NEWