Morgan, who studied under Walter Gropius at Harvard in the early 1950’s, benefited as well from the tutelage of Josep Lluis Sert, a protégé of Le Courbusier.  A former employee to Paul Rudolph, Morgan’s humble beginnings included sweeping the floors and running errands for the Modernist master. However, it wasn’t long before he had become the manager of Rudolph’s Cambridge office, assisting with the details of major projects like the Jewett Art Center at Wellesley College and US Embassy in Jordan.

With 2010 marking his 50th anniversary founding his practice, Morgan is the recipient of more than 100 architectural awards, with his firm, William Morgan Architects, having built more than 200 sites.  The author of five books on the comprehensive study of indigenous architecture, Morgan schooled himself to be an archeologist—possessing a formidable knowledge of landscape, terrain, elevation and acclimation—building green decades before LEED certification was ever imagined. Yet for all of his remarkable, ground-breaking achievements—his breath-taking, far-reaching oeuvre–Morgan seems yet to be universally recognized as an indispensable figure in the “Parthenon” of Modernist building.

1962 – The Alvin D. and Harriett L. James House, 89 Dewees Avenue, Atlantic Beach FL. Commissioned 1960. 1960 sf. Two-story, constructed of concrete block walls supporting wood plank and beam roof. Cantilevered stairs from foyer to second floor.  Varied arrangements of floor-to-ceiling glass windows and doors on both floors. Master bedroom has a cable suspended balcony. Owned by Jessica Goldman since at least 2013.

1966 -The Dan H. Williamson House, Ponte Vedra Beach FL. 4140 sf.
Commissioned 1964.  Model by Peter Miller. Featured in Architectural Record May 1964.

1965 – The George M. Goodloe House, Ponte Vedra Beach FL. Concrete columns support the wood-frame platforms of this multi-storied house. Fiberglass reinforced resin encapsulates exterior plywood walls and roofs, with painted gypsum interior walls and ceilings. 2,075 sf.

1965 – The Rawls House, 2047 University Boulevard, Jacksonville FL.
Sold to William and Janice McClure.

1965 – The Seaplace Apartments, 901 Ocean Boulevard, Atlantic Beach, FL. An oceanfront property containing 100 apartments of masonry and frame construction with cedar-paneled cantilevered balconies. Three stories high, with four evenly spaced courtyards. The building measures 520ft x 160ft for a total square footage of 110,000.

1967 – The Hatcher House, 4842 River Basin Drive North, Jacksonville FL. Commissioned 1965. It won the 1967 FAAIA Wood Award, and was featured in the December 1967 Architectural Record, January 1968 Florida Architect, August 1968 Architectural Review, and the 1970 Vacation Homes.  Repossessed in December 2008 by Wachovia Bank which let it deteriorate. Sold in 2009 to Richard and Rebeccah Wolfe in 2009. The restoration was not easy; the owners kept a blog of what happened.

1971 – The Robert G. Stanley House, address unknown, Micanopy FL.  2300 sf.

1972  – The William Morgan House, 1945 Beach Avenue, Atlantic Beach FL. 1,800 sf. Commissioned 1971. Made of timber construction. Two triangular masses meet to form A-frame styled house. Sits partially atop a sand dune, with lower level resting on beach. Rough-sawn interior and exterior cedar siding, with central-entrance stairway. Symmetrical exterior with stepped balconies.  Second photo by Lewis Wadsworth.

1973 – The Maxwell K. Dickinson House, 1199 Beach Avenue, Atlantic Beach FL. Still owned by the Dickinson Trust.

1975 – The Pyramid Condominium, 9500 Coastal Highway, Ocean City MD. Built for John S. Whatley. Sloping in all directions, the structure is all concrete with aluminum framed windows, resulting in an asymmetrical pyramid that silhouettes the shape of a steep dune. 171 one and two bedroom apartments. Viewed from the front, the symmetry of the interlaced stepped balconies can be seen.  250,000 sf. Commissioned 1971.

1975 – The Wayne Thomas House, aka The Hilltop House, Brooksville FL. The Hilltop House embodies functionality and idealism as a man-made structure built both within and above the earth. Cast-in-place concrete with sloped retaining earth berm walls.  Laminated wood beams support low-slung, pyramidal roof made from planked wood. 3,500 sf. Commissioned 1972.

1975 – The William Morgan Duplex, aka the Dune Houses, 1941-43 Beach Avenue, Atlantic Beach FL. Concrete and gunite shell encased in earthen walls, forming a man-made dune covered with grass. Two apartments make up the property. Curvaceous interior walls are part wood, part painted concrete. Each apartment 750 sf. Commissioned 1974.  Sold in 2012 to William Drew and Jennie Malloy.

1976 – The Beach House, Point Vedra Beach FL. Commissioned 1974.  Surrounded by earth berm walls whose gradation slopes to meet the truncated pyramidal roofs of the house. Concrete masonry provides additional wall support. Two-story. Full-height living and dining rooms, with upper level bedrooms as lofts looking over.  Fiberglass insect-screens in aluminum frames acts as sloped-roof ceiling for indoor pool. Hexagonal courtyard provides access to entryway. 2,800 sf.

1979 – The J. C. Dickinson House, aka the Forest House, Gainesville FL. Commissioned 1977.

1982 – The George M. Goodloe Townhouses, 1971 Beach Avenue, Atlantic Beach FL.
Three under one roof.  Commissioned 1979. Sold to Mark S. Howard.

1983 – aka Treehouse, 1970 Beach Avenue, Atlantic Beach FL.  1000 sf.  Commissioned 1979.This project was conceived as a prototype for higher-density residential development. Features thin vertical strips of cedar siding with exposed wood rafters and plank ceiling.  Sold to Mark and Katrina Howard.

1987 – The Grandy House, 1927 Beachside Court, Atlantic Beach FL. Sold to Ronald and Marchant Martin.  3,570 sf. Three-story wood-framed structure on concrete piers.

1994 – The Chapman Root III House, Ormond Beach FL. Two three-story, concrete block towers support second and third floor spaces bridging the towers. Wood-framed floors, walls and roofs; structural glass plate, floor-to-ceiling windows. Swimming pool doubles as a reflecting pool, abutting the ocean shore. 6,500 sf. Commissioned 1989.

1996 – The Lynn Drysdale House, 1769 Ocean Grove Drive, Atlantic Beach FL. Four stories tall, yet small and very vertical. The entirety of the house is lifted into the air by a pair of large concrete towers. Top floor has cantilevered balcony with squat canopy roof.  Commissioned 1995.  Sold to Thomas and Judith Coughlin.

1998 – The Edwards House, 65 19th Street, Atlantic Beach FL.  1707 sf.  Two-story concrete block towers support wood-framed superstructure. Scored concrete black interior, with a large cantilevered upper balcony, providing some shade for driveway beneath.  Commissioned 1997. Sold to Janice Madsen. Sold in 2013 to David and Patricia Sweeney.

1999 – Sea Gardens, Atlantic Beach FL. Owned by Tore-King, Inc. 15 Townhouses. Commissioned 1977.

2000 – The Gregory K. West and Susan Hill House, aka West-Hill House, 57 19th Street, Atlantic Beach FL. 1,487 sf with 533 sf addition.  Commissioned 1993. Concrete block towers support wood-frame superstructure.

2001 – The Margaret S. (Peggy) Cornelius House, 71 19th Street, Atlantic Beach FL. Commissioned 1998. 2,205 sf. Design inspired by 19th century settlers’ houses found in Northern Florida. Metal roofing with shingle siding. Sold to Stephanie Hardman and Karin Raudsep.

2001 – The Roger and Linda Blackburn House, 3047 58th Avenue, Gainesville FL. Fluted concrete towers with latticed berm walls and metal roof on wood frame. 3,700 sf. Commissioned 1994.

2001 – The Christopher Lambertson House, 77 19th Street, Atlantic Beach FL.  2300 sf. Commissioned 1999.  Won an AIA Award.  Sold in 2009 to John D. Lankshear.

2002 – The James J. Conners House, 2397 Ponte Vedra Boulevard, Ponte Vedra Beach FL. 2882 sf. Commissioned 1998. Wood frame with four concrete block towers suspending the second and third floors. Alfresco first floor serves as covered parking. Second floor is flush with towers. Third cantilevers between towers on all four sides, supporting a squat, pitched roof with long eaves. The house essentially has two distinct rooflines—the flat roof of the perimeter towers and the slightly pitched roof of the third floor suspended in between.  Sold in December 2014.

2002 – The Dylan T. Morgan House, 1951 Beach Avenue, Atlantic Beach FL. Designed for one of William Morgan’s sons.  Won an AIAFL Merit Award in 2003. Commissioned 1999. 3639 sf. With the front facing of the home resembling an extruded Greek key.  The building is located adjacent to both William Morgan’s own home and the Dune Houses.  A most extraordinary aspect to the beachside entryway is the suspended-by-metal-thread, cantilevered, floating stairway that hangs from the bottom of the third floor balcony. Sold in September 2013 to Matthew Davis Fleming.

2006 – The Francis and Diane Lott House, aka Sealoft, 4296 Fletcher Avenue, Fernandina Beach FL. It is the signature house of the Amelia Islands. Interior concrete towers support and balance the whole of the wood-frame structure. Frontage faces street, rear faces beach with swimming pool in between, doubling as reflection pool.  Lott is himself an architect, having received a BA degree from Georgia Tech. 5800 sf. Commissioned 2004. Video.

2010 – The Charles (Charlie) Knopf House, Stuart FL. Unsure if built.

Year Unknown – Ocean Forest House, Atlantic Beach FL. Unbuilt.

Year Unknown – The Lagoon House, Jacksonville FL. Unbuilt.




Jim and John Webb were born in Aguascalientes, Mexico.  Their father worked for the Guggenheim family’s American Mines and, according to John Webb’s former wife Dorothy, was killed by the famous Pancho Villa.

According to Jim Webb’s stepson, Archie Kelly, the father died suddenly of appendicitis.  Either way, it is confirmed that his mother moved to Covina CA where they raised turkeys and oranges.  The family later moved to Berkeley and built a homeplace at 36 Tamalpais Road, shown at left.  Photo by Sydnor Elkins.


Jim Webb went to Pomona College then received a BA in architecture from the University of California Berkeley in 1937.  In the Army, he got TB and spent time in an Army hospital in Colorado.  Then he got a MA in City Planning from MIT in 1946.  For a time, he worked for architect William Wurster in California. Wurster created the “Bay Area Style,” an informal modem style of California Ranch that adapted to hilly sites by means of raised basements, with porches, patios, balconies and carports extending the living space out into nature. The post and beam frameworks eliminated the need for loadbearing interior retaining walls and ceilings, thus interiors had flowing spaces and cathedral ceilings.

Jim Webb left California to join the UNC-Chapel Hill’s new City and Regional Planning School in 1947.  He remained on the faculty for 30 years. Webb practiced in Chapel Hill with his brother John until John returned to Berkeley.  He started the firm City Planning and Architecture Associates (CPAA) in the late 1950’s, recruiting Don Stewart as a partner.  Webb left CPAA in the mid-1970’s to practice on his own where he continued until his death.

Significant clusters of Jim and John Webb houses were built in Chapel Hill including Whitehead Circle and Highland Woods.

1995 article on Jim Webb
Highland Woods History
2004 article on Highland Woods

Webb was also involved with site planning for Research Triangle Park, Forest Hills Shopping Center, UNC-Chapel Hill, and Appalachian State University.  Barbara Henderson Kelly, with three young sons from a previous marriage, married Jim Webb in 1957 and they divorced in the 1970’s.  Jim did not remarry.  Kelly died in 2002.

JOHN BRUCE WEBB (1910-1997)

John Webb was a brilliant designer. Like his brother, he attended the University of California at Berkeley.  He met Dorothy Davies (pictured left with Webb and her daughter at their wedding) in Detroit in the early 1950’s when they both worked as architects for Albert Kahn.  After marrying around 1954, they moved to North Carolina for John to practice with Jim.  Later, they moved back to Berkeley and she went to design school at UC-Berkeley.  She taught at the California School of Fine Arts and the Rudolph Schaffer School of Design, where she recalls Frank Lloyd Wright coming to the school to play the piano.  He then worked for John Carl Warnecke.  Dorothy and John divorced, and John moved to Warnecke’s office in Washington. While there, he was the project architect for President John F. Kennedy’s gravesite.  By the late 1960’s, John met a younger man (pictured with Webb, lower left) that would become his life partner.  He put this young man through school and they were together until Webb died.

Webb would later reunite with Dorothy professionally.  By the early 1970’s she had remarried to the internationally known architect Felix Candela.  John came out of retirement to work with them for many years living all over the world, including Athens, Paris, London, and Saudi Arabia, until his second retirement to the family home in Berkeley.

The JFK Gravesite in Washington DC.

1948 – The Thomas M. Stanback House, 531 Dogwood Drive, Chapel Hill.  According to Dail Dixon, Jim Webb was the designer in collaboration with architect Larry Enersen.  Sold to Walter and Anne Hollander sometime before 1974.  Sold in 2006 to Tony Hall.  Renovations by Dixon Weinstein Architects.

1948 – The Maurice Newton House, 814 Old Mill Road, Chapel Hill.  Definitely not a Modernist house, but owner Newton lived there and loved it for almost 50 years.  Sold 1997 to Margaret W. and Thomas Benson Mitchell.

1949 – The Walter and Jean Johnson Spearman House, 418 Whitehead Circle, Chapel Hill.  Sold in 1992 to William Neville and Elizabeth Haskin who still owned as of 2012.  3 bedrooms, 3 baths, 1.7 acres.  Haskin added custom cabinets in the kitchen.  For sale in 2015.

