Modernist Houses Across NC Take Top Honors In 2014 Matumoto Prize

The Lebda Guest House in Wilmington, designed by Michael Ross Kersting Architecture, won First Place in the People's Choice awards.

The Lebda Guest House in Wilmington, designed by Michael Ross Kersting Architecture, won First Place in the People’s Choice awards.

Modernist houses from Asheville to Wilmington received top honors last week in the third annual George Matsumoto Prize for Modernist residential design across the state, sponsored by the award-winning non-profit organization North Carolina Modernist Houses (NCMH).

The houses submitted had to be in North Carolina but the designers could be based anywhere. All submissions were capable of winning in two, or both, categories: the Jury Awards and the People’s Choice Awards.

During a special ceremony that NCMH held at the Contemporary Art Museum in downtown Raleigh, sponsored by CAM, Foundation bar, and Palette & Parlor, architect Frank Harmon, FAIA, announced the winners of the Jury Awards category, which were chosen by a team of professional architects from California, Massachusetts, and New York, and included cash prizes. The 2014 Jury Award winners were:

  1.  First Place: The Smart-Stell House in Durham, designed and built by Vincent Petrarca of Tonic Design + Tonic Construction of Raleigh.
  1.  Second Place: The Herbits House in Leicester, designed by Eric Gartner of SPG Architects in New York, New York.
  1.  Third Place: The Hedly House in Asheville, designed by Maria Rusafova of Rusafova-Markulis Architects in Asheville.

According to Harmon, who facilitated the jury for NCMH, the jurors commented that there were good merits in all of the projects submitted, which made it difficult to select the winners. “The projects the jury felt were the most interesting,” Harmon said, “dealt with their specific sites in clear and compelling ways. For example: a house by a lake, a house in the treetops, and a mountain house.”
The jury also commended the winning designers for their use of “common sense: cross-ventilation, roof overhangs, and daylight. Sustainability seemed common to all and each winning house represents good simplicity of form and massing.”

NCMH founder George Smart announced the People’s Choice Awards winners, selected by 1200 people from around the world who voted online. The 2014 People’ Choice winners were:

  1.  First Place: The Lebda Guest House in Wilmington, designed by Michael Ross Kersting with Toby R. Keaton of Michael Ross Kersting Architecture of Wilmington.
  1.  Second Place: The Dasgupta-Saucier House in Raleigh, designed by Robby Johnston and Craig Kerins of Raleigh Architecture & Raleigh Construction of Raleigh.
  1.  Third Place: The UrbanEden House in Charlotte, designed and built by the UNC-Charlotte Solar Decathlon Architecture Team, advisor Mona Azarbajani.

The Matsumoto Prize is named to honor George Matsumoto, FAIA, a founding faculty member at the North Carolina State University School of Design (now College of Design) who is well known for many exemplary mid-century Modernist houses he designed across North Carolina. Matsumoto also served as Honorary Chair of the professional jury.

For more information on the winning projects, and to see all of the submissions, visit



CAM To Host NCMH Matsumoto Prize Awards Ceremony During “Thirst4Architecture”

photo by Joseph Rafferty

photo by Joseph Rafferty

Design award winners to be announced during the popular networking event.

The Contemporary Art Museum (CAM) in downtown Raleigh will host North Carolina Modernist Houses 2014 George Matsumoto Prize Awards for Modernist residential design on Thursday, July 17, from 6-830 p.m. The awards are part of NCMH’s “Thirst4Architecture” networking happy hour.  The events are free and open to the public.

Entertainment will include refreshments from Foundation bar in Raleigh, a game of “Modernist Musical Chairs” sponsored by Ivy Simon of Palette & Parlor in Chapel Hill, live music by Kurt Melges and special musical guest Rebecca Newton of Rebecca and the Hi-Tones, and door prizes.  Emilie Huin of Coldwell Banker, a specialist in Modernist real estate throughout the Triangle, is the series sponsor for Thirst4Architecture.

Now in its third year, The Matsumoto Prize is the only professionally juried competition with cash prizes specializing in Modernist houses.  So far, nearly 1000 public votes have been cast for the three top People’s Choice houses.  To see – and vote — visit

“These entries inspire people to dream of having their own Modernist house.  Most people are surprised to know Modernist design doesn’t have to be expensive.  It can easily be affordable, efficient, sustainable, and a house their families will love for decades,” says NCMH founder and director George Smart. “This year’s entries are terrific, and we’re looking forward to revealing this winners.”

