Triangle Modernist Presents “Visual Acoustics” at Galaxy Cinema

A still image from "Visual Acoustics"

April 12, 2010 (CARY, NC) –Triangle Modernist Houses (TMH) and Nowell’s Contemporary Furniture will conclude this year’s Architecture Movie Series with a special screening of “Visual Acoustics” on Thursday, April 22, beginning at 7 p.m. in the Galaxy Cinema in Cary.

Narrated by Dustin Hoffman, “Visual Acoustics” celebrates the life and career of Julius Shulman (1910-2009), widely considered the world’s greatest architectural photographer. His images brought modern architecture to the American mainstream., capturing the work of nearly every modern and progressive architect since the 1930s including Frank Lloyd Wright, Richard Neutra, John Lautner and Frank Gehry.

According to the website, “His images epitomized the singular beauty of Southern California’s modernist movement and brought its iconic structures to the attention of the general public. This unique film is both a testament to the evolution of modern architecture and a joyful portrait of the magnetic, whip-smart gentleman who chronicled it with his unforgettable images.”

TMH intended to launch the Nowell’s Architecture Movie Series with “Visual Acoustics” in December but the film didn’t arrive in time. Tickets purchased either online or at the door in December will be honored. To purchase tickets now, go to Advance tickets are $7.95 or $9 at the door.

Sponsors for this special screening include the bar Foundation in downtown Raleigh, LightTech Architectural Lighting in Pittsboro, Tonic Design/Construction in Raleigh, Kontek Systems in Research Triangle Park, Frank Bowman Designs Inc, and Alphin Design-Build in Raleigh. Nowell’s Contemporary Furniture in Cary has been the primary sponsor for the entire series.

Galaxy Cinema is located at 770 Cary Towne Boulevard, across the street from Cary Towne Center (

For more information on TMH, visit

About Triangle Modernist Houses

Triangle Modernist Houses (TMH) is a 501C3 nonprofit established in 2007 to restoring and growing modernist architecture in the Triangle. The award-winning website, now the largest educational and historical archive for modernist residential design in America, continues to catalog, preserve, and advocate for North Carolina modernism.  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 “works of art” for future generations. Visit the website at TMH is also available on Facebook.

Triangle Modernist Houses’ Summer Doubleheader Tour Sells Out Quickly

Durham Performing Arts Center
Durham Performing Arts Center

July 22, 2009 (DURHAM, NC) – Triangle Modernist Houses has sold out its first August tour, a “Behind-The-Scenes” look at the Durham Performing Arts Center in downtown Durham and architect Phil Szostak residence in Orange County. The tour will be held on Saturday, August 1, from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.

Phil Szostak, FAIA, principal of Philip Szostak Associates in Chapel Hill, designed both structures and will be on hand to conduct the tour.

“It’s an honor to have people want to come see our work,” Szostak said. “I have always enjoyed sharing stories about the projects and how they developed versus just showing the end product. In this case, I think it offers a more rounded understanding of the DPAC and our home.”

The Durham Performing Arts Center is a 2800-seat proscenium theater, designed to accommodate touring stage shows, concerts, and locally produced performances. A dramatic, multi-level public lobby greets patrons. Two grand staircases wrap the building’s perimeter. The building’s façade is a thin curtain wall that focuses attention on prominent interior features and frames views of the downtown cityscape.

The Szostak residence is a thoroughly Modern composition nestled into a 3.5 acre property in Orange County. Living spaces are arranged along a gallery concourse that creates an exterior courtyard where a gridded bosque of ornamental trees surround a reflecting pool. The character of the home, though intentionally understated, emphasizes elegance and simplicity.

Szostak Residence
Szostak Residence

“I hope the visitors take a way a stronger appreciation of the art of architecture and the role of North Carolina architects,” the architect said, “and that high budgets are not required for good architecture.”

Triangle Modernist is the website for Triangle Modernist Archive, Inc., an award-winning nonprofit which preserves, advocates, and builds community around modernist residential design in the Triangle area of North Carolina. Through its online archive and frequent tours of modernist houses in the area, TMA spotlights the beauty and value of modernist residential design and the need for celebrating and preserving the area’s finest examples.