1950 – The Wynn-MacIntyre House, 900 Stagecoach Road, Chapel Hill.  Built for Earl and Rhoda Wynn.  Sold to Alan MacIntyre in 1957 who still lived there as of 2011.

1950 – The Phillip and Lucille Handler Residence, 2529 Perkins Road, Durham.  Sold to John P. and Barbara Boineau in 1970.  Sold to Edward M. and Sylvia G. Arnett in 1980.  Sold in 2001 to Edwin Iverson and Merlise Clyde who still owned it as of 2012.

1950 – The George Watts Hill, Jr. House, 1212 Hill Street, Durham.  Sold in 1967 to Anton and Leopoldina Peterlin.  Sold in 1978 to Joel C. and Christine J. Huber who still owned the property as of 2011.  2474 square feet. the guest cottage was a demonstration house for General Electric, designed by students at the NCSU School of Design under George Matsumoto.  The project was underwritten by the Hills and the house moved to the property in the late 1950’s.  The main house was renovated by Don Stewart in 1975 and again by Jim and John Webb in the late 1980’s.  Bottom right blue photo by former Webb employee William Campbell.

1951 – The Joseph and Pearl P. Morrison House, 407 Whitehead Circle, Chapel Hill.  The Morrisons lived there for well over 50 years.  Sold in 2010 to Katie McKenna and Joshua Higgins.

1951 – The Corda and Walter Henry Hartung House, 413 Gooseneck Road, Chapel Hill.  Sold in 1956 to Anna Wray Cotterill.  Sold in 2004 to Michael and Marie White.

1951 – The Richard and Francis Calhoun House was at 104 and 106 Pine Lane, Chapel Hill.  The original house, 104, was a split level with a side-gable roof, concrete block lower level, wood shake walls on the upper level, and an entrance set in the middle level with tall transoms and an adjacent casement window with glazing below. At the left side was a screen porch. Ellington & Sparrow was the contractor.

Jim Webb added a separate 2-story building at the left side in 1953, containing one room on each level and a screened porch elevated on metal posts.  This building became 106 Pine Lane.  These two houses were destroyed in December 2006 and replaced by two newer 4000 sf houses at $1.5M each.   Above photo is the new 104 Pine Lane, taken by Leilani Carter.

1952 – The Kenneth and Frances Brinkhous Residence, 524 Dogwood Drive, Chapel Hill.  About 7 acres.  Commissioned in 1950.  Brinkhous was the founder of the cure for hemophilia.  There is a building named after him at UNC Chapel Hill.  Sold in 2003 to David B. Thomas, a pathologist that studied under Dr. Brinkhous and was a personal friend of Jim Webb.  8.1 acres.  Landscape design by Lewis Clarke.  Second photo by Dail Dixon.  Bottom two photos by Kyle Ketchel.  The house was vacant and on and off the market from 2006 to 2012.  Sold in 2012 to Julie and Sean Siler.

1952 – The Maurice E. and Loretta Sarti Newton Residence, 814 Old Mill Road, Chapel Hill.  Not a Modernist house.  Sold in 1997 to Thomas Benson Mitchell and Margaret W. Mitchell.

1952 – The Louis and Thelma Thurstone House, 400 Laurel Hill Road, Chapel Hill, an L-shaped house.  An two-car carport extends from the right side and is connected by a screen porch.  Sold in 1980 to Clarence E. and Jane Whitefield.  Sold in 2000 to Phillip J. and Susan L. Lyons who still owned it as of 2012.  Photos by Dave Potter.

1952 – The  P. H. Sanders House, 32 Mount Bolus Road, Chapel Hill. Designed by Jim Webb.  Sold  in 2011 to David Matesanz and Matthew Siedoff.  Sold in 2014 to Deanna I. Moore.

1952 – The Lowell and Fern Ashby Residence, 902 Stagecoach Road, Chapel Hill.  Sold in 1965 to Albert and Kate Pollard.  Sold in 1969 to Jean Grote Yates.  Sold in 1974 to Roberta S. Brown.  Sold in 1980 to Jonathan P. and Ada Sher.  Sold in 1984 to Peter and Carolyn Curtis. Lucy Carol Davis designed a foyer/bedroom/bath in 1991 in the same style as Webb. Sold in 1998 to Barry Howard and Keith Poteat who still owned it as of 2012.  Color photo by Dail Dixon.

About 1952 – The Jerome and Henritte Union Residence, 1610 Raeford Road, Fayetteville NC.  Designed by Webb draftsman Mason Hicks and according to Dan MacMillan, John Webb.  When Jerome Union died, it was given to his son Bradley Union in 1983.  Upon Bradley Union’s death in 2006, it was given to Geoffrey and Rachel Union; Lauri Union and Stanley Rosenzweig.  Sold in 2006 to Antek F. Skoniecki.  Has been remodeled.

1952 – The William and Julia Ivey Residence, 711 Greenwood Road, Chapel Hill.  Sold to Barbara H. Cryer.  Renovated by architect Gary GIles in the early 1970’s.  Sold in 1998 to James and Debra Cryer who still owned it as of 2012.  Addition in 2009 designed by the owners, built by Mike Morrison.  Color photo by Dail Dixon.

1953 – The Norman Eliason House, 103 Roundhill Road, Chapel Hill.  A ranch with side-gable roof, vertical wood siding, metal vertical casement windows, a rear chimney, and a large rear patio.  Webb later enclosed the original screen porch at the right as a dining room and added a carport. At the left end is a 2-bedroom addition made by Webb about 1980. The house faces to the rear, with a deck overlooking the rear yard. Sold to Mary Jane Penniall Dale in 1988.  As of 2011 owned by Christopher Penniall and Susan Wilson. For sale in 2015.  Photos by Dave Potter.

1953 – The Kunkle Residence, 2525 Perkins Road, Durham. Jim Webb also designed an addition in the late 50s.  Kunkle sold to the Blums in 1961 who sold to Stephen and Katrina Dooda in 2005.  The Dooda’s added on a garage and walk-in closet addition designed by Ellen Cassilly in 2007.

1953 – The Ruth Price House, 4 Briar Bridge Lane, Chapel Hill.  Jim Webb designed this for Price but bought it himself in 1979 and lived there until his death.  Currently owned by Jim Webb’s estate, a philanthropy set up to support the UNC Planning School.  Webb’s stepson Archie lives there as of 2011.  Bottom photo by Dail Dixon.

1953 – The William and Ida Friday House, 412 Whitehead Circle, Chapel Hill.  Sold in 1957 to JR and Elaine Hamrick.  Sold in 1962 to Frank Decazenove.  Sold in 2003 to Ellen S. Burgin and Peter B. Fair. Sold in 2006 to Matthew Maciejewski and Donna Cook.  Top photo by Nicole Alvarez.

1953 – The Drew House, aka the Better Homes and Gardens House, 511 Transylvania Avenue, Raleigh.  Country Club Hills developer Ed Richards encouraged builder Thomas Wilson to construct it as one of many BH&G houses nationwide (see article).  Webb in this case modified the BH&G plan but was not the original architect.

Sold to Newton Homes in late 1953.  Sold in 1954 to Thomas Floyd Drew and Katherine Conn Drew.  Sold in 1967 to Nan Russell Sanderson and Jesse O. Sanderson.  Sold in 1985 to Salah and Amina Elmaghraby.  Sold in 1994 to landscape architects Dennis and Sharon Bell Glazener.  They added a pool and enclosed the carport to make an office.  Sold in 2012 to Marjorie F. Smith, whose son did a renovation and reopened the carport. Last two photos by Leilani Carter.

1954 – 2742 Circle Drive, Durham.  Sold to Redford and Virginia Williams.  Sold in 1984 to Elwood Albert Linney and Susan Diane Donerly.  Sold in 1994 to Mark and Nancy Handler who still owned it as of 2012.

1954 – The Thomas H. (Tom) and Anna Darden House, 124 Fern Lane, Chapel Hill.  Sold to John and Alice Cross in 1985.  Renovations by Don Stewart in 1990 which added a butterfly roof.  Sold in 1999 to Malcolm and Jennie Kendall.  Sold in 2004 to Burton and Kathleen (Kay) Goldstein.  Renovations by Dixon Weinstein Architects.  Bottom photo by Dail Dixon.  Sold in 2013 to Rawley H. Fuller IV.

1955 – The Louis and Mary Welt Residence, 614 Morgan Creek Road, Chapel Hill.  Sold in 1972 to Richard and Mayhew Bear.  Sold to Marguerite I. Most in 1985.  Sold in 1999 to landscape architect Laura Moore and her husband Robert Moore who still owned it as of 2012. Photos by Laura Moore.

1955 – The George and Alice Welsh Residence, 377 Tenney Circle, Chapel Hill. Designed by Jim Webb in association with California modernist architect Cliff May.  Sold to David and Margaret Brunn in 1971.  Sold to Richard Drake Lamberton in 1984.  Sold in 1991 to Susan Gravely and Bill Ross who still owned it as of 2012.   5100 square feet.  Renovated by Jon Condoret and contractor Stan Stutts.

1956 – The Christine and Robert Dickens House, 2717 Circle Drive, Durham.  Commissioned 1956.  Designed with Don Stewart.  Sold in 1997 to Nancy Austin.  Sold in 2003 to David and Jennifer Martin Mitchell.  Sold in 2014 to Karen A. and Christopher M. Carmody.

1956 – The Paul and Bettie Bissette House, 1000 Salem Street, Wilson NC.  Photo by Dana Knight.  Source:  Barry Lamm, architect in Wilson.

1957 – The Robert and Josie Stipe House, 1022 Highland Woods, Chapel Hill. Sold in 1972 to Charles Swisher.  Sold in 1975 to Nortin M. and Carol Hadler who still owned it as of 2015. According to John Schwab, Stipe always regretted selling it.  Renovations and additions by Dixon Weinstein Architects.

1957 – The Douglas and Jane H. Humm Residence, 1439 Smith Level Road, Chapel Hill NC. 14 largely wooded acres with a spring fed pond.  The house Split level ranch with 5000 square feet, 3500 of them finished and heated on two floors.  Technically 4 bedrooms, although one of these was designed to be a study. It has a darkroom and a shop area downstairs in addition to a large multipurpose room. As of 2011 occupied by their son Alan Humm and his wife Jean Humm.  Photos by Leilani Carter.

1957 – The Kai and Mary Jurgenson House, 410 Whitehead Circle, Chapel Hill.  The project architect was Don Stewart.  Won an AIANC Award in 1957.  Commissioned 1956.  Sold to David Walker.  Sold in 1987 to Dinitia Hutcheson.  Sold in 2000 to Jeffrey Tucker.  Bell Cline Architects did a renovation in 2001.  Sold in 2001 to James and Paula Wald.  Sold in 2009 to James K. Bartram.  Renovated in 2013 by Aggie Crews.  Bottom photos by Allison Steele.

1957 – The Donald R. and Margie R. Matthews Residence, 421 Brookside Drive, Chapel Hill.  2250 square feet.  1.33 acres.  Sold in 1961 to Harold R. and Anne E. Hall.  Sold to Rudolf and Ruth Koster in 1989.  Renovation in 1990’s.  Sold in 1997 to Mark and Lorea Civiok.  Sold in 2010 to Andrea and Nicholas Verykoukis.

1957 – The Jud and Persis Van Wyk House, 1020 Highland Woods, Chapel Hill.  Sold in 2004 to Lex and Ann Alexander.  Renovated in 2006 by designer John Lindsey.  Bottom photo by Nicole Alvarez.

1957 – The Robert and Elizabeth Sager House, aka the Sager/Parker House, 1010 Highland Woods, Chapel Hill.  Sold in 1967 to John and Peg Parker.  Bottom photo by Dail Dixon.  Sold in 2012 to  Joseph James Clancy Jr.

1957 – The J. Alex and Betty McMahon House, 419 Whitehead Circle, Chapel Hill.  1850 square feet.  Sold to William A. Olsen, Jr., in 1961.  Sold in 1964 to Virginia Viser Spence.  Sold to Robert and Elena Watson in 1973. Sold to William and Nancy Hooke in 1988.  Sold to Richard and Mildred Robinson in 1992. Sold in 1999 to Aravinda DeSilva and Amy Brett Weil.  Sold in 2009 to Thomas W. Mansfield and Catherine Suffredini. Remodeling by Scott McLean Builders. Sold in 2012 to Anna and Alfred Kang.

1957 – The Fred and Josephine Weedon House, 100 Pine Lane, Chapel Hill.  Built on a slope, with an exposed basement at the rear, with wood shingle siding, sliding windows, an interior concrete block chimney, and a recessed entrance with an adjacent jalousie window. A deck and rear bedroom balcony was added in 1981. Ellington & Sparrow was the contractor. The Weedons’ daughter, Josie Stipe, was deeded the house in 1972 and is the owner as of 2011.  Bottom photo by Dail Dixon.

1957 – The Henry S. and Gertrude Mitchell Willis Residence I, 357 Tenney Circle, Chapel Hill.  Sold in 1980 to Everett K. and Elizabeth Owen Wilson.  Sold in 2003 to Nancy Hansen.  2058 square feet, 3 bedrooms and 2-1/2 bathrooms.  Sold in 2009 to Frank Baumgartner.  Sold in 2012 to Robert Pungello Jr.

1957 – The Henry S. and Gertrude Mitchell Willis Residence II, 355 Tenney Circle, Chapel Hill. Sold in 1960 to Gertrude’s mother Charlotte B. Mitchell.  Sold in 1974 back to Henry S. and Gertrude Mitchell Willis, presumably when Charlotte died. Sold in 1984 to Everett K. and Elizabeth Owen Wilson.  Sold in 1993 to Leslie Jarrett Lawler.  Sold in 2007 to Nancy Hansen.  1508 square feet, 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms.   Sold in 2009 to Frank Baumgartner.  Sold in 2012 to Robert Pungello Jr.