CAM Raleigh Executive Director Gab Smith commented on the museum’s decision to host the Prize awards ceremony: “The 2014 Matsumoto Prize Awards are a fantastic way to celebrate excellence in design and CAM Raleigh is thrilled to host the awards as a NCMH community partner.

Foundation Bar and Alphin Design Build, both in Raleigh, and Palette & Parlor of Chapel Hill, are also sponsoring the July event.

CAM Raleigh is located at 409 West Martin Street. For more information and directions, go to

Wake County Libraries Host “Mayberry Modernism” Three Times In July

The NCMH logo on a 1955 photo of the former Catalano House in Raleigh.

The NCMH logo on a 1955 photo of the former Catalano House in Raleigh.

As part of the month-long lecture series Exploring North Carolina Architecture.

George Smart, founder and director of the award-winning non-profit organization North Carolina Modernist Houses (NCMH) will present his signature talk “Mayberry Modernism: North Carolina’s Modernist Architectural Legacy” three times during Wake County Public Libraries’ July lecture series entitled “Exploring North Carolina Architecture.”

Smart will join other architectural historians who will discuss some of the state’s most significant structures spanning three centuries of design.

“Mayberry Modernism” specifically showcases North Carolina’s surprisingly large collection of Modernist residences from the 1950s through today. Many of these houses are in good shape, some are endangered, and many have been destroyed.

The presentation’s slideshow features 50 award-winning Modernist houses in the state from mid-century to new construction. The houses are culled from the NCMH archive (, the largest single archive of Modernist houses and those who design them in the nation.

“The architecture and unique styles of our Modernist homes and structures play an important role in the beauty and heritage of our region,” said Susan Wolf Neilson, Adult Services Librarian for Arts and Literature at the West Regional Library. “We also have so many new residents, and sharing this historical cultural tradition is important.”

Smart will present “Mayberry Modernism” at the Cameron Village Library, 1930 Clark Avenue, Raleigh, on Thursday, July 10, at 6:30 p.m.; at the West Regional Library, 4000 Louis Stephens Drive, Cary, on Tuesday, July 22, at 7 p.m.; and at the North Regional Library at 7009 Harps Mill Road, Raleigh, on Wednesday, July 30, at 6:30 p.m.

Also during the summer series Reid Thomas, Restoration Specialist, and Michael Southern, Senior Architectural Historian, both of the North Carolina State Historic Preservation Office, will address much older architecture:

On Tuesday, July 2, Thomas will discuss “Exploring Northeastern North Carolina’s Early Architecture” at 11 a.m. in the Southeast Regional Library, 908 Seventh Avenue, Garner, and again at 2 p.m. in the Eva Perry Regional Library, 2100 Shepherds Vineyard Drive, Apex.

On Tuesday, July 22, Michael Southern will discuss “North Carolina’s Earliest Congregations and Oldest Church Buildings” at 10:30 a.m. in East Regional Library, 946 Steeple Square Court, Knightdale.

For more information on Wake County Public Libraries’ summer series and other programs for adults, visit

For more information on NCMH and “Mayberry Modernism,” visit


Public Voting Opens For The 2014 Matsumoto Prize Through July 13

Recognizing excellence in Modernist residential design throughout North

Public online voting for the 2014 George Matsumoto Prize, which recognizes excellence in North Carolina Modernist residential design, begins June 15.

Sponsored by the award-winning non-profit architecture organization North Carolina Modernist Houses (NCMH), the Matsumoto Prize is a juried competition which also includes public voting to determine three “People’s Choice” winners. Anyone in the world can vote by email (one time per email address) after viewing submissions posted on the NCMH website at

The Matsumoto Prize is named for George Matsumoto, FAIA, a preeminent Modernist architect well-known in North Carolina for the exceptional houses he designed here while he was a member of the NC State University School of Design faculty.

George Matsumoto also serves as Honorary Chair for the Prize’s blue-ribbon jury of professional architects who select the winners of cash prizes from a pool of $6000.

“These entries inspire people dreaming of a Modernist house to know Modernist design is affordable, efficient, sustainable, and most importantly, a house their families will love for decades,” said NCMH founder and director George Smart. “We’re looking forward to record-breaking public participation via this year’s online voting.”

Online voting ends at 5 p.m., Sunday, July 13, 2014.

To see the entries and vote on the 2014 Matsumoto Prize, visit

The 2014 George Matsumoto Prize is also sponsored by Foundation Bar and Alphin Design Build, both in Raleigh, and Palette & Parlor in Chapel Hill.


