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

Who We Are

Leadership

Awards and Honors

What is North Carolina Modernist Houses (NCMH)? NCMH is the website for Triangle Modernist Archive, Inc., a North Carolina 501C3 nonprofit organization committed to documenting, preserving, and promoting residential Modernist architecture.



Started in 2007, and originally called Triangle Modernist Houses (TMH), NCMH expanded to cover not only all of North Carolina but many of the most well-known mid-century Modernist houses and architects in the US.  

For passionate architecture fans, which are many, Modernist houses evoke a true love.  These houses have people feel connected to nature and the land through the architecture.  Modernist houses are also, for many, livable sculptures. 

NCMH has won several awards (see right) for historic preservation.  We preserve and revive the state's legacy of great architecture. We host popular Modernist house tours, movies, and trips, giving thousands of people access to the most exciting residential architecture, past and present.  These events raise awareness, connect people with their dreams of great design, and help preserve these exceptional works of art for future generations. 

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.  Here is an excellent review of Modernist design types.

How many Modernist houses are there in North Carolina?  About 1300.  Modernist design is rare in any housing market.  However, we have more than anywhere else in the United States except for Los Angeles and Long Island. 

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 Glenbrook Valley, unconventional houses are considered slightly treasonous anomalies to the conservative homeowners 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 other words, modern design's effect on social change can, and often is, overestimated by the profession (and its fans).

As former Modernist homeowner Lynda Calabrese of Charlotte said, "People want to be safe and they want to be like everyone else. That's why everyone shops at The Gap.  Realtors don't even like to use the word 'contemporary' in their advertisements. It's like the curse."

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. 

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.

 

 


 

2013-2014 Board of Directors

Sharon Glazener / Principal, Bell Glazener Design Group (Vice Chair and Secretary), George Smart / Managing Partner, Strategic Development Inc. (Board Chair), Eleanor Stell / NC State University, Deborah Rodgers, Leslie Glascock, Anne Stoddard / Grubb Ventures.

2013 Advisory Council



Top Row Left to Right: 
David Crawford/Executive Vice President, AIA North Carolina, Kim Weiss/Blueplate PR, Caterri Woodrum/Chief Financial Officer, NC Museum of Art, Todd Kosmerick/University Archivist, NCSU Special Collections, Queron Smith/M&F Bank.   Bottom Row Left to Right: Sarah Sonke/ModernHomeAuctions, Anne Stoddard/Director of Development, Grubb Ventures, Emilie Huin/Coldwell Banker HPW, Frank Harmon/Frank Harmon Architects, Adam Sebastian/Designer, Water Robbs Callahan Pierce.  Not shown:  Judge Barbara Jackson/North Carolina Supreme Court, Wendy Hillis/Executive Director, Preservation Durham, John Taylor/Advancement Solutions, Shirley Drechsel.

2012 Advisory Council

Left to Right: Greg Raschke/NCSU Libraries, David Brook/NC Archives and History, Jody Brown/Coffee with an Architect, Matt Griffith/in situ studio, Emilie Huin/Prudential YSU, Queron Smith/M&F Bank, Paul Lipchak/The Freelon Group, Ann Marie Baum/CherryModern, Tika Hicks/Frank Harmon Architects, Brian Shawcroft, Robby Johnston/Clearscapes.  Not shown: Caterri Woodrum/NC Museum of Art, Stan Williams/NC Symphony, Sarah Sonke/ModernHomeAuctions, Kim Weiss/Blueplate PR.

2011-2012 Board of Directors

Left to Right: Deborah Chay, Sharon Glazener / Principal, Bell Glazener Design Group (Vice Chair and Secretary), George Smart / Managing Partner, Strategic Development Inc. (Board Chair), Eleanor Stell / NC State University, Deborah Rodgers.  Missing:  Leslie Glascock.  The car is a Delorean and the house is a Lustron.  Photo by Allen Weiss.

2011 Advisory Council

Left to Right: David Hill/NCSU College of Design, Doug Brinkley/PBC+L, Dail Dixon, Jessica Johnson Moore/More Space Studio, Jerry Nowell/Nowell's Contemporary Furniture, George Smart, Chris Chinchar, John Morris/Goodnight Raleigh, John Chiles, Erin Sterling Lewis/in situ studio, Tobias Kaiser/Modernist Realtor, and Robin Abrams/NCSU College of Design. Not shown: Thomas Crowder/Architektur PA and Kim Weiss/Blueplate PR.

2009-2010 Board of Directors



Left to Right:  Sharon Glazener / Principal, Bell Glazener Design Group (Secretary), Dr. Monica Hunter (Treasurer), Emily Kass / Director, UNC Ackland Art Museum, Mack Paul / Partner, K&L Gates (Vice Chair), George Smart / Managing Partner, Strategic Development Inc. (Board Chair), Eleanor Stell / NC State University, Lesley McAdams.  Photo by Audie Schechter.

2010 Advisory Council

Left to Right:  Rusty Long/Davenport Architects, Erin Sterling/Frank Harmon Architects,  Bill Hopkins/Hopkins McClure, Jane Thurman/KCI, Theresa Rosenberg, Leilani Carter, Khalid Almo/BBH, Vincent Whitehurst, Debra Smith/Modern Home Network, and Kim Weiss/Blueplate PR.  Not shown: Elizabeth Sappenfield/Preservation North Carolina. 

2009 Advisory Council



Left to Right:  KC Ramsay / Principal, Craige and Van Roden Photography, Anne Stoddard / Principal, The Stoddard Group, Arielle Schechter / Principal, Arielle Schechter AIA, Sally Greene / Attorney, Anne Seeley / Graduate Student, NCSU College of Design, Becky Shankle / Principal, Eco-Modernism, Heather Rule / Designer, BBH Design, Bob Langford / Senior Producer, Back Home Productions.

By August 2008, we had documented about
435 houses, 100 architects, and 1300 photos.

By March of 2009, we had documented about
600 houses, 130 architects, and 3000 photos.

By January of 2012, we had documented about
3700 houses and 14500 photos.

By January of 2013, we had documented about
4000 houses, 255 architects, and 15000 photos.

By June of 2014, we had documented about
4500 houses, 275 architects, and 17500 photos



      

     

      

 

North Carolina Construction News

plus over 15,000+ web and blog postings

NCMH received the 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, established in 1993 to recognize 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

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