1957 – 1028 Highland Woods Road, Chapel Hill.  Built by Bob and Molly Agger.  Sold to Andrew M. Scott.  Sold in 2006 to Gunella Luboff.  Sold in 2014 to Susannah M. and Timothy J. Shearer.

1957 – The Harvey L. and Lillian K. Smith House, 428 Whitehead, Chapel Hill.  Deeded to Lillian Smith.  Deeded to Robert Smith.  Sold in 2012 to Jane Bailey and James Kniveton Bartram.

1958 – The John and Ruth Schwab House, 1030 Highland Woods Road, Chapel Hill.  Don Stewart was the primary architect. Stewart did additions in 1965 and again in 1979.   Sold in 2007 to Kristen Huff and Daniel Delaney.  Sold in 2009 to Richard Harrill and Katherine Jamieson.

1958 – The Nathan Rodman Residence, 2 Bartram Drive, Chapel Hill.  Photo by Dail Dixon.  Sold in 1970 to Tom and Carol Jean Baer who still owned it as of 2012.  Transferred to Carol Jean Baer.

1958 – The Donald Hayman House, 1038 Highland Woods Drive, Chapel Hill.
2075 square feet.  As of 2011 still owned by Hayman.

1958 – The Paul H. and Mary Kestler Clyde Residence, 1211 Woodburn Road, Durham.  Sold to Nicholas and Carol Gillham in 1968.  The addition was designed by Donald Stewart.  Sold to Richard and Meredith Brunel in 2002.  Sold to Jeffrey Smith and Gregory Orlando in 2007.  1806 square feet.  Photos by Meredith Brunel.

1959 – The Harry R. and Lucinda Lee Bixler Residence, 1111 Sourwood Circle, Chapel Hill.  Sold in 1984 to Ronald Batson.  Sold in 1993 to David Honigmann and Betty Maultsby.  Photos by George Smart.

1960 – The EK Powe Jr. House, 81 Beverly Drive, Durham.  Sold to Oliver and Judith Charlton in 1977.  Sold in 1980 to Duncan and Sandra Yaggy.  Sold in 1985 to Michael Allen Gillespie and Nancy S. Henley who still owned it as of 2012.  Photo by George Smart.

1960 – The Bill and Lois Terrill Residence, 1027 Highland Woods Road, Chapel Hill.  Sold to William Jackson Stewart in 1989.  Sold in 2001 to Joy Javits Stewart. Sold in 2008 to Rainer Blaesius and Elisabeth (Lila) Schweins.  2160 square feet.

1961 – The Evelyn Lenore Anderson Residence, 46 Cedar Street, Chapel Hill. Sold in 1984 to William R. and Jane Matson.  Sold in 2009 to Joel David Farren.

1962 – The John and Margaret Gulick House, 1029 Highland Woods Road, Chapel Hill.  Sold in 1992 to Fred and Lawanda Hall who still owned it as of 2012.  Renovations and additions by Dail Dixon when he was at Designworks in Carrboro.  Bottom photo by Dail Dixon.

1964 – The Frank and Gertrude Strong Residence I, 211 Markham, Chapel Hill.  The Strongs soon moved to a larger house nearby and rented this one out for decades.  Sold in 1992 to Caroline M. Sherman who still owned it as of 2012.  A 2004 renovation by architect Jay Fulkerson replaced the flat roof but otherwise kept the spirit intact of Webb’s original design.  Photos by Jay Fulkerson.

1965 – The Frank R. and Gertrude Strong Residence II, 100 Tadley Drive, Chapel Hill.  Their heirs, children John W. Strong and Mary Elizabeth Strong Brennan, rented it out from 1998 until 2004.  According to Mary Brennan, Webb supervised the construction of this house but the design came from a plan book.  Sold in 2004 to Patricia (Tricia) Mickelberry and Benjamin Clarke.  Top photo by Nicole Alvarez.

1967 – The Ethel Redney Akin Residence, 414 Lyons, Chapel Hill.  1560 square feet. She was 76 at the time and died shortly after the house was built.  Sold in 1970 to Donald Lewis Madison and Beverly Webster Madison. Sold in 1985 to Brian Whittier who still owned it as of 2012.  Top photo by Nicole Alvarez.  Bottom photo by Lucy Pittman.

1967 – The Pearson and Jeannie Stewart Residence, 112 Glendale Drive, Chapel Hill.  Sold in 2003 to Irene and Pape Gaye.  Features an open kitchen/living room which was renovated by Sophie Piesse and built by Gaye and Kennedy Builders of Hillsborough.  Photos by Seth Tice Lewis.

1971 – 1427 Poinsett Drive, Chapel Hill.  For sale in 2015.

1976 – The Floyd Fried House, 416 Whitehead Circle, Chapel Hill.  3178 square feet on 2 acres.  Built by JP Goforth of Security Building Company. Last two photos by John Goddin. Sold in 2008 to Richard and Kelly Darling.  Kitchen and master bath renovated in 2010.  New HVAC system in 2011.  Sold in 2013 to Heather R. and Jason L. Ross.




Today there are many black architects in North Carolina but before 1970, it was another story and not a nice one.  The field of architecture made choosing that profession very tough for women, but for minorities it was nearly impossible. There were almost none for decades. In 1950 there were only two black architects registered in North Carolina. By 1980 the number increased to less than 4%, only 65 out of a total of 1909. Even by 1993, blacks made up only 7.5% of members of the American Institute of Architects (AIA).

This series profiles the North Carolina pioneers who followed their hearts into architecture despite substantial resistance from both society and industry.

There are no women on this list because there were no female black architects before 1970. In fact, it was not until 1990 that Danita Brown became the first black woman licensed to practice architecture in North Carolina. She was one of the first thirty in the entire United States.  In 1994, Patricia Harris joined that list.

Generous financial support for this project came from:  Mechanics and Farmers Bank; The Michael Okoli Agency; Arthur Clement; The Freelon Group; Cheryl Walker, and Gantt Huberman Architects.


Born in Georgia of slave parents, Delany grew up in Fernandina FL where he went to school and learned brick laying and plastering trades from his father.  In 1881 Delany entered Saint Augustine’s School in Raleigh in theology.  After graduating in 1885, he joined the faculty, remaining there until 1908.  He married Nannie James Logan of Danville, Virginia, another St. Augustine’s faculty member, who taught home economics and domestic science.  The couple had ten children including Sarah Louise and Annie Elizabeth who became famous with their 1993 joint autobiography Having Our Say: The Delany Sisters’ First 100 Years.

Delany joined Raleigh’s Ambrose Episcopal Church, and in June 1889 was ordained a deacon.  Three years later he was ordained as a priest.  He steadily rose in the Episcopal Church hierarchy, becoming Archdeacon in 1908 and Bishop in 1918.  He was a tireless organizer for black education, setting up schools across the state. Because of his education work, Shaw University in Raleigh awarded Delany an honorary doctor of divinity degree in 1911.

Although not formally trained as an architect, Delany designed Saint Augustine’s Chapel in 1895, now the only surviving nineteenth century building on the campus.  He also helped in the design of Saint Agnes Hospital on St. Augustine’s campus in 1909.  This hospital was, through the 1940s, the only black-owned hospital in North Carolina and the only hospital open to black people in eastern North Carolina.  The boxer Jack Johnson died at Saint Agnes in 1946 after an automobile accident.  Although not the main designer, Delany was the on-site architect and construction supervisor.

Adapted from BlackPast, African-American Architects: a Biographical Dictionary, 1865-1945.

JOHN MERRICK (1859–1919)

John Merrick was born a slave in Clinton NC. His white father, the plantation owner’s son, disavowed any responsibility for John, his brother Richard, or his mother Margaret. In 1871 Margaret Merrick left the plantation and moved her family to Chapel Hill to work as a domestic while John worked in the local brickyard and went to school. After six years in Chapel Hill, the family moved to Raleigh and John worked in various construction jobs including the first large buildings at Shaw University. When construction became hard to get, he worked shining shoes in a black barbershop and eventually learned barbering.

In 1880 Merrick married Martha Hunter of Raleigh and they had five children.  He became the favorite barber of Durham industrialist Washington Duke who traveled to Raleigh because of the poor-looking haircuts he got in Durham. Duke persuaded Merrick to relocate to Durham and provide the professional barbering that Duke’s wealthy white colleagues wanted.  Merrick opened in Durham in 1880 with a partner, John Wright, and by 1892 had as many as nine locations.

Merrick began investing in real estate. The profits from his barbershops subsidized his land purchases and the construction of houses for rent. He was his own architect, drayman, foreman, and carpenter. By 1910, he owned 60 houses.

In 1898, he was one of seven founders of North Carolina Mutual and Provident Association, an insurance company. He was President until his death.  Merrick, shown at left along with Dr. Aaron M. Moore and Charles C. Spaulding, built the company into the largest black business in the nation.  As the company expanded into real estate development in 1903, Merrick was North Carolina Mutual’s realtor, architect, and builder.

Further expanding, North Carolina Mutual established Mechanics and Farmers Bank in 1907 as a depository for customer premiums and mortgages. As many banks would not lend to minorities, Mechanics and Farmers filled an huge need in the community.

In 1908, no drug stores were easily accessible black neighborhoods or businesses. Merrick and five other men founded the Bull City Drug Company. The first Bull City Drug store opened near North Carolina Mutual and later a second store opened in Hayti.

In 1910, Merrick designed and supervised the construction of a large Queen Anne-style house with a wraparound porch and polygonal tower for his family at 506 Fayetteville Street, since destroyed.  Also that year, North Carolina Mutual formed a real estate subsidiary, the Merrick-Moore-Spaulding Land Company, building hundreds of low-cost rental houses across southeast Durham up until the 1940s.

Merrick died in 1919.  He is buried in White Rock Baptist Church cemetary in Durham.  In his memory, the Liberty Ship #1990 SS John Merrick was launched into wartime service in 1943 (and scrapped in 1967). The Merrick-Moore Elementary School in Durham was dedicated in 1950.

Sources include:  North Carolina History Project, Spaulding Family History; African American Architects: A Biographical Dictionary 1865-1945.

WILLIAM W. SMITH (1862–1937)

Smith was born in Mecklenburg County where he lived all his life.  With no formal education, Smith appeared in the Charlotte City Directory as a brick mason in the early 1890s and at the end of the decade he was briefly a partner in a brickmaking yard.  By the 1900s, he had emerged as a mason, contractor, and architect — and a leader of Charlotte’s black community. In 1886 he and his wife Keziah were instrumental in founding Grace African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church. In 1902, Smith built a sanctuary for the church at 223 South Brevard Street.  Smith was not the designer, but was the on-site architect. The plans were prepared by Hayden, Wheeler, and Schwend. Just down the street from the church, Smith did the masonry work for North Carolina’s first public library founded for black citizens, the Brevard Street Branch of the Charlotte Public Library (destroyed),

About the same time, Smith began his association with Livingstone College in Salisbury, which was financially supported by the African Methodist Episcopal Zion denomination.  In 1906 Smith designed and built Hood Hall.  It is believed that Smith was the architect for the renovations to Ballard Hall, which was damaged in a 1905 storm. Smith was also the architect and contractor for Goler Hall, the college’s largest building,  a women’s dormitory with ninety sleeping rooms, a dining room, post office, and staff quarters.

The best example of Smith’s design work in Charlotte is the 1922 Mecklenburg Investment Company Building, left, on South Brevard at 3rd Street. The building was funded by a group of black professionals who wanted to rent office space downtown, but were denied by white building owners due to race. The ground floor held shops, the second floor held offices flanking a central corridor, and the third floor held a doctor’s office and a large lodge hall with a coffered wooden ceiling.  Two other commercial buildings that stood near the Mecklenburg Investment Company Building were the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Publishing House (1911) and the Afro-American Mutual Insurance Company building (1911).  Both buildings were two stories tall with massing and lively polychrome that stamped them as Smith designs. They were demolished during the city’s urban renewal activities.  Smith is buried in a mausoleum he designed in Charlotte’s Pinewood Cemetery.

Adapted from NC Architects and Builders, African American Architects: A Biographical Dictionary 1865-1945.


The first professionally trained black architect in the United States was Robert Robinson Taylor, a native of Wilmington NC.  The Taylor family resided at 112 North 8th Street (now destroyed) and Taylor went to high school at the abolitionist American Missionary Association’s Gregory Institute in Wilmington.

Taylor was the first black Architecture student at MIT, graduating in 1892. From 1899-1902 Taylor worked on his own and for the architectural firm of Charles W. Hopkinson in Cleveland OH.   He spent most of his career teaching and designing the buildings on Tuskegee University’s campus, including the original Tuskegee Chapel erected between 1895 and 1898 and The Oaks, built in 1899, home of the Tuskegee University president. In North Carolina, Taylor designed the Carnegie Library in 1906 on Livingstone College’s campus in Salisbury. He retired in 1933 and returned to Wilmington.  He was appointed by the Governor of North Carolina to the Board of Trustees of what is now Fayetteville State University.  He died in 1942 attending services in the Tuskegee Chapel.

Robert Rochon Taylor, his son, became an architect in Chicago.  His granddaughter is Valerie Jarrett, senior advisor to President Obama.


Gaston Alonzo Edwards was the first black architect licensed in North Carolina and the only registered black architect in the state for many years.  According to his granddaughter and biographer, Hazel Edwards, he was born in Belvoir, Chatham County, North Carolina, one of six children of Mary Edwards, a black woman, and William Gaston Snipes, a white farmer. His parents were forced to live as neighbors; state law at the time forbade marriage between races.