THE DURHAM NEWS: “DDP move jeopardizes ‘Mad-Men’-era headquarters”

By Jim Wise

mid-century modern building

The exterior of the Durham Police Department on West Chapel Hill Street displays the Modernist architectural style.

 — City plans to move the Police Department imperils the current headquarters on Chapel Hill Street, according to Preservation Durham and George Smart, founder of [North Carolina] Modernist Houses preservation group.

One idea on the table is to demolish the existing 1950s building and build anew on the site; others are to sell it to help pay for a new police HQ elsewhere. A new owner might also tear it down, or make drastic changes to its appearance.

“I hope that don’t just throw it to the wind and see what happens,” Smart said.

“With all the interest in (the TV series) “Mad Men” and in mid-century that’s coming around right now this is just a great example of that kind of architecture. And it could be stunning,” Preservation Durham Executive Director Wendy Hillis said. READ MORE…

Three NC High School Students Win Design Competition, Scholarships To NCSU Design Camp

North Carolina Modernist Houses (NCMH) is pleased to announce that Ian Price of McMichael High School

Site plan by Ian Price

Site plan by Ian Price

in Mayodan, Lacy Turner of Washington High School in Washington, and Wesley Pritzlaff of Rolesville High in Rolesville are the winners in the inaugural student category of the 2014 George Matsumoto Prize for Modern Residential Design across North Carolina.

The students’ submissions to the Matsumoto Prize was the result of their schools’ drafting classes participation in Project Bauhow, an educational initiative sponsored by NCMH with support from the Kramden Institute.

Project Bauhow (Bauhaus + Know-How) provides free desktop computers that support CAD (computer aided design) software to ninth and tenth grade students in carefully selected drafting classes statewide. The students who receive the computers do not have access to computers at home that can support the CAD software.

In exchange for the computers, the teachers agreed to have all of their students design a single-family

Elevation drawing by Lacy Turner

Elevation drawing by Lacy Turner

Modernist house that could be submitted to the Matsumoto Prize’s student category.

The assignment came with imaginary details about the size of the house, the number of people in the family, each individual’s special needs and/or interests, and other information an architect would need to design a home specific to the site and the client. In this imaginary family, two sisters are moving in together with their children, one of whom is confined to a wheel chair so accessibility was an issue. (To read more about the students’ assignment, go to

Members of the Triangle Area Design Society —  architects Frank Harmon, Dennis Stallings, Phil Szostak, David Hill, and Jeffrey Lee — juried this year’s competition and determined that Ian’s, Lacy’s, and Wesley’s designs were the best from their respective schools.

As a result, NCMH is giving these three students scholarships to attend North Carolina State University’s well-known Design Day Camp from July 14-18, 2014.

“Through the establishment of Project Bauhow, North Carolina Modernist Houses is to be commended for

Floorplan by Wesley Pritzlaff

Floorplan by Wesley Pritzlaff

its efforts to give high school students access to computers and technology that might otherwise be unavailable to them,” said Dennis Stallings, FAIA, who is also a professor at NCSU’s College of Design. “Giving these students the ability to experience a real design problem and execute it opens the door for many of them to potentially pursue a career in design. The students should be commended for taking on this design challenge and learning the software that allowed them to execute it.”

North Carolina Modernist Houses is an award-winning non-profit organization dedicated to archiving, preserving, and promoting Modernist residential design statewide. For more information visit www.ncmodernistorg.

For more information on Project Bauhow, click here. To see a WNCT TV segment on one of the winners, click here.

For more information on the 2014 George Matsumoto Prize for architects and designers who have built single-family houses anywhere in North Carolina, visit

WNCT TV: “Washington student wins drafting contest”

By Maria Satira, Weekend Anchor

North Carolina Modernist Houses' Project Bauhow

Lacy Turner of Washington High School

A Beaufort County high school student wins a statewide architecture contest.

Lacy Turner competed with 60 other students in Project Bauhow.

It’s an annual design contest sponsored by a North Carolina Modernist Houses architecture organization for high school drafting students.

Turner, who is a 10th grader at Washington High School followed the prompt to design a modernist house for a family of five with a special needs child in a wheel chair.

“I built an elevator in the house for easy access to both levels of the house and i built her room especially for her so she’s able to access her bathroom and her shower,” said Turner.

She is one of three winners across the state and gets a scholarship to a design day camp at North Carolina State University this July. CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE SEGMENT


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