“The Professor’s House” Will Be Open For Public Touring in September


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Designed by Arielle Condoret Schechter, AIA, this small, modern, age-in-place house is part of the Fall 2017 Modapalooza Tour.

 

July 19, 2017 (Chapel Hill, NC) — “The Professor’s House,” a small, sustainable, age-in-place house overlooking Morgan Creek in Chapel Hill, has been selected for the Fall 2017 Modapalooza Tour on Saturday, September 16, sponsored by North Carolina Modernist Houses (NCMH).

Chapel Hill architect Arielle Condoret Schechter, AIA, designed the house for a retired professor of Native American Studies. A widow now, she wanted to downsize from her 3200-square-foot house and live with her dog in a modern, age-in-place house in a quiet, wooded neighborhood in Chapel Hill, NC.

She contacted Schechter because she’d heard about the Micropolis Houses®, a collection of modern “tiny house” plans Schechter designed that range from 150 to 1500 square feet and can be customized to meet specific buyers’ needs and preferences. In this case, the professor wanted to add a third bedroom/office and an extra bath to the Micropolis® plan she chose.

modern, age-n-place house Chapel Hill
A bridge from the parking area to the front door means guests won’t have to maneuver any steps.

“A small house meant she could have things like a swimming pool, a Japanese soaking tub, and choose nicer elements for her money,” Schechter noted.

The final design is nearly half the size of the professor’s previous house. Yet at only a little more than 1600 heated square feet– almost 1000 square feet less than the average American house, which is now 2500 square feet — it packs in all of the professor’s spatial needs in an open, fluid floor plan with age-in-place functionality. Schechter calls it a “Custom-opolis.”

The Professor’s House is one of seven houses designed by award-winning architects on this year’s Modapalooza Tour, including projects by Frank Harmon, Phil Szostak, Tina Govan, Jason Hart, and in situ studio. (For all the details about the tour, visit http://www.ncmodernist.org/palooza17.htm.)

The Professor’s House is also in the running for a 2017 George Matsumoto Prize, which recognizes excellence in North Carolina modernist residential design sponsored by NCMH. Winners are selected by both a professional jury and public voting. (Public voting at https://ncmhcompetitions.squarespace.com ends July 20.)

For more information on The Professor’s House and architect Arielle Condoret Schechter, AIA, visit www.acsarchitect.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 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

 

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Chapel Hill Architect Introduces “Micropolis” House Plans

Architect-designed building plans for tiny Modern homes.

The Corten Cottage
The Corten Cottage

 

Growing up in North Carolina, architect Arielle Condoret Schechter, AIA, of Chapel Hill, NC, saw a problem: The mobile homes scattered or clumped together across North Carolina filled a great need for small housing options but they had no design integrity, they were usually made of poor materials, and she couldn’t see how they contributed to their owners’ quality of life.

“I had friends who lived in mobile homes,” she said. “When I visited, I saw how dark most of them were and I could tell the air quality was terrible even as a kid. Most are still made with products that give off formaldehyde.”

"Little Ant"
“Little Ant”

Right out of architecture school, Schechter bought and renovated a tiny mill house in Hillsborough. “It was 850 square feet, built in the early 1900s. I took out a few strategic walls and put in a huge south facing window that lit up the whole house.” Schechter says. “I felt like a queen in that little house! After renovation it felt brighter and more open than houses many times it’s size. I put money into details that made a difference like better materials. That house taught me a lot about what a small house could be.”

So a few years ago she began working on a solution — or rather, many solutions – that she is finally introducing to the public.

She calls them Micropolis Houses — a collection of Modern “tiny home” plans she’s designed that range from 150 to 1500 square feet and can be customized to meet specific buyers’ needs and preferences.

Extra-small homes are growing more popular every year, as The Huffington Post, ABC News, Dwell and other media sources have been reporting.

“There are so many reasons for building small,” Schechter said. “Small houses are less

The Butterfly Cottage
The Butterfly Cottage

expensive to build and they dramatically reduce homeowners’ property taxes. They’re easier and cheaper to heat, cool, and maintain, and they use fewer natural resources so they’re inherently more sustainable. And small houses let you focus on quality – in building materials and interior finishes and furnishings – rather than quantity.”

Schechter also notes how much easier it can be to achieve Net Zero – when a building produces all the energy it needs — with a Micropolis House. “Net Zero is the best goal for new buildings, although it is not a code requirement yet. Right now it’s up to the client, but who wouldn’t want the option of not having a power bill?”

“And I believe small houses will be easier to resell down the road because of the downsizing trend.”

L-Shaped House
L-Shaped House

Micropolis Houses should also appeal to another market segment: people who were looking for something between the standard builder-designed home plans market and full architectural services. “I noticed there are quite a few traditional tiny house companies but very few Modernist options,” Schechter said. “I hope these might be an option for people who want a very modern small house but might not have the budget for traditional full architectural services.”

Architect-designed house plans that can be purchased by the public have historic precedence. At the turn of the 19th century, Gustav Stickley made his well-designed small houses available to the mass market by publishing them in his magazine, The Craftsman. Frank Lloyd Wright created a reproducible house design for middle-class families that he called “Usonian.”

“Micropolis Houses are not for hoarders, though,” explains Schechter. “I put as much storage in each one as I can, but they require a paring down which many of us Americans are not used to.”

At present, Schechter’s Micropolis Houses are only available by appointment with the architect. (She hopes to have a full section of her website devoted to Micropolis Houses soon to allow online ordering.) The plans come in full downloadable PDF sets that can then be printed at a copy shop, or blueprint sets with an additional fee for shipping. The PDF sets range from $1500 to $6500 based on the size of the house. Extra customization fees will be based on the scope of the changes.

For more information on Micropolis Houses, the architect can be reached at 919-933-1400 and acsarchitect@icloud.com. For more information on Arielle Condoret Schechter, visit www.acsarchitect.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 of all types and sizes, especially houses. She admits that she is “obsessed with light,” which drives her designs more than any other single element. Her firm also offers interior and lighting design, and custom furniture and fixtures. She attended the North Carolina School of the Arts, the Juilliard School of Music, and NC State University’s College of Design. She lives with her husband, Arnie Schechter, and an assortment of foster animals in a Modern, energy-efficient house she designed. For more information: www.acsarchitect.com.