When he was 21, Edwards entered what is now North Carolina A&T University in Greensboro, graduating in architecture in 1901. After graduation Edwards took coursework at Cornell.  Edwards moved to Raleigh around the turn of the century where he established the mechanical department at the state school for the Deaf, Dumb, and Blind for black students. Soon after this he joined the faculty at Shaw University to teach and later responsible for the University’s building program.  His Raleigh buildings include Shaw’s Tyler Hall (then the Leonard Medical School Hospital); and the Masonic Building on South Blount Street.

In 1909, Edwards married Catherine Ruth Norris, a music student at Shaw, and they had five children. In 1917 the family moved to Kittrell NC where Edwards became president of Kittrell College. Edwards attained considerable recognition in the state.  In 1912 he was appointed by the Governor of North Carolina as a delegate for the Negro National Educational Congress.

When licensure became mandatory for North Carolina architects in 1915, he became the state’s first registered black architect and was the only one for over 30 years.

In 1929, the family moved to Durham and Edwards ran a small design practice.  His wife founded and was the first chairman of NCCU’s Music Department.  With the onset of the Depression, Edwards re-entered educational employment as principal of the Lyon Park Elementary School and the Whitted Junior High School (later Hillside High School), while continuing to design houses. He was prominent in Durham as a board member of Mechanics and Farmers Bank, Bankers Fire Insurance Company, and what is now the Durham Committee on the Affairs of Black People. The family resided in a house at 1712 Fayetteville Street, left, now part of the NCCU campus.  Both the Edwards are buried in Mount Hope Cemetery in Raleigh along with several of their children.

Adapted from NC Architects and Builders, African American Architects: A Biographical Dictionary 1865-1945.


Pittman was born in Montgomery AL.  In 1892, he enrolled at Tuskegee Institute, finishing in mechanical and architectural drawing in 1897. With financial support from Tuskegee’s, Booker T. Washington, Pittman continued his education at Drexel Institute in Philadelphia with a diploma in architectural drawing in 1900. Returning to Tuskegee Institute as assistant in the Division of Architectural and Mechanical Drawing, he supplied blueprints for several buildings on the Tuskegee campus.

In May 1905 Pittman left Tuskegee for Washington DC as a draftsman in the office of John Anderson Lankford.  Within a year he opened his own office. In the fall of 1906, he entered and won the competition for the design of the Negro Building at the 300th Anniversary Jamestown VA Exposition, the first known federal contract with a black architect.

In 1907 Pittman married Portia Marshall Washington, daughter of Booker T. Washington.  She was a professional pianist who had been educated in Europe and taught music. During these years in DC, Pittman designed several schools and a notable YMCA whose cornerstone was placed in November 1908 by President Theodore Roosevelt.

His practice expanded to NC and TX, and the family moved to Dallas in 1912.  As Dallas’ first black architect, he was initially the toast of the town, gaining a commission for the Knights of Pythias building, an important black social center.  By the 1920’s, however, Pittman was unable to get design work.  He was demanding, eccentric, and ultimately unpopular.  The descent of his brief architecture career was accelerated by a combination of arrogance and personal frustration. Few whites used his services, and that blacks who could afford his services usually took their business to white architects.  A large part of Pittman’s problem may have been his light-colored skin, said Donald Payton, associate researcher for the Dallas Historical Society who helped raise funds to mark Pittman’s unmarked grave in 1985. “The guy looked as white as any white man, yet he was very into issues of race. He suffered the plight fair-skinned blacks have always suffered. He was too white to be accepted by blacks and too black to be accepted by whites.”

The Pittmans separated in 1928 and she moved back to Tuskegee.  In 1931, Pittman turned to publishing to campaign against the hypocrisy of black leaders. He published “Brotherhood Eyes” every Saturday, gathering gossip sent in by correspondents called “the Eyes” across the South.  His constant criticisms both enraged and enthralled the community.  There were unsuccessful local efforts to get rid of Pittman on grounds of libel.  Ultimately, however, he was convicted for sending obscene material, presumably his newspaper, through the mail.  He served two years of a five year sentence at Leavenworth Federal Penitentiary in Kansas.  Portia Pittman helped get him released early through her friendship with Franklin D. Roosevelt’s housekeeper.

Pittman remained in Dallas until his death in 1958 working primarily as a carpenter.  He left a legacy of significant buildings.  In Durham, he designed Avery Auditorium, the Central Dining Hall, a dormitory, the Theology Hall, and the President’s House at what is now NC Central University.  He also designed the 1910 White Rock Baptist Church at 3400 Fayetteville Street in Durham.

Video on Pittman’s early career.

Sources include:  Dallas Times Herald, 12/7/1986, The Pride of Sidney Pittman by Mary Barrineau; Portia: The Life of Portia Washington Pittman by Ruth Ann Stewart;  African American Architects: A Biographical Dictionary 1865-1945.


Lightner was a native of Winsboro SC.  In 1881 the family migrated to North Carolina.  After high school, he played on Shaw University’s first football team in 1906, graduating the following year. By 1909 he completed embalming school in Nashville TN and returned to Raleigh to become the city’s first licensed black mortician.

Lightner was also an architect.  Without a formal education, Lightner designed and constructed his 1907 Raleigh home at 419 South East Street (destroyed), a modified Triple A Craftsman.  By 1911 he founded the Lightner Funeral Home, which remains in the family to this day.  He also designed and constructed commercial Raleigh buildings on East Hargett Street.  He also designed the second version of the Davie Street Presbyterian Church.  In 1919 Lightner designed and built the Lightner Building in the 100 block of East Hargett Street. The mixed-use building contained dental and medical offices, apartments, beauty salons, a barber shop, and a tailoring and dry cleaning business.

Encouraged by that success, he completed the Lightner Arcade and Hotel in 1921 (left photo) in the same block of Hargett Street. The arcade also contained dental and medical offices, a barber shop, a drugstore, the first home of The Carolinian, an amusement emporium, Harris Barber College, a haberdashery, a store, a ballroom, and the first black hotel in the state of North Carolina. The Lightner Arcade and Hotel became the social hub of black society and hosted Duke Ellington, Count Basie, and other big bands.  Lightner designed many houses and buildings in southeast Raleigh including the Capehart House (destroyed, now the site of the Hargett Street YWCA. In Durham he designed the first headquarters for the NC Mutual Life Insurance company at 114 Parrish Street (right photo) in 1922.

Lightner’s son, Clarence Lightner, became well-established as a business, civil rights, and community leader.  He was elected to the Raleigh City Council from 1967 to 1973 and later was elected Raleigh’s first black Mayor.  In 2003 Raleigh announced it would name the new 17-story, 305,000 sf Raleigh Law Enforcement Center in his honor.

Adapted from:  African American Architects: A Biographical Dictionary 1865-1945; Historic Parrish Street


Julian Francis Abele was one of the most prolific architects in America between 1890 and 1920.  He was the eighth of eleven siblings. In 1893 he enrolled at Philadelphia’s Institute for Colored Youth (ICY), founded by the Society of Friends or Quakers in 1852.

In June 1897 Abele graduated from the ICY and his aunt steered Julian toward a career in architecture.  In the fall of 1897, Abele was admitted to the Pennsylvania Museum and School of Industrial Arts, graduating in 1898 with a Certificate in Architectural Design, the first black graduate from that school.

In the fall of 1898 Abele was accepted into the University of Pennsylvania School of Architecture. In 1902 Abele became the first black graduate and only the second in America to earn a degree in architecture, following Robert Robinson Taylor (profile above).  Abele went on to graduate from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in 1903.  By 1906, he was working for Horace Trumbauer transforming the extravagant demands of his mainline Philadelphia, 5th Avenue Manhattan, and Newport clients into huge mansions, glamarous hotels, and awe-inspiring public libraries. By 1908 Abele was senior designer for the office, and was responsible for the “look” of all major buildings. Abele spent his entire forty-four-year career with the Trumbauer firm.  He designed over 200 buildings.

Abele married white Paris émigré musician Marguerite Bulle in 1925. Their marriage unravelled when she had an affair with another musician.  Julian Abele kept the children but did not remarry.  He was known in the community as a staunch Republican, religious but not a church-goer.

James Duke, president of both the American Tobacco Company and Southern Power Company, was one of Trumbauer’s top patrons.  Abele designed Duke’s eighteenth-century 5th Avenue townhouse in 1909.

According to legend, Abele never set foot on Duke University’s campus to avoid the dehumanizing Jim Crow laws in North Carolina.  Despite this, he amazingly designed eleven Georgian-style and thirty-eight Collegiate Gothic-style buildings for the new university from 1925 to 1940. Duke remained a white-only institution until 1961.

However, research Susan Tifft reported in 2005 that Abele’s remote administration of Duke may have not been true. “In the early 1960s, John H. Wheeler, a prominent black banker in Durham told George Esser, then executive director of the North Carolina Fund, that he recalled Abele coming to visit the campus during construction. What’s more, in a 1989 interview, Henry Magaziner, son of Abele’s friend and Penn classmate Louis Magaziner, recalled Abele telling him that a Durham hotel had refused to give him a room during a trip to the University, while accommodating his white associate, William Frank.”

Abele died alone in his Philadelphia row house after suffering a heart attack.

His son Julian Abele, Jr., and his nephew Julian Abele Cook both became architects. Julian Abele Cook studied architecture at Penn with the Class of 1927; two of his grandchildren have continued the family tradition, Susan Cook as an architectural engineer and Peter Cook as an architect.

It was Susan Cook, while a student at Duke University during the 1986 student protests against apartheid in South Africa, who wrote the letter to the student newspaper which made public Julian Abele’s role in the creation of the Duke campus.

Adapted from: African American Architects: A Biographical Dictionary 1865-1945, Penn Archives, Free Library of Philadelphia, Duke Archives.


Moore was born in Rock Hill NC near Wilmington.  Moore’s father was a farm worker and his mother was a homemaker.  There is no data on how Moore escaped the farming life to become an architect or where he received his education.  By 1911 Moore was in Washington DC working for one year as a draftsman for the Supervising Architect’s Office in the US Treasury.  Beginning in 1912, Moore listed himself as an “architect” in Boyd’s Directory of the District of Columbia and had a private practice until 1917. Moore designed a laundry and model home, and constructed several complicated carpentry projects for the National Training School for Women and Girls.  Don Speed Smith Goodloe, the first principal of what is now Bowie State University commissioned Moore to design his 1915 house, which still stands northwest of the campus.

From 1918 to 1919 he was in the Army with the 28th Construction Company Air Services Aeronautics stationed at Langley Field in Virginia. His honorable discharge states that he was thirty years of age when he joined and his occupation was a carpenter. In Washington, he stopped advertising himself as an architect.

In 1920, Moore married Susan Brown.  Her father, William A. Brown, was the proprietor of the Plaza, a popular black restaurant in Wilmington.  Shortly after the wedding, he left Washington and they moved in with his in-laws. They lived at 19 South 12th Street in Wilmington, left, until his death.

From 1922-1938, he is listed variously as an architect, contractor, carpenter, and recreation worker.  Working with brother Joshua, who was also a carpenter, he is credited with designing and building the 1929 Dr. Frank W. Avant house at either 710 or 813 Red Cross Street.  Avant was the first black physician to practice in the state of North Carolina.

According to oral family history, the Moore brothers were responsible for the design and construction of many houses in Wilmington’s Forest Hills neighborhood.  Poor health was perhaps the reason that Moore took an indoor job at the County Recreation Office because he died the next year in Columbia SC.

Adapted from: African American Architects: A Biographical Dictionary 1865-1945.


A native Washingtonian, Robinson graduated in 1916 from the M Street High School.  He studied at the Philadelphia School of Industrial Arts, leaving in 1917.  From there he went into the Army, serving in France during WWI. Robinson was in Paris for the Armistice and was so profoundly impressed by the architecture that upon returning home in 1919 he transferred to the architecture program at the University of Pennsylvania.  During the summers of 1921 and 1922, while working as a draftsman for Vertner Woodson Tandy in Harlem, Robinson met Paul B. LaVelle, a friend of Tandy’s and practicing architect and Professor of Architecture at Columbia University. LaVelle assisted Robinson’s transfer to Columbia in 1922 and employed him as an architectural draftsman from 1922 to 1924.

Prior to receiving his BA in Architecture from Columbia in 1924, Robinson began a long relationship with Howard University teaching at its new School of Architecture.  Subsequently, Robinson served as instructor an Chair until 1937.  He also designed eleven Howard buildings that helped establish a distinct Modernist feel to the campus.

Robinson’s significant buildings include the Langston Terrace Dwellings, left, built with architect Paul Williams in 1936 and considered the first public black housing project.  He drew a number of residences for fellow faculty at Howard University, including the Nobel Peace Prize winner Ralph Bunche and Rayford Logan. Both residences are located in the Brookland neighborhood of Washington DC.

Another highly significant project was the Tuskegee Army Air Field, the first defense contract given to a black person.

When Robinson received his MA in 1931, he and his new white wife, Helena Rooks Robinson, embarked on an eighteen-month leave of absence touring Europe as a Kinne Fellow.  From Berlin, Robinson attended the Ausland Insitute and traveled extensively to examine and photograph post-WWI construction techniques and government-sponsored housing solutions.  He went frequently to Paris and toured the 1931 exposition.  Robinson returned home to Washington with a comprehensive understanding of housing solutions and resumed teaching at Howard University in 1932.

His desire to apply European low-cost housing efforts to the benefit of black Americans led to a second leave of absence from Howard University and employment by the Public Works Administration in 1935 as chief architect.  He served on the National Capital Planning Commission from 1950 to 1955 and was director of the Washington Housing Association. He was one of DC’s most prolific and successful black architects of the first half of the twentieth century.  In North Carolina, he designed the Student Union, Harris Dormitory, Moore Faculty House, and Varrick Auditorium for Livingstone College in Salisbury.

