Architecture You Love A North Carolina 501C3 Educational Nonprofit Archive Documenting, Preserving, and Promoting Residential Modernist Architecture


About North Carolina Modernist Houses (NCMH)

NCMH provides donors, volunteers, and advocates the information and organization they require to passionately engage the documentation, preservation, and promotion of North Carolina’s residential Modernist architecture.


NCMH and USModernist are websites for Triangle Modernist Archive, Inc., a North Carolina 501C3 educational nonprofit archive committed to documenting, preserving, and promoting residential Modernist architecture.

NCMH has won 12 local, state, and national leadership in historic preservation, reviving interest in the state's legacy of great architecture.

Started in 2007, the website initially covered the Triangle area of North Carolina.  By 2013, having documented nearly all the Modernist houses and architects statewide, the name changed to NCMH to reflect greater coverage. We host the yearly George Matsumoto Prize for excellence in North Carolina Modernist houses.

In addition, NCMH created the USModernist Masters Gallery, now the largest online digital archive of well-known mid-century Modernist houses and architects in America.  Wright, Neutra, Schindler, Ain, Gehry, Lautner, and more, including all their houses.

We produce a podcast, USModernist Radio, with guests such as Paul Goldberger, Tim Ross, Roberta Leighton, Hicks Stone, Chris Rawlins, Harry Bates, Allison Arieff, Alison Brooks, Eric Lloyd Wright, Kelly Lynch, Michael Hammond, Eames Demetrios, Raymond Neutra, Susan Saarinen, Brad Dunning, Alexandra Lange, Nathanial Kahn, Jim Cutler, Annalisa Capurro, Joe Kwon, Crosby Doe, Carl Abbott, Larry Scarpa, Frank Harmon, Tom Fetters, Justin Shubow, Kate Wagner, and Sarah Susanka, among many others.

NCMH continually hosts popular Modernist house tours, design networking events, and architecture movies, giving thousands of people access to the most exciting residential architecture, past and present. 

Our programming raises awareness, connects people with their passion for preservation and their future dream homes, and preserves the legacy of exceptional works of design for future generations.

Consider learning about our sponsorship opportunities.  We'd love to share what your business offers to those that LOVE Modernist architecture!

About Modernist Houses

What is a Modernist house? Modernist design is characterized by features such as combining traditionally separate common areas (like the living room and the dining room, for example), open interior floor plans with vaulted ceilings, large and numerous windows, flat or low pitched roofs, long exposed beams, extensive use of glass to bring in natural light, and aesthetic geometric forms. Learn more about Modernist design types.

Modernism is not just a design but also a way of life. Early Modernists wanted to change the way the average person lived by making houses and objects more affordable through efficiencies gained in streamlined and simplified production techniques, and by emphasizing a casual yet very strong connectivity within the family. Hence, the emphasis on a large, single family space -- where kitchen, dining, and living rooms flow into each other without impediment -- with more private space (bedrooms) small and primarily utilitarian. The blur between indoors and outdoors via vast expanses of windows and inner courtyards continued the emphasis on full-family gathering spaces, both inside and out. Gone were "formal" dining and "formal" living rooms. Today's Modernist designers continue the lessons learned from those brilliant early modernists.

Why aren't Modernist houses more popular? Modernist houses truly rock, if you are into this kind of thing. Sadly, most people aren't. The staggering failure of modernist design to catch on with homebuyers is disappointing for its few but loyal admirers. The general public tends to think Modernist homes are cool but consistently buy more traditional designs. Except in rare cases, like Arapahoe Acres or Los Angeles, unconventional houses are considered slightly treasonous anomalies to the conservative homeowner association mindset. What is "brilliant" to an architecturally-inclined person is often unsettling to the neighbors. Maintenance can be a problem, too. The bolder the design, the more likely a house will have water or structural damage over time. The good news is that materials science has finally caught up with modernist design, so most new houses don't have these problems. And, like other works of art, these houses tend to be more expensive than average.

Architecture critic Colin Rowe once said that "modern architecture’s fatal flaw is when architects "stipulate an intrinsic connection between the form of a building and the condition of society." In simpler words, architects frequently overestimate modern design's effect on social change.


Who lives in Modernist houses? Modernist houses are generally more works of art than construction, and the general public has little taste for living inside art. However, artists, academics, architects, children of architects, and all their patient spouses typically love to live inside art.

Modernist Preservation

Are Modernist houses endangered? Yes, especially those built in the 1950's and 1960's. Their locations, often on prime real estate inside cities, are worth much more than the houses, making demolition and development an attractive option. For example, see the sad fate of the extraordinary Catalano house, Raleigh's internationally-known landmark. By networking current owners and providing the public detailed information, histories and maps, we help endangered houses be purchased or otherwise preserved.

NCMH has helped hundreds of Modernist houses change hands and was directly involved in saving these endangered houses from the bulldozer:

Fleishman House, Fayetteville, by Ed Loewenstein; Cherry/Gordon House, Raleigh, by Louis Cherry; Taylor House, Chapel Hill, by John Latimer and George Matsumoto; Crumpler House, Durham, by John Latimer; Kornberg House, Durham, by Jon Condoret; Lasater House, Charlotte, by AG Odell; Carr House, Durham, by Kenneth Scott; Howard Residence, Greensboro, by Thomas Hayes
Mattocks House, Chapel Hill, by Sumner Winn; Raleigh Frye Lake House, Hickory, by Jim Sherrill.

Awards and Honors


George Smart received the 2016 Institute Honors for Collaborative and Professional Achievement from the national AIA.

NCMH received a 2014 Historic Preservation Advocacy Award from the Preservation Society of Chapel Hill

 NCMH received a 2014 Survey Citation of Merit Award from DOCOMOMO-US. 

 NCMH received the 2013 Blast from the Past Award from Historic Charlotte for documentation of Charlotte houses. 

NCMH received the 2013 AIA North Carolina Legacy Award for service to architecture by a non-architect

George Smart and TMH received the 2013 Isosceles Award from AIA Triangle for service to architecture by a non-architect

George Smart was Tar Heel of the Week in the June 2012 Raleigh News and Observer

TMH received the 2011 Anthemion Award from Capital Area Preservation

TMH received the 2011 Advocacy Award from Preservation Durham

George Smart received the 2009 Sir Walter Raleigh Individual Award for Community Appearance from the City of Raleigh

TMH received the 2009 Paul E. Buchanan Award from the Vernacular Architecture Forum, recognizing contributions to vernacular architecture that do not take the form of books or published work

George Smart received the 2008 Gertrude S. Carraway Award of Merit by Preservation North Carolina for individuals and organizations that have demonstrated an outstanding commitment to promoting historic preservation

TMH received the 2008 Award of Merit by the Preservation Society of Chapel Hill for the effective use of the internet as a educational and preservation tool

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