened porch
Rendering, rear corner at screened porch

The site’s eastern line runs down to the branch of a small creek. Beyond the creek, dozens of acres of Triangle Land Conservancy property provides a lush buffer for wildlife. The screen porch faces the forest.

Far from “greenwashing,” the Murphy home will be “net zero/net positive,” meaning that it will produce as much energy as it uses and probably even more. “We anticipate a National Green Building Standard ‘Gold’ rating,” Murphy noted.

Murphy said he will employ the techniques he’s learned while building Certified Passive Houses. His home will be super-insulated and extremely air tight, far beyond regular building code requirements. To provide the home with fresh air, Murphy and Schechter will utilize the cutting-edge Conditioning Energy Recovery Ventilator (CERV) that they used at the Happy Meadows home. The CERV filters, dehumidifies and tempers incoming fresh air before distributing it to the living area. The home will be heated and cooled by two tiny Fujitsu mini-split heat pumps and all of the windows will be high performance, European, triple-pane tilt and turn by Awilux. As a result, the house will need only a small array of photovoltaic (solar) panels to produce all the electricity the house will need.

To maximize both passive and active solar gain, the house’s axis run east to west, thereby capturing an abundance of southern sunlight.

According to its architect and builder/homeowner, this modern, high-performance house will be part of the 2016 Green Home Tour sponsored by the Home Builders Association of Durham, Orange and Chatham counties.

For more information on Arielle Condoret Schechter, visit www.acsarchitect.com. For more information on NewPhire Building: www.newphirebuilding.com.

About Arielle Condoret Schechter, AIA:

Arielle Condoret Schechter, AIA, is a licensed, registered architect based in Chapel Hill, NC, who specializes in Modernist, energy-efficient buildings with a focus on passive houses, NET ZERO houses, and her new tiny house designs, Micropolis Houses™. She is a lifelong environmentalist and animal advocate who was riding on the green design train long before it became mainstream. She lives in Chapel Hill with her husband, Arnie, and an assortment of foster animals in a Modern house she designed. For more information: www.acsarchitect.com

Duke University’s Ocean Conservation Center Achieves LEED Platinum

The highest Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification.

Duke University Ocean Conservation Center
Duke’s Ocean Conservation Center in Beaufort, NC.

Raleigh architect Frank Harmon, FAIA, principal of Frank Harmon Architect PA, recently learned that the Ocean Conservation Center (OCC) his firm designed in Beaufort, NC, for Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment Marine Laboratory has achieved LEED Platinum certification.

Platinum is the highest Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification that the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) awards.

Located on Piver’s Island at the head of the Beaufort Inlet, the OCC provides state-of-the-art teaching facilities for the Duke Marine Lab while identifying and demonstrating innovative, environmentally sound design and construction technology.

Duke University Ocean Conservation Center
The OCC’s glass-enclosed common area.

The 5000-square-foot building’s angular design responds directly to the site along the edge of the island. The shape defers to prevailing southwest breezes blowing in from the channel and allows natural illumination to serve as primary task lighting in every interior space. It also creates a very natural open, inner courtyard for the campus.

The channel side of the building features a large, wooden porch just outside of a glass-enclosed common area, which provides panoramic views of the natural surroundings. The wood-shingled exterior complements the coastal context and the roof’s deep overhang protects the interior from the hot summer sun.

The building is designed and engineered to resist hurricane-force winds in excess of 125 mph — a very real threat in Beaufort, NC. Building materials include wood, wood shingles, glass, and cement panels. The fully designed wood frame is comprised of Atlantic white cedar, recycled wood, and Southern yellow pine. State-of-the-art green features include photovoltaic rooftop panels for converting sunlight into electricity, a solar hot water system, a vegetated roof and rain water collection cistern, and high-efficiency ground-coupled heat pumps. Recycled and local materials were used wherever possible.

Landscaping includes a large, new dune that directs the wind over the building, rather than directly at it, and protects other all-native landscaping features.

Earning LEED Platinum certification is a comprehensive process. A project must meet all requirements during a rigorous evaluation of building system efficiency, sustainability, water efficiency, materials used for construction, and environmental quality. Architect and client must be fully committed to sustainability and the process.

LEED certification is recognized across the globe as the premier mark of achievement in green building. For more information: www.usgbc.org/leed.

For more information on the OCC and Frank Harmon Architect PA, visit www.frankharmon.com.

About Frank Harmon, FAIA:

Frank Harmon, FAIA, is principal of the multi-award-winning firm Frank Harmon Architect PA in Raleigh, NC, a Professor in Practice at NC State University’s College of Design, and the 2013 winner of AIA North Carolina’s F. Carter Williams Gold Medal, the highest honor presented by the Chapter to an AIA NC member to recognize a distinguished career and extraordinary accomplishments as an architect. In 2010 Harmon was included in Residential Architect’s inaugural “RA 50: The Short List of Architects We Love.” In 2013, his firm was ranked 21st among the top 50 firms in the nation by Architect Magazine. Frank Harmon is also the author and illustrator for NativePlaces.org, a series in which he uses hand-drawn sketches and mini-essays to examine the relationship between nature and built structures. For more information: www.frankharmon.com. Contact information: frank@frankharmon.com; 919.829.9464; 14 East Peace Street, Raleigh, NC 27604.

 

 

 

METAL ARCHITECTURE magazine: “An Architect’s Insights and Instincts”

Frank Harmon lets people understand the world around them.

Frank Harmon, FAIA
Frank Harmon, FAIA

by Marc Robins, Senior Editor

When architect Frank Harmon, FAIA, founder of Frank Harmon Architect PA, Raleigh, N.C., was in his eighth grade English class, he stared out a window and saw an interesting building across the street that captivated him. Even though his mother wanted him to be a doctor, this building and his curiosity on how it was built formed the initial inspiration for his accomplished career as a multi-award-winning architect designing environmentally responsible, modern buildings.