Adapted from:  African American Architects: A Biographical Dictionary 1865-1945; Wikipedia.


Dykes was born in Gadsden AL. Around 1911, the Dykes family relocated to Newport TN where DeWitt went to school and became a brick mason by age fourteen. His interest in masonry led to a desire to become an architect. His father was skeptical that his son could earn a living as an architect because of racial discrimination by white individuals and institutions and the undependable support of black individuals and institutions.

Dykes instead chose the ministry as a profession.  From 1919 to 1926, Dykes studied in the pre-college division of Morristown Normal & Industrial College in Morristown TN.  He then entered Clark University in Atlanta, receiving an artrius bachelor’s degree in 1930. During his junior and senior years at Clark University, Dykes studied at Gammon Theological Seminary in Atlanta, from which he received a Bachelor of Divinity degree in 1931. On a scholarship, Dykes entered the graduate program at Boston University School of Theology and earned a sacred theology Masters in 1932. While he was studying to become a minister, Dykes earned money as a brick mason.

From 1932 to 1954, Dykes was the pastor of churches in the East Tennessee Annual Conference of the Methodist church. Starting in 1954, Dykes worked as an administrator for the United Methodist denomination. He became a staff member of the Division of Missions from 1956 to 1968.  Dykes was responsible for determining the financial feasibility of constructing Methodist churches, evaluating building sites, analyzing Building and Zoning Codes, performing design reviews, supervising construction, and administering payment draws. Because Dykes was not registered, Dykes submitted floor plans that he had prepared to the director of the Department of Architecture, Norman G. Byar, who was a licensed architect in the Philadelphia office of the Division of Missions. During his years with the Division of Missions, Dykes designed seventy-two Methodist churches and other religious buildings, as well as a community fire hall in Frakes, Kentucky.Independent of the Methodist church, Dykes designed six churches under the license of Knoxville engineer Milo C. Fear.

In 1960 Dykes took courses in architecture from the International Correspondence School of Scranton, Pennsylvania, and received a certificate of completion in 1965. In 1968 Dykes took the oral part of the examination to become a registered architect. A year later, he passed the written portion and became a registered architect in the state of Tennessee in 1970.  That same year he was accepted into the AIA.  Dykes practiced from a home office on Dandridge Avenue in Knoxville from 1970 to 1976. He moved his practice to several office buildings from 1976 to 1986, occasionally apprenticing architectural students from the University of Tennessee. He designed dozens of mostly religious buildings all over the south, including three in Greensboro:  Bass Chapel Methodist Church Education Building (destroyed); Laughlin Memorial Methodist Church; and the Mount Tabor Methodist Church Education Building.

Adapted from:  African American Architects: A Biographical Dictionary 1865-1945; Historic Parrish Street


Livas was born in Hot Springs AR.  In 1916 his father moved the family to Springfield OH and he attended Woodward Elementary until 1922. His mother died when he was in second grade and his father remarried his piano teacher. The family then moved to Paris KY where Henry attended Western Junior High School, graduated in 1929.  In 1935 he graduated from Hampton Institute with a BS degree.

From 1936 to 1937, Livas was employed by Berry Construction Company in Durham NC, working on a housing project.  He married Cocheeys Smith of Durham in 1940 and they had one son, Henry Jr.From 1937 to 1941, Livas taught at Arkansas Mechanical & Normal College in Pine Bluff AK and was superintendent of buildings and grounds. From 1942 to 1943, he was a civilian teacher at the U.S. Army Engineering School affiliated with Virginia State College in Ettrick.

In July 1944, he was enrolled at the Pennsylvania State College School of Engineering, where he earned an MS in architectural engineering with a minor in Architecture.  His thesis topic was “Building Code Requirements for Structures Housing Selected Mixed Occupancies,” which played to his engineering strengths instead of architectural design. Livas returned to Hampton in 1945 as a newly minted associate professor and taught for seven years.  He was active in campus life as well, starting a choir.  In 1952 he opened Livas & Associates in Hampton VA and simultaneously in Burgaw NC where he maintained a second home.

Rejected by the Virginia AIA in 1950 due to race, he applied and was accepted in by the AIA of Washington DC.  He was licensed in NC, VA, MO, and DC.  His office has been in business for 55+ years as the Livas Group in Norfolk VA.

Adapted from: African American Architects: A Biographical Dictionary 1865-1945.


Grandy was born in Windsor NC in a family with 16 brothers and sisters.  They raised cotton, corn, soybeans, and a garden grown from seeds purchased mail-order from Sears.  Encouraged by his father and mother, J.W.R. would later expand on his agricultural upbringing to study horticulture and landscape architecture.  After his father died, Grandy graduated from the public schools of Bertie County and went on to attend NC A&T University, earning a BS in Horticulture in 1940.   He and a few classmates opened the first black-owned floral shop in Greensboro around 1939.

Grandy pursued graduate school in landscape architecture at Cornell University between 1940 and 1942 while working as a chef for several white-only fraternities on campus.  Before graduating, he had to return home to save the family farm, threatened with foreclosure. He was successful and kept the farm in the family for another generation.  With an interest in teaching, Grandy obtained a faculty position at Southern University School of Architecture in Baton Rouge LA teaching horticulture. After a year,  he returned to teach at NC A&T and taught horticulture and landscape architecture design until his retirement forty-two years later.  By 1975 Grandy had become Superintendent of Grounds at NC A&T University.  He led the University to become the first black campus to earn accreditation for its undergraduate program in landscape architecture.  Grandy was the landscape archtiect for the Kenneth Lee House designed by Blue Jenkins.

Adapted from African-American Architects: a Biographical Dictionary, 1865-1945.

FLOYD A. MAYFIELD (1898-1975)

Mayfield grew up in Lake Providence LA.  He graduated from Howard University with post-grad work at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. In 1930, Mayfield was head of the Contracting and Building Department of NC A&T in the College of Architecture and Engineering.  In 1941, he headed the Department of Architecture, where he stayed until 1947 and went into private practice.  He was one of the first black candidates for Greensboro City Council.  His buildings include the Skating Rink on West Lee Street, the Maurice Lytell House on Benbow Road (photo below), and the York Home on Young Estate.

GERARD E. GRAY, AIA (1919-2001)

Gray was born in Cheraw SC and graduated from A&T in 1942 with honors. He served in the US Army during WWII as a commissioned officer in the Army Corps of Engineers. His unit saw action in Africa, Europe, and the South Pacific and later participated in the liberation of the Philippine Islands. Mr. Gray also served in the  Army Corps during the Korean War.  He received his Master’s Degree in Architectural Engineering from the University of Illinois and conducted post-graduate studies at Penn State, the Universities of Illinois and Colorado, Michigan Tech and the US Navy Civil Engineering School.  His professional career included serving as Associate Professor and Full Professor of Architectural Engineering at NC A&T from 1942 to 1974. He also worked occasionally with Blue Jenkins on projects.  From 1974 to 1981, he served as Director of NC A&T’s Physical Plant. In 1982, he left to serve as VP and Director of Physical Plant at Prairie View A&M where he retired in 1984. Upon retirement, Gray moved to Philadelphia, where he died in 2001. There is an endowed scholarship in his name at NC A&T.

More on Gray’s houses.

Sources include:  1970 AIA Directory, NC A&T University Ayantee Yearbook, Major Sanders.


Streat was born in Clover VA and spent his childhood on the campus of Saint Paul’s College in Lawrenceville VA where his parents William A.Streat Sr. and Marie Green Streat were faculty. Streat completed Saint Paul’s high school in 1937 and received a BS in Building from what is now Hampton University in 1941. During World War II, Streat served in the U.S. Corps of Engineers and in the Army Air Corps with the 99th U.S. Pursuit Squadron, the legendary “Tuskegee Airmen.” He earned a BS in Architecture from the University of Illinois in 1948 and an MS in Architectural Engineering from MIT in 1949. Streat completed additional study in civil engineering at Duke University, the University of California at Berkeley; architectural criticism at Harvard University/MIT, and city and regional planning at Columbia University.

From 1950 to 1952, he was Structural Consultant for Edward Loewenstein in Greensboro. In 1951, Streat married Louise Guenveur of Charleston SC who was professor and chair of the Department of Home Economics at Bennett College in Greensboro. In 1952 he became the second black architect licensed to practice in North Carolina (Gaston Alonzo Edwards was the first). Streat spent the summer of 1957 at Columbia University in City Planning and Architectural History. He travelled extensively, with visits to Mexico City in 1958 and Portugal, Gibraltar, Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, France, England in 1967.

Streat had a long career in academia.  He was Professor and Chair of the Architectural Engineering Department at NCA&T University in Greensboro from 1949 until retirement. The department grew from twenty students to 200 under his leadership and included a tenfold increase in faculty and the addition of a master’s program in architectural engineering.  He applied for membership in the all-white AIA North Carolina in 1961 and was accepted, although not without protest from several white members.

After retirement from teaching in 1985, he continued a limited architectural practice and became actively involved with his wife as a benefactor to the United Negro College Fund, Saint Paul’s College, Hampton University, and NCA&T. Since her husband’s death, Louise Streat endowed scholarships in his name at NCA&T, Saint Paul’s College, and Bennett College.

More on Streat and his houses.

Adapted from African American Architects: A Biographical Dictionary 1865-1945; CRS Archives.


Jenkins was born in Raleigh.  He graduated from Washington High School and served in the Army Corps of Engineers from 1943 to 1946.  He married Gladys Rand in 1945 and they had one daughter, Miltrine.  Following the Army, he entered NC A&T University and earned a BS degree in architectural engineering with high honors in 1949.

That year, Edward Loewenstein hired Jenkins as his firm’s first black architect. In 1953, Jenkins was the third black architect to be registered in North Carolina.  Under Loewenstein, among many other projects, Jenkins served as design architect for the Dudley High School gymnasium in Greensboro, innovative because of its intersecting roof arches and many windows.

In 1962 Jenkins left Loewenstein and opened his own practice with many projects at NC A&T,  including the football stadium and the Ronald McNair School of Engineering (with J. Hyatt Hammond Associates).  He also designed the NCCU Law School Building.  In 1972 he received the Outstanding Achievement Award from the NC A&T School of Engineering.  In 1975 Jenkins was appointed to the North Carolina Board of Architecture.

More on Jenkins and his houses.

Adapted from: African American Architects: A Biographical Dictionary 1865-1945.

WILLIAM GUPPLE (1923-2002)

As a boy, Gupple drew constantly and always dreamed of becoming an architect.  He graduated from NC A&T University and was hired by Edward Loewenstein, a white architect in Greensboro.  This made Gupple the second black architect to be hired by a white firm.  Blue Jenkins, who also was hired by Loewenstein, was the first.  Gupple worked there until leaving for New York City in the early 1960’s.  For the next 37 years, he worked for several design firms plus American Home Products.  He moved back to Greensboro in 1997 and retired.


Merritt was born in Elizabeth City NC. He served in the Army during WWII as a First Lieutenant. Upon release he earned a degree in Architecture from Hampton University in 1949.  He worked for Ed Loewenstein in Greensboro for a few years, then when that firm’s work slowed he was loaned to Voorhees and Everhart in High Point.  This is according to Ruth Summey who worked with Merritt at the latter firm.  The photo is from a Voorhees and Everhart office picture in 1954.  After a few years on his own in High Point, Merritt left for Michigan.

Merritt was the first black architect in Lansing MI.  He worked for the City of Lansing and the State of Michigan for over fifty years.  He also had a private practice called Omega Designs and was a Lector and Eucharistic Minister at Holy Cross Catholic Church.


Gravely grew up in Reidsville NC where his father and grandfather were contractors.  Frequently they got design requests and during high school, Gravely drew up simple plans which the company would then build.  In 1955, he entered Architecture at Howard University, finishing in 1959.

After eight months in the military he returned to NC and worked for his father until a position came open with the Greensboro architecture firm Loewenstein Atkinson.  They were the most progressive in the state for hiring minorities.  When Gravely joined, Ed Loewenstein already had two black architects, Willie Edward Jenkins and William Gupple. Gravely took Gupple’s position when the latter left for New York in 1961.

Gravely recalls, “The AIA was very supportive of black architects.  However, there was a white group called Greensboro Registered Architects and they did not want black members.”  Eventually the group admitted him and a few years later it disbanded.

Gravely opened his own firm in 1967 and over the years amassed a portfolio of over 800 projects, including 100 churches and the NC A&T Library.  He was the original architect for Greensboro’s International Civil Rights Museum which was completed by the Freelon Group.  He continues in practice in Greensboro.

More on Gravely and his houses.


Sanders was born in Concord NC.  He started studying Architectural Engineering at NC A&T University in 1961 and worked as a bottle inspector for Sundrop while in school.  Later, he worked for Blue Jenkins starting in 1966, starting a long association with the firm. Contrary to some accounts, he never worked for Ed Loewenstein.

Graduating from NC A&T in 1971, he continued to work for Jenkins through 1978.  He moved to Wisconsin and worked for American Medical Buildings from 1978 to 1980 and for Shephard Legan Aldrian from 1980 to 1982 before again returning to Jenkins’ firm from 1982 to 1986.

Sanders broke off to start his own company in 1986 which continue today.  Currently he is President of Quality Housing Corporation in Greensboro, specializing in passive solar and low-cost energy solutions using SIP’s – structurally insulated panels, a continuous core of energy-efficient rigid foam insulation laminated between two layers of structural board.

More on Sanders and his houses.