Proceeds from tour ticket sales benefit TMH’s tours, continuing archives, and cataloguing work as America’s largest website for modernist houses. For more information on future tours, visit

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Putting The Ease in Easements: How To Save Modernist Houses From Future Bulldozers

redchair smJuly 22, 2009 (RALEIGH, NC) — Property easements aren’t sexy, but they are important, especially when they concern property with historic value. Easements protect historic structures by assuring that the property’s intrinsic values will be preserved through subsequent ownership.

To help the general public understand how easements work, what they protect, their advantages and disadvantages, Triangle Modernist (TMH) will present a workshop and panel discussion in the new addition to Pullen Memorial Church, 1801 Hillsborough Street in downtown Raleigh, on Saturday, August 15, from 10-11:30 a.m.

Members of the panel will include TMH founder and executive director George Smart; Elizabeth Sappenfield, director of Urban Issues for Preservation North Carolina and the National Trust for Historic Preservation; J. Myrick Howard, executive director, Preservation North Carolina; and Sig Hutchinson, a Wake County insurance agent who is best known for his work in protecting and preserving open space and expanding Raleigh’s greenway system.

TMH’s George Smart is particularly interested in how preservation easements can save mid-century Modernist houses from being razed in the Triangle.

“Many people have a deep personal connection to their house or property,” he said. “It is a part of their family legacy or the cherished result of a life’s work. A preservation easement assures a beloved property will be preserved forever.”

Panelist Elizabeth Sappenfield explained that a preservation easement is “a legal agreement filed with the county register of deeds that protects buildings. Easements are flexible tools and can be custom-designed to meet the personal and financial needs of the property owner. In some cases, the owner may choose only to protect the exterior of the building, but a preservation easement may also protect a building’s interior and important landscape elements.”

Through the panel discussion, Smart hope to make “easements easier!” he said. The group will discuss the role of easements in local historic districts and the National Register of Historic Places, along with the length of easement protection, parties involved and costs required.

"Green" addition, Pullen Memorial Baptist Church, Raleigh.
"Green" addition, Pullen Memorial Baptist Church, Raleigh.

Special guest Ellen Weinstein of the architectural firm Dixon Weinstein Friedlein in Chapel Hill will also be on hand to discuss her firm’s design of the new modern hall at the historic Pullen Memorial Church, which was built using recycled materials and features a “green” roof, rainwater cistern, geothermal heating/cooling, and natural lighting. The church campus is located at the corner of Hillsborough Street and Cox Avenue.

Advance tickets are $5.95 per person and can be obtained at

About Elizabeth Sappenfield:
A Raleigh native, Elizabeth Sappenfield is working on preservation issues in the City of Raleigh, including protecting historic neighborhoods, advocating for preservation in city planning, and working directly to preserve historic properties. She is particularly interested in the preservation of Raleigh’s Modernist architecture, working with owners of Modern homes on their preservation options, including easements, and educating the public on Raleigh’s Modernist architecture legacy.

About J. Myrick Howard:
Myrick Howard and Preservation North Carolina’s revolving fund has protected more than 270 historic properties in 60 counties since 1977. Howard has written numerous articles, including a chapter for an international book on American preservation. Each year he teaches a course on historic preservation planning at UNC-Chapel Hill.  He is the 2006 winner of the AIA Triangle Isosceles Award.

About Sig Hutchinson:
Sig Hutchingson has worked to promote not only Raleigh’s world-class greenway sytem but also multi-modal transportation options such as connecting sidewalks, bike lanes and greenways to an expanded bus and light rail system. Hutchinson successfully led four bond referendums totaling more than $140 million in Wake County for open space and in the City of Raleigh for parks and greenways.

About Triangle Modernist Houses:
TMH is the website for Triangle Modernist Archives, Inc., an award-winning nonprofit founded by George Smart in 2007 that preserves, advocates, and builds community around modernist residential design in the Triangle area of North Carolina. Through its online archive and frequent tours of modernist houses in the area, TMA spotlights the beauty and value of modernist residential design and the need for celebrating and preserving the area’s finest examples.