In the past three decades he has won more AIA North Carolina (AIA NC) design awards than any other firm in the state. In 2013, Harmon received AIA NC’s Carter Williams Gold Medal, the highest honor the NC AIA chapter presents “in recognition of a distinguished career or extraordinary accomplishments as an architect.” He is consistently sought out as a judge for design award juries, and his design of the AIA NC Center for Architecture & Design in Raleigh received the 2013 Metal Architecture Judges Award.

As an architect dedicated to environmental sustainability, Harmon has specified metal-from standing seam to zinc-on basically all of his projects, including arts and environmental centers, commercial and liturgical buildings, museums, research facilities and dramatic single-family homes. He embraces the fact that metal roofs reflect heat and have very long life spans, and that zinc, in particular, is one of the most sustainable building materials available. READ MORE…

Frank Harmon Architect PA Makes National 2014 “Architect 50” Ranking

Based on business success, design quality, and commitment to sustainability.

Frank Harmon, FAIA
Frank Harmon, FAIA (photo by Juli Leonard)

Frank Harmon Architect PA, a multi-award-winning firm based in downtown Raleigh, North Carolina, is included in Architect magazine’s 2014 Top 50 firms in the nation.

Harmon’s firm ranks fifteenth in the professional journal’s sustainability category.

The “Architect 50” places great emphasis on the firm’s commitment to sustainability and design excellence. As the magazine states:

“Qualifying to be ranked is based on scores in three separate categories: business, design, and sustainability. The sustainability and design categories were assigned more points than the business category to reflect Architect’s intent that the list rewards firms that achieve all-around excellence far beyond just profitability.”

Frank Harmon, FAIA, is a leader in modern, sustainable, and regionally appropriate architecture.

A few of his firm’s recent projects, all of which are based on the principles of sustainable design and construction, include: First Presbyterian Church and the AIA NC Center for Architecture and Design in Raleigh; NC Botanical Garden Visitors’ Education Center, North Carolina State Construction’s first LEED Platinum building; a residential mountain retreat in the North Carolina’s Uwharri Mountains; STARworks Center for Creative Enterprise in Star, NC; the United Therapeutics Field House in Research Triangle Park, NC; and the Oyster Research Shellfish Hatchery in Wilmington, NC.

For more information on Frank Harmon Architect PA, visit www.frankharmon.com.

About Frank Harmon Architect PA:

Frank Harmon, FAIA, is principal of the multi-award-winning firm Frank Harmon Architect PA in Raleigh, NC. He is also a Professor in Practice at NC State University’s College of Design and the 2013 winner of AIA North Carolina’s F. Carter Williams Gold Medal, the highest honor presented by the Chapter to an AIA NC member to recognize a distinguished career and extraordinary accomplishments as an architect. His firm is nationally acclaimed for its modern, sustainable, regionally appropriate designs, especially its environmental education centers. Frank Harmon is also the author and illustrator for “Native Places,” a blog in which he uses hand-drawn sketches and mini-essays to examine the relationship between nature and built structures. For more information: www.frankharmon.com. Contact information: frank@frankharmon.com; 919.829.9464; 14 East Peace Street, Raleigh, NC 27604.

Umicore Ranks in Top 10 of the World’s Most Sustainable Corporations

Based on key performance indicators, such as innovation, diversity, and eco-friendly productivity.

January 26, 2012 (Raleigh, NC) — Umicore, a global materials technology group and the parent company of Umicore Building Products USA in Raleigh, NC, has been included once again in the top 10 of the world’s most sustainable companies.

Corporate Knights, an independent magazine focused on promoting sustainable development, published the rankings this week.

The “Global 100 Most Sustainable Companies” ranking is based on key performance indicators such as innovation, diversity, and productivity related to a set of environmental factors. Ranked eighth out of 100, Umicore was praised for the significant role the company plays in the metal recycling chain and the development of materials for clean energy applications.

This accolade follows Umicore’s recent inclusion in the innovative Living Planet Green Tech Index launched by WWF, the Living Planet Fund Management Company, and Chevreux.

Umicore is also a long-standing component of the FTSE4Good index, which measures performance of companies that meet globally recognized corporate responsibility standards.

“The inclusion of Umicore in these rankings and indices is a recognition that our strategy and business philosophy do meaningfully address the priorities of society today,” said Umicore CEO Marc Grynberg. “We have a strong focus on products and services that provide environmental benefits, such as recycling, automotive catalysts, and materials for rechargeable batteries. This is complemented by ambitious objectives to further improve our environmental and social performance.”

“It is great to be involved with a company that takes a strong stance on sustainability, as well as representing an architectural product that contributes to that equation,” said Daniel Nicely, market development director for Umicore Building Products USA, the manufacturer of VMZINC® architectural zinc.

For more information on Umicore’s sustainability strategies and practices, visit www.umicore.com/sustainability.

For more information on Umicore Building Products, visit www.vmzinc-us.com.

About Umicore:

Umicore is a global materials technology group. It focuses on application areas where its expertise in materials science, chemistry and metallurgy makes a real difference. Its activities are centered on four business areas: Catalysis, Energy Materials, Performance Materials, and Recycling. Each business area is divided into market-focused business units offering materials and solutions that are at the cutting edge of new technological developments and essential to everyday life. For more information: www.umicore.com.

About Umicore Building Products USA:

Umicore is a world-leading producer of VMZINC® 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, North Carolina. For additional information:  www.vmzinc-us.com.