Gantt grew up in Charleston SC, graduating from Burke High School second in his class.  His father was a carpenter, plus an early talent for drawing led to Gantt’s choice of a career architecture.  After attending Iowa State University 1960-1962, he was repeatedly denied admission into Clemson University’s Architecture program.  After exhausting all administrative channels, he took Clemson to court on charges of discrimination and won, gaining admission and graduating in 1965.

From 1965 to 1968, he interned at Odell in Charlotte, the first black architect the firm had ever hired. He graduated in 1970 from MIT with a Masters in Architecture and became founding partner of Gantt Huberman in Charlotte in 1971.  That firm continues today as one of the most successful firms in North Carolina.

Gantt is the most politically active architect in North Carolina history.  He was on the Charlotte City Council from 1974 to 1983; the Mayor of Charlotte from 1983 to 1987; and served on the North Carolina Democratic Party Executive Council, the Democratic National Committee, and the National Capital Planning Commission.  Under his leadership, the commission adopted a strategic plan for city monuments and selected sites on the National Mall for the Martin Luther King Memorial and the World War II Memorial.

In 1990 and 1996, he ran unsuccessfully against incumbent North Carolina Senator Jesse Helms in two highly polarized races.  Barack Obama was a volunteer for his campaign in 1996.

Gantt received the AIANC Award of Excellence in Architecture in 1981 and has also received received honorary degrees from Winthrop College, Queens College, Clemson University, Johnson C. Smith University, and Belmont Abbey College.

More on Gantt and his houses.


Williams grew up in Durham and went to Hillside High School.  He got interested in architecture in the 9th grade and began to take drafting courses, earning a BA in Architecture from Howard University in 1966.  Following that was a 1968 Masters Degree in City and Regional Planning from UNC-Chapel Hill.  He interned with Smith Smith Haines Lundberg Whaeler in New York City.  During the summers he worked for Ray Construction in Durham on the NC Mutual Life Insurance Company building.

He served as Captain in the US Air Force 1968-1972 stationed in the Philippines designing residential, educational, and military support facilities in the Far East and Europe.  Upon return to the US he became architect for a new town, Soul City, in Manson NC.  That position lasted three years.  He moved to Gary IN working for Mayor Dick Hatchett as Director of Development and Planning for three years.

Williams also had a substantial career in city management. Posts included running the Oakland Redevelopment Agency 1979-1989; Deputy City Manager for Richmond VA from 1989-1991; and Durham County Manager from 1991-1996.  He then started a private design firm, based in Durham, consulting on architecture and economic development.  His Modernist houses include:


Joseph Yongue attended high school at Second Ward and graduated from NC A&T in 1969 in Architectural Engineering.  During the summers he worked for Clinton Gravely.  Upon graduation, he worked for IBM, entered the Army and served in Korea.  At Fort Belvoir, he worked with Andrew Bryant and Vosbeck Vosbeck Kendrick and Redinger. In 1972, he returned to IBM, working under Martin Myers in the real estate and construction division.  In 1975, he relocated with IBM to Research Triangle Park.

By 1978, through IBM and the GI Bill, he earned an MBA in organizational behavior from Iona College.  He also attended the NCSU School of Design’s Graduate program.  While at IBM, he ran the Design Center and led IBM to experiment with finding the most efficient office types, furniture, and  configurations to accommodate the then-exploding use of desktop computers and equipment, including security areas and laboratories.  He did his masters thesis on that subject.  He started his private practice in 1986 and grew to several staff.  By 1992, holding two jobs, he retired from IBM and is now a certified home inspector and a principal at J. H. Yongue Architect.


Art Clement grew up in Durham near NCCU where his mother Josephine D. Clement was on the faculty. His father worked for NC Mutual Life Insurance, taught in the NCCU Business School, and was on the NCCU Board of Trustees.  He is first cousin to longtime Durham City Councilman Howard Clement. A lifelong interest in architecture began when his grandfather bought him a drafting table.  At age nine he created an exhibit on Frank Lloyd Wright, and in 1966 he was the first black student accepted into the NCSU School of Design.  “To say that it was a racist school (at the time) was an understatement,” he recalls, although his overall college experience was positive. Clement worked for John Latimer in Durham for five summers while at NCSU and got interested in community planning and urban design, ultimately working with Henry Sanoff’s Community Design Group.

Clement graduated from NCSU in 1971 and went to MIT for graduate school, finishing in 1973.  At that point, he served an Army deferment at Forts Bragg and Benjamin Harrison. Returning from service in 1974, Robert Burns at NCSU’s School of Design recommended him to Heery and Heery in the early days of “design+,” or project supervision.  He worked at Heery and Heery four years then moved to Charleston SC to work with cousin Bill Clement, also an architect.  After marrying in 1980, his other cousin Mayor Maynard Jackson of Atlanta encouraged his relocation there in 1981.  Jackson was pivotal in getting black architects major commissions in the city, and Clement worked for DDR International, a construction consulting firm doing project management.  In 1985, the company split and Clement went with one of the divisions, DPM.  He went out on his own in 1993, joining with Delilah Wynn-Brown to form Clement & Wynn Program Managers.




Petrarca was born in Brooklyn NY and went to high school in Charlotte.  He interned at Gunn Hardaway then attended the NCSU College of Design, receiving a BEDA in 1994 and Bachelors of Architecture in 1999.  He worked for Frank Harmon from 1993 to 2003 and left to start Tonic Design and Tonic Construction with Charles Holden and Heather Washburn.

Tonic became the leading Modernist homebuilder in North Carolina with many design awards. Petrarca now co-owns both firms with architect Katherine Hogan.  All of the houses below were built by Tonic Construction unless otherwise noted.

Tonic Construction unless otherwise noted.

2004 – The Petrarca House, aka Honeymoon Cottage, overlooking Crabtree Creek, 4219 Arbutus Drive, Raleigh. 1700 square feet.  Cost: an amazing $140,000.  The sleek, modern kitchen was constructed for about $1700, using an IKEA cabinet system and concrete and Galvalume steel countertops.  Won an AIANC Award and a SARC Award.  Featured in the November/December 2003 issue of DWELL as well as on the cover of 25 Houses Under 1500 Square Feet.  Photos by James West.

2004 – The David Hill Addition, 2803 Wayland Drive, Raleigh NC.
Designed by David Hill AIA.  Built by Tonic Construction.

2004 – The Rod McCowan House, 222 Tennwood Court, Durham.  This incredible home took four years from start to finish and is one of the Triangle largest examples of Modernist design.  It took so long due to numerous design changes plus squabbles between the architects.  Frank Harmon basically designed the exterior.  Petrarca and Charles Holden, both of whom by then had left Harmon’s firm, did the rest of the project.  Petrarca’s Tonic Construction and Sigmon Construction built it.  Four bedrooms, 6456 square feet, four full bathrooms, two half baths.  Was on the market from 2008-2011.  Sold in February 2011 to Madhu Beriwal who did a restoration designed by Ellen Cassilly.

2006 – The John and Molly Chiles Residence, 4217 Laurel Ridge Drive, Raleigh. 3,800 square feet on 1.83 acres.   Petrarca and Charles Holden designed this unique home on the steel frame of a previous residence left in disrepair for 15 years.  James Franklin Taylor, a product design graduate of the NCSU School of Design, built the original frame and house in the 1970’s with his buddy Ligon Flynn.  Taylor constantly changed things, taking apart whole sections and rebuilding (top photo).  He even had a room like a hovercraft that would “float” around the steel frame.  Most of the time, however, the house was in tarps.  It was constantly under construction from Taylor’s tinkering.  Taylor decided to move to the Bahamas and lived in a Frank Harmon house.  After Taylor’s death, his wife sold the land to the Chiles.  Petrarca did the construction.  Structural Engineer, Richard Kaydos-Daniels.  Second photo by Leilani Carter.  Other photos by James West.

2006 – The John and Molly Chiles Residence, 4217 Laurel Ridge Drive, Raleigh. 3,800 square feet on 1.83 acres.   Petrarca and Charles Holden designed this unique home on the steel frame of a previous residence left in disrepair for 15 years.  James Franklin Taylor, a product design.

2008 – The Todd and Jodie Lanning Residence, 111 Rosecrans Court, Cary.  Built for Petrarca’s sister and brother-in-law.  Photos by James West.  Structural Engineer, Richard Kaydos-Daniels.

2008 – The Doug and Ann Sharpe Renovation, 401 Silver Hill Road, Concord MA.  Built by SD Fitzgerald of Concord.  The principal architect was Heather Washburn. Robby Johnston was a project designer.  A renovation and reorganization of a 1960’s house, bottom photo. Top three photos by Anton Grassl/Esto

2008 –  The Jim Schafer Residence, South Landing Lot #6, Leasburg, NC.  Unbuilt

2009 – The Bobby and Kristi Walters Residence, aka the GREENvilleHOUSE, 2231 Lexington Farms Court, Greenville NC.  4042 total square feet, integrating photovoltaic technology, solar hot water, and geothermal HVAC systems. This is the first LEED Silver Modernist house in North Carolina.  Commissioned 2005.  Features a combination of storefront floor-to-ceiling and aluminum-framed operable and non-operable windows; maple built-ins and cabinets designed by Tonic; maple floors; and ipe decks.  Tonic project manager Robby Johnston made sure all the wood was FSC-certified, which meant educating every subcontractor and supplier.

The house was an Architectural Record Home of the Month and a News and Observer Home of the Month.  Also won a 2010 AIANC COTE Environmental Design Award.  Roof by Pickard Roofing. Structural Engineer, Richard Kaydos-Daniels.  Photos by Todd Lanning, Gravitation Studios.   Part of the TMH Downeast Tour, March 2011.  Won 3rd Place from the Jury in the 2012 George Matsumoto Prize.

2009 – The Michael Rosenberg Residence, a condo at 301 West Barbee Chapel Road, Chapel Hill.
Built by Riley Lewis of Raleigh.  Photos by James West.

2010 – The George Smart and Eleanor Stell Residence, 5409 Pelham Road, Durham, on the lakefront site of an 1960’s ranch (left bottom photo).  2400 square feet.  Ted Arendes was the project archtiect.  Photos by Todd Lanning, Ted Arendes, and George Smart.  Structural Engineer, Richard Kaydos-Daniels.  Won a 2010 AIANC Merit Award.  Won a 2012 AIA Triangle Honor Award.

2010 – The Michael Mezzatesta and Nancy Kitterman Addition/Renovation, 1908 South Lakeshore Drive, Chapel Hill.  Built by David Ballard. Structural Engineer, Richard Kaydos-Daniels.  The original house (top photo), architect unknown, was built in 1962 for Rhoda Hunter Wynn by Van Thomas of Siler City.

2010 – The C. Scott Mabry Renovation, 2412 Wentworth, Raleigh.  Original house was built in 1977.  Sold to Greg and Lisa Raschke in 2013.

2011 – The Alex Cedeño House, aka the James River House, James River Watch Drive, Richmond VA.  Built by Shearman Associates. Structural Engineer, Richard Kaydos-Daniels.  Photo by John Suddath.  Part of the TMH Modern Richmond Tour 2011.

2011 – The Alex Rosenberg and Martha Reeves Residence, 3020 Wade Road, Durham.
Structural Engineer, Richard Kaydos-Daniels.  Photos by Rocio Luch.

2011 – The John and Stacy Crabill House, aka Crabill Modern, 5204 Margon Place, Hillsborough NC.  Structural Engineer, Richard Kaydos-Daniels.  Part of the TMH Hillsborough Modernist Tour 2011.  Part of the AIA Triangle Tour 2012.

2011 – The Oxner Residence, Seven Devils NC.  Built by Vincent Properties Construction.
Photo by Tonic Design.

2011 – The Jonathan and Ilsy Chappell Residence, 1742 Nottingham, Raleigh.  Photos by Gail Jodon, George Smart. Structural Engineer, Richard Kaydos-Daniels.  Part of the 2012 Modapalooza Tour.

2011 – The Elmar M.  and Christina E. Merkle House, 106 Blue Dog Lane, Durham.  Part of the New American House Durham.  Unbuilt.  Sold in 2013.

2012 – The Simon and Deborah Gregory House, 3422 Randolph Road, Durham

2012 – The Compton’s Pond House, Hilllsborough NC.  Unbuilt.

2014 – The Amy and Sean Ross Renovation, Cameron Park, Raleigh NC.

2014 – The Henry and Janni Cone House, Wake Forest NC.

2014 – The Mark and Lesley Zimmerman House, Orange County NC.



Deck House was founded in 1959 by William Berkes and Robert Brownell who worked as young men for Carl Koch building prefab Techbuilt houses.

Unlike Koch’s earlier modular houses, built mostly with mass-produced materials such as aluminum and linoleum, Deck House introduced natural woods and stones such as mahogany and slate.

Deck Houses feature post and beam construction, tongue and groove vaulted ceilings, and sliding glass doors leading out to a deck.  Over the years, Deck House and its successor companies have designed or built more than 20,000 houses around the world.  In 1995, Deck House merged with Acorn Structures, founded in 1947. The firm was renamed Empyrean International in 2005.  

In 2008, Empyrean closed and a court-ordered receiver took control of the company.  However, by 2009, the firm reorganized and Deck House was back in business under the Acorn banner.

Most mid-20th-century Triangle-area Deck houses were built by two firms: C. S. Witt of Durham;  and Bomar Construction Company of Chapel Hill, co-owned by Robert (Bob) Bacon and Maurice Pridgen.

1966 – The Robert and Joann Claytor Residence, 1646 Marion, Durham.  Built by C. S. Witt from a modified version of Model “757 reversed” dated September 1, 1966.  Sold in 1968 to Henry and Lou A. Hellmers who added a garage.  Sold to Dennis Baltzley who did a complete interior renovation.  Sold in 2010 to So Young Kim and Jorn Coers.

1966 – The Mary and Charles Horres, Jr. House, 615 Rock Creek Road, Chapel Hill.   Sold 1983 to Marilou and John R. Andrews Jr.  Sold in 1988 to Kathleen C. and Alan Ray Light and John.  Sold in 2002 to Anna Blair.  Sold in 2010 to Scott Burian and Elizabeth Harris.

1967 – The Robert and Nancy Spaulding House, 1516 Woodburn Road, Durham.  Sold to Sheila Collins and William Wetsel.

1968 – 1799 Crawford Dairy Road, Chapel Hill. Sold to George and Mildred Utsman. Sold to Bobby Lee Utsman.  Went through foreclosure in 1997.  Sold in 1998 to J&J Associates.  Sold in 1999 to Patricia and James Sanford.  Sold in 2003 to Elliott Cramer. Photo by Duffy Healey.

1968 – The Marcel and Joan Tetel House, 1804 Woodburn Road, Durham.  Sold to William C. and Anita Hall.1969 – The Bernard and Pauline Silberman House, 14 Heath Place, Durham. 
Sold in 1972 to Michael and Lise Wallach who still owned it as of 2012.1976 – The Richard and Sharon Coop House, 1417 Arboretum Drive, Chapel Hill.  2600 sf.  Assembled by Bomar Construction, Robert Bacon.  As of 2012 owned by a trustee for Richard Coop.  Photo by Leilani Carter.

Deck House was founded in 1959 by William Berkes and Robert Brownell who worked as young men for Carl Koch building prefab Techbuilt houses.

Unlike Koch’s earlier modular houses, built mostly with mass-produced materials such as aluminum and linoleum, Deck House introduced natural woods and stones such as mahogany and slate.

Deck Houses feature post and beam construction, tongue and groove vaulted ceilings, and sliding glass doors leading out to a deck.  Over the years, Deck House and its successor companies have designed or built more than 20,000 houses around the world.  In 1995, Deck House merged with Acorn Structures, founded in 1947. The firm was renamed Empyrean International in 2005.

In 2008, Empyrean closed and a court-ordered receiver took control of the company.  However, by 2009, the firm reorganized and Deck House was back in business under the Acorn banner.

Most mid-20th-century Triangle-area Deck houses were built by two firms: C. S. Witt of Durham;  and Bomar Construction Company of Chapel Hill, co-owned by Robert (Bob) Bacon and Maurice Pridgen. 1966 – The Robert and Joann Claytor Residence, 1646 Marion, Durham.  Built by C. S. Witt from a modified version of Model “757 reversed” dated September 1, 1966.  Sold in 1968 to Henry and Lou A. Hellmers who added a garage.  Sold to Dennis Baltzley who did a complete interior renovation.  Sold in 2010 to So Young Kim and Jorn Coers.
1966 – The Mary and Charles Horres, Jr. House, 615 Rock Creek Road, Chapel Hill.   Sold 1983 to Marilou and John R. Andrews Jr.  Sold in 1988 to Kathleen C. and Alan Ray Light and John.  Sold in 2002 to Anna Blair.  Sold in 2010 to Scott Burian and Elizabeth Harris. 1967 – The Robert and Nancy Spaulding House, 1516 Woodburn Road, Durham.  Sold to Sheila Collins and William Wetsel. 1968 – 1799 Crawford Dairy Road, Chapel Hill. Sold to George and Mildred Utsman. Sold to Bobby Lee Utsman.  Went through foreclosure in 1997.  Sold in 1998 to J&J Associates.  Sold in 1999 to Patricia and James Sanford.  Sold in 2003 to Elliott Cramer. Photo by Duffy Healey. 1968 – The Marcel and Joan Tetel House, 1804 Woodburn Road, Durham.  Sold to William C. and Anita Hall. 1969 – The Bernard and Pauline Silberman House, 14 Heath Place, Durham.
Sold in 1972 to Michael and Lise Wallach who still owned it as of 2012. 1969 – 25 Scott Place, Durham.  Sold to Harris C. Sondak.  Sold in 1995 to Jack N. and Patricia Thornton, who transferred it to a trust in 1999.  Was a rental house until sold in 2015 to Scott O’Brien.  1969 – The Richard B. and Rachel Z. Booth Residence, 1817 Woodburn Road, Durham.  Currently 3868 square feet.  Model “757 reversed” dated 1 Sept, 1966, revised 7-24-68.  Sold in 1987 to James D. and Lynne M. Skinner.  Sold in 2002 to Peter and Caelan Klein.  Sold in 2007 to John H. Taylor and Laurie A. Braun.  Remodeled in 2009 by Bill Waddell.  Part of the 2014 Preservation Durham/NCMH Duke Forest Tour.  1969 – The David R. (Dave) and Lallie Godschalk House, 209 Glendale Drive, Chapel Hill. Photos by Heather Wagner, Dave Godschalk.  Godschalk was a professor at the UNC Planning Department and a registered FL architect. He and the builder, Robert Bacon, had it shipped from Boston on a flatbed truck and modified the kitchen, entry, and many other aspects.   Extensive remodeling, including adding a screen porch and updating the kitchen and baths, was done by Everett Bacon, son of the original builder. Sold in 2008 to Daniel Sherman and Eduardo Douglas.
1969 – The Bessie M. and Paul D. Carrington House, 1616 Pinecrest Road, Durham.  Sold in 2014 to Benjamin Lee. 1969 – 3524 Rugby Road, Durham.  Other owners.  Sold to David Scott Howell.  Sold in 2003 to Elizabeth Applewhite. Sold in 2012 to Aaron C Gard.  Photos by Trey Thomas..

, 1802 Woodburn Road, Durham. Sold to Mary Beth Bishop and Alan Fenwick.

e, 207 Glendale, Chapel Hill.  Built by Robert Bacon.  Sold in 1981 to Frederick B. and Dorothy Askin.  Sold in 1986 to Glenn and Diana Withrow.  As of 2012 owned by a trustee for Glenn Withrow.  Photo by Trey Thomas.

1970 – The Henry and Carol Miller House, 1301 Arboretum Drive, Chapel Hill.  Sold in 1999 to Johnny Randall who still owned it as of 2012.  Assembled by Bomar Construction, Robert Bacon.  Top photo by Duffy Healey.

1970 – The David and Carol Eckerman House, 301 Hoot Owl Lane, Chapel Hill.  Built by Bomar Construction. Sold in 2013 to Cathryn Rich and Darren Selement.

1308 Arboretum Drive, Chapel Hill. Built by Bomar Construction. Sold in 1998 to Teresa and Dean McDaniel. Sold in 2003 to Michael Harrington.

1800 Woodburn Road, Durham. Built by Bomar Construction. As of 2014 still owned by the Searles. Photo by Duffy Healey.

1970 – The Nancy M. and Richard C. Emmet House, aka Lucky Lounge, 5 Lucky Lane, Asheville NC.  At some point in the 1980’s a Deck solarium addition was put on the rear.  Sold in 1996 to Ria G. and Carl Aufdermarsh.  Sold in 2010 to Guillermo C. Rodriguez and Jeffery B. Crawford.  Sold in 2014 to Laura L. Etchen and Debra Ann Daspit.

1971 – The Opie L. Shelton House,

4 Lucky Lane, Asheville.  Sold in 1974 to Roger and Aline Morrison.  Sold in 2001 to John N. and Ann Maier.  Sold in 2014 to David J. and Julia McKillen. Middle photo by Carol Miller.

1971 – The Ruby F. and  Lee W. Settle House, 1920 Dimmocks Mill Road, Hillsborough NC.  Sold in 1982 to Robert F. Steele.  Sold in 1984 to Sandra B. and Robert M. Phillips.  Sold in 2000 to Robert E. Ingram and Shannon V. Woolfe.  Sold in 2014 to Adrienne A. Moore and Barry J. Wilson.

1971 – The Virginia V. and Richard M. Clifford House,

1111 Hillcrest Road, Chapel Hill.  Sold in 2011 to Deborah L. and Jeffrey T. Finken.

1972 – The James R. and Rebecca P. Strange House, 4204 Oak Park Road, Raleigh.  The land belonged to Ligon Flynn.  Built by Silas Lucas of WIlson.  This was the first Deck house in Raleigh.  Sold in 1976 to Wayne and Joy Norman. Sold in 1976 to Elizabeth Pettersen.  Sold in 1980 to her father, Kidd Brewer (more on him here).  Sold in 1984 to Elizabeth Ruth Johnson.  Sold in 1992 to Hunter Turnage who still owned it as of 2012.  Photo by Trey Thomas.

1973 – The Marvin and Ann Wync House, 1486 Poinsett Drive Lot 19, Chapel Hill.  2970 sf.   Assembled by Bomar Construction.  Remodeled by Bob Bacon in 1986.   Photo by Leilani Carter.

1973 – The Colin A. and Myrtle J. Palmer House, 15 Winthrop Court, Durham.  2626 sf.   Sold in 2002 to Derek A. and Karen Hickam.  Sold in 2007 to Eric J. Christopher. For sale in 2015.

1973 – The Richard and Norma White House, Pleasant Green Road, Durham.  1652 sf.  Assembled by Bomar Construction.  Bottom photo by Trey Thomas.

1973 – The David and Marsha Warren House, 408 Lyons Road, Chapel Hill.  2696 sf.  Assembled by Bomar Construction.  The Warrens bought a Matusmoto house and sold this one in 1987 to Rudolph Juliano.  Photos by Trey Thomas.

1973 – The Peter and Margaret Bennett House, 3010 Harriman, Durham.  Sold in 1985 to Ahleen Englestein.  Sold to Andrew Scerbo.  Sold in 2005 to Jeffrey and Charity H. Strang.  Sold in 2012 to Christina Merrill and David B. Buchwallter. 1974 – 2813 McDowell, Durham.  Sold in 1993 to Arturo De Lozanne and Theresa J. O’Halloran.  Sold in 1999 to Susan Alberts and Robert Zimmerman. Renovated in 2013 by Barbara Richter-Norton.

1975 – 1228 Quandary Lane, Graham NC.  Sold in 1990 to Theodora M. and Andraos N. Nicola.

1975 – The Vladimir and Merrill Petrow Residence, 1905 Jones Ferry Road, Chapel Hill.  On 28 acres.  Middle photo is upper level, bottom photo is lower level. Much of the land was put into a conservation easement.  Sold in 2011 to Phil Morrison.   Destroyed for a new house designed by Louis Cherry.

1976 – 24 Chancery Place, Durham. Sold to Sarah Lundin and William Leland.  Sold in 2005 to Julia Snow Knerr and Douglas Miron.  Sold in 2005 to Thomas and Jean Ferguson.  Bottom photo by Trey Thomas.

1976 – 137 Carolina Forest Court, Chapel Hill.  Various owners. Sold 2004 to Matina L. and Andrew J. Metz. Sold in 2011 to Pandora J. and Brett H. Riggs.

1976 – The Richard and Sharon Coop House, 1417 Arboretum Drive, Chapel Hill.  2600 sf.  Assembled by Bomar Construction, Robert Bacon.  As of 2012 owned by a trustee for Richard Coop.  Photo by Leilani Carter.

1977 – The Ronald and Margery Wiegerink House, 703 Damascus Church Road Lot 25, Chapel Hill.  2486 sf.  Assembled by Bomar Construction, Robert Bacon.  Sold in 1999 to Michael P. and Hannah S. Hannan.  Sold in 2013 to Melanie A. and David B. Vandermast.

1977 – The Dana P. and Elizabeth Ripley House, 3601 West Cornwallis Road, Durham.  2570 sf.  Assembled by Bomar Construction, Robert Bacon.  As of 2015 still owned by the Ripleys.

1978 – The Pascal and Donna Trohanis House, 330 Damascus Church Road Lot 27, Chapel Hill.  2485 sf.  Assembled by Bomar Construction, Robert Bacon.   Needs address verification.

1978 – Spec house sold to Dale and Carolyn Tysinger, 2405 Monthaven Drive, Durham.  2150 sf.  Assembled by Bomar Construction, Robert Bacon.  As of 2012 owned by Geoffrey and Pamela Aldridge.  Photo by Trey Thomas.

1978 – The Robert and Sarah Porreca House, 5208 Orange Grove Road, Hillsborough.  1538 sf.  Assembled by Bomar Construction, Robert Bacon.  As of 2012 still owned by the Porrecas.  Not visible from the street.

1979 – Spec house sold to Greg and Ruth Bass, 5102 North Willowhaven Drive, Durham.  2020 sf.  Assembled by Bomar Construction, Robert Bacon.  Sold to Sid Stroupe.  Sold in 2012 to Kathy Hester.

1979 – The David and Jane Green House, 3200 Kenly, Raleigh.  Sold in 1990 to Michael and Barbara Perkins who still owned it as of 2012.

1979 – The Phoebe Lorraine and Richard Earl Forbes House,113 Forest Cliff Court NE, Concord NC.   Transferred to Forbes Trustees in 2009. Sold in 2013 to Kristina W. and Anthony R. Dodds.

1980 – The Richard and Hannah Andrews House, 298 Azalea Drive Lot 30, Chapel Hill.  2568 sf.  Assembled by Bomar Construction, Robert Bacon.  As of 2012 still owned the Andrews. Photo by Leilani Carter.

1980 – The Morris and Paulette Weisner House, 10 Wayside Place, Durham.  Sold to Paulette Weisner.  Sold in 2013 to Stefano Ditalia and Veronica Lubkov.

1980 – The John Mullen and Frances H. Friday House, Lot #1 Farrington Rd, Chapel Hill.  2268sf.  Assembled by Bomar Construction, Robert Bacon.

1980 – The Mary Pettis House, 314 Winter Drive, Chapel Hill.  2109 sf.  Assembled by Bomar Construction, Robert Bacon.  As of 2012 owned by Betsy Fenhagen.  Photo by Trey Thomas.

1980 – The Ara and Hjordis Tourian House, 2903 Montgomery Street, Durham.  2564 sf.  Assembled by Bomar Construction, Robert Bacon. As of 2012 still owned by the Tourians.  Photo by Trey Thomas.

1980 –  The Abraham and Laura Kierszenbaum House, 106 Wild Turkey Trail, Chapel Hill.  3413 sqft on 4.5 acres. Sold to F. Weston and Betsy Fenhagen. Sold to G. Vann and Bernadette Bennett. Sold in 2002 to Peter Bogart and Kerry Shear Lumish. Kitchen was remodeled in 2004. Sold in 2014 to David and Toni Darville.  Photo by David Darville.

1981 – The Manuel D. and Karen Wortman House, 1329 Beechwood Lane (formerly 3 Beechwood), Chapel Hill.  2109 sf.  Assembled by Bomar Construction, Robert Bacon.  As of 2012 still owned by the Wortmans.  Photo by Trey Thomas.

1981 – The Jeremiah J. Nowell Sr. House, 428 Bob Horton Road, Apex NC.
Built by the owner and a friend.  Still in the Nowell family as of 2011.

1981 – The Alfred and Janet Sanfilippo House, 3315 Stoneybrook, Durham.  Sold in 1995 to William M. and Mary Ellen Perry.  Sold in 1995 to Randall and Linda Weghorst.  Sold in 1997 to Michael and Laura Luger. Transferred to Laura Luger.  Sold in 2013 to Zamab Samad and Muhammad H. Khan.

1982 – The James and Pamela M. Swarbrick Residence, 145 Carolina Forest Road, Chapel Hill.  Sold in 1993 to Edward D. and Barbara A. Paradise. Sold in 1998 to Dino S. and Marilyn E. Cervigni. Sold in 2012 to Mary J. Scholz Hoffert and Marvin Jay.  For sale in 2015.

1983 – The David and Darcy Paletz House, 10 Harvey Place

, Durham.  2610 sf.  Assembled by Nobscot Construction, Robert Bacon.  Sold several times.  As of 2012 owned by Bruce and Barbara Jentleson.  Bottom photo by Trey Thomas.

1984 – The James Edward and Lorraine S. Lowe House, 23 Surrey Lane, Durham. Deeded 2001 to Lorraine S. Lowe.  Sold 2011 to Kenneth Alan McNish.

The Redford and Virginia Williams House, 5811 Buck Quarter Road, Hillsborough NC. As of 2012 still owned by the Williams.

The Robert C. and Blanche Bast Jr. House, 6108 Turkey Farm Road, Chapel Hill.  Built by J. P. Goforth Properties.  Has an addition on the front.  Sold in 2003 to John L. and Victoria Terry.  Sold in 2015 to Pat and Kate Flores.

1984 – 104 Arbutus Place, Chapel Hill.  Sold in 2015.

1985 – The John and Catherine Williamson House, 12401 Six Forks Road, Raleigh NC.  As of 2014, still owned by the Williamsons.

1985 – The Julio and Irene Meraz Residence, 1732 Brooks Avenue, Raleigh.  Sold to William Hale in 1989.   Sold in 2007 to Peter Ungermann.  Sold to David and Avery Knight in 2010.  Sold in 2014 to Mary H. and William J. Blanton.

1986 – The Barbara and Erwin Mach House, aka the Cox-Sood House, 98 Stone Ridge Place, Chapel Hill.  The original house, top two photos, was a copy of a Deck House the Mach’s owned previously out of state.  Sold in 2011 to Christopher Cox and Annu Sood.  2011 renovation designed by Matt Griffith and Erin Sterling Lewis; built by Redfoot and Weber.  Part of the AIA Triangle 2012 Tour.  Bottom photo by Nicole Alvarez.

1986 – The Roy W. Roth House, 4019 Stoneycreek Road,

1987 – The King and Vivian Owyang House, 1508 Jones Ferry Road, Chapel Hill. Sold in 2005 to Harvey Goldstein and Meredith Mayer.  For sale in 2015.

1988 – The Geoffrey and David Simmonds Residence, 10429 Leslie Drive, Raleigh.  3000 square feet, 4br, 3b on 1 acre.  Sold in 1991 to Easterly Properties.  Sold in 1991 to Benjamin H. Graves III.  Sold in 2000 to Shannon and Jennifer Lasater.  Sold in 2007 to Patrick E. Duffy.   Remodeled kitchen.  Sold in 2009 to Garth D. Flanagan.

1988 – The Charles S. and Ellen M. Johnson house, 902 Kings Mill Road, Chapel Hill.  Built by Bomar Construction.  Still owned by the Johnsons as of 2013. Photos by Duffy Healey.

505 Shinnecock Court, New Bern NC.  Sold.  Sold in 2011 to third owners Jon and Jane Olstad.

1989 – The Robert and Connie Shertz Residence, 7229 Blaney Bluffs Lane, Raleigh, right on Lake Wheeler.  Sold in 2011 to Teresa C. and Herbert G. Sullivan.

11992 – The Michael O. and Carolyn Moore House, 50114 Manly, Chapel Hill.  In Governor’s Club, Chatham County.  Sold in 2000 to Dennis and Dori Nagy.

1995 – 758 Turnberry Drive, Roaring Gap (Glade Valley) NC.  Sold to architect Edward Prince.

1996 – The Joanna E. Pagano House, 42003 Worth, Chapel Hill.  A traditional interpretation.  Located in Governor’s Club, Chatham County.

1997 – The David Sykes Residence, 3504 Creekwood Bluffs Court, Apex.  1.74 acres.
2917 square feet.  Sold in 2009 to Ken and Mei Lin Huang.

1998 – The Randall and Linda Marcuson House, 3001 Old Wever Trail, Creedmoor NC. Commissioned 1997. Designed in conjunction with the Deck House architect David Vanacola and built by Don Walter of Halcyon Builders. The Marcusons spent three years in Japan in the early 1980s and were inspired by Japanese architecture and farmhouses.

2000 – The James Watson House, aka the Watson-Hollinshead House, 8407 Meadow View Lane, Bahama NC. Built by Scott Dupre of Leesville Construction.  Sold to Sean Hollinshead.  Sold in 2004 to Cendant Financial Services Corp.  Sold later in 2004 to Robert S. Leeds.

2001 – The Sheridan W. and Christa T. Johns House, 3313 Rolling Hill, Durham.  Built by Scott Dupre of Raleigh.  Sold in 2012 to Susan and Michael Collins.  Top photo by Trey Thomas..

2002 – The Peter Geisler House, 114 Dory Court, Havelock NC.  One of several built by John Cutter in Craven County. One of the first brick Deck houses in North Carolina.  Because it is so close to the salt water, several modifications had to be made. The roof is Ecotile shingles.




1940 – The R. J. Reynolds, Jr. Residence, aka Merry Acres, 2852 Merry Acres Lane, Winston-Salem.  Designed by Luther Lashmit of Northup and O’Brien.  Donated to Wake Forest University in 1966.  Destroyed in 1978. 1941 – The Austin D. and Alberta C. Parker House, 1058 Teague Road, Winston-Salem.  Parker sketched the designs for this and the next house on a paper bag while sailing back to the United States after one of his trips to Cuba.  He hired Fogle Brothers to build two unusual but not really Modernist houses, one for himself and one for his son, Mark Parker.  As of 2012 owned by the Parker heirs.  For sale in 2014.




Frank Gehry was born Ephraim Owen Goldberg in Toronto, Canada. He moved with his family to Los Angeles as a teenager in 1947 and later became a naturalized U.S. citizen. His father changed the family’s name to Gehry when the family immigrated. Ephraim adopted the first name Frank in his 20s.

Uncertain of career direction, the teenage Gehry drove a delivery truck to support himself while taking a variety of courses at Los Angeles City College. He took his first architecture courses and became enthralled with the possibilities of the art, although at first he found himself hampered by his relative lack of skill as a draftsman. Sympathetic teachers and an early encounter with Modernist architect Raphael Soriano confirmed his career choice. He won scholarships to the University of Southern California and graduated in 1954 with a degree in architecture.

Gehry went to work full-time for the notable Los Angeles firm of Victor Gruen Associates, where he had apprenticed as a student, but his work at Gruen was soon interrupted by ca year in the United States Army. Gehry then entered the Harvard Graduate School of Design, where he studied city planning but returned to Los Angeles without completing a graduate degree. He briefly joined the firm of Pereira and Luckman before returning to Victor Gruen. Gehry got restless. He took his wife and two children to Paris, where he spent a year working in the office of the French architect Andre Remondet and studied firsthand the work of the pioneer Modernist Le Corbusier.


The Larsen House Tour

The Larsen House Tour
Saturday, April 13, 9-12N 

The spectacular 1973 Arthur and Florence Larsen Residence in Durham was commissioned to Chapel Hill architect Jon Condoret in 1971.  Over the next few decades, the Larsens frequently entertained their friends and fellow Duke faculty, including many classical music concerts in the large living room.

Originally, the Larsen house was 4825 sf.  When the Larsens sold, new owners engaged a renovation designed  by California architect Fu-Tung Cheng and built by Landmark Renovation.  Landscape architect Judy Harmon did the entry design.  In 2011, there were master bedroom renovations, expanding the house to 6040 sf.




Fitzgibbon was born in Omaha NB.  The family moved to upstate New York where Fitzgibbon completed studies at Onondaga Valley Academy in 1932. The following year he graduated from Syracuse Central High School.  In 1933, he entered Syracuse University’s School of Architecture as a Gifford Scholarship student and graduated with a Bachelors of Architecture in 1938. Fitzgibbon earned a Masters in Architecture from the University of Pennsylvania in 1939, where he won the Warren Prize and was a finalist for the Rome Prize. In November 1940, Fitzgibbon married fellow Syracuse student Margaret Inez Crosby of Falconer NY.

His first job was four years as a designer with United Engineers and Constructors in Philadelphia. In 1944, he was appointed associate architect for campus planning at the University of Oklahoma in Norman and also taught as an assistant professor in the School of Architecture.

In 1948, Fitzgibbon, WaughMatsumoto and others left Oklahoma with Henry Kamphoefner to establish the NCSU School of Design. 

On his way to NCSU in the summer of 1948, Fitzgibbon met R. Buckminster Fuller at Black Mountain College.  Fuller was the inventor of many geodesic dome applications.  In 1955, Fuller and Fitzgibbon and architect/engineer T. C. Howard formed Synergetics, Inc. to focus on commercial dome projects and applications for military, governmental and commercial clients.  Fuller left Synergetics in 1958 and T. C. Howard became the firm’s owner.

Fitzgibbon and Duncan Stewart and several other NC State professors formed Skybreak Carolina Corp to research geodesic domes.

Fitzgibbon and Fuller worked on the Old Man River Project, an $800 million urban renewal conceptual city designed to house 30,000-50,000 people under a massive dome in East St. Louis IL that was never built.

Fitzgibbon served as the associate architect for campus planning and an assistant professor of architecture before becoming a full professor in 1953.  In 1968, Fitzgibbon took a leave of absence from NCSU and Synergetics to teach as a visiting professor of Architecture at Washington University in St. Louis. He stayed there for the rest of his life, except for visiting professorships at the University of California-Berkeley and Harvard University.

Fitzgibbon also had some of his work exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art.  A show called Visionary Architecture featured his drawing of a city built in several stories over the Hudson River between NYC and New Jersey. In the exhibit, his drawing was placed between Frank Lloyd Wright and Louis Kahn, his professor at the University of Pennsylvania.  




Buckminister (Bucky) Fuller was born in 1895.  He taught at NC’s Black Mountain College during the summers of 1948 and 1949.  There, with the support of a group of professors and students, he began reinventing a project that would make him famous: the geodesic dome.

Although the geodesic dome was invented some 30 years earlier by Dr. Walther Bauersfeld, Fuller was awarded many US patents and is credited for making it popular.  International recognition came from Fuller’s huge geodesic domes in the 1950s. Fuller taught at Washington University in St. Louis. 

Fuller came to the NCSU School of Design many times and influenced T. C. Howard, who had a double major in architecture and engineering.  Howard became part of Fuller’s dome enterprise, Synergetics Inc. and became owner when Fuller left in 1958.

Howard grew up in Denver NC and went to school at NCSU in Nuclear Engineering.  He became an architect by passing the state architecture exam, establishing a reputation for brilliance that still endures.

In 1956, Synergetics was under contract to the United States Department of Commerce.  They designed and test-built a 100-foot diameter trade fair pavilion dome in Raleigh.  It was then flown to Kabul, Afghanistan and later used for trade fairs and expositions in South America, Africa, Europe and the Orient. That same year Synergetics designed and built what was at the time the world’s largest free-span structure, a 384-foot diameter geodesic dome in Baton Rouge, Louisiana constructed for the Union Tank Car Company as a facility to house and repair railroad cars.

Synergetics Inc.’s dome business boomed, including commissions for the St. Louis Climatron at the Missouri Botanical Garden, left. A 125-foot diameter hemisphere was designed for use by Queen Elizabeth II when she visited Ghana, and various other domes went to the Air Force Academy, the 1961 Seattle and 1964 New York World’s Fairs, and to Cleveland, St. Louis, New Orleans, and Niagara Falls.

Howard was also an owner of Charter Industries, Inc. that leased domes around the world. The domes at the NC Fairgrounds are portable Charter spheres.

Typically, domes are better suited as commercial rather than residential application. They can be erected on a moment’s notice, provide an instant venue, then packed up and on to the next town.  More than 500,000 geodesic domes were built around the world and many are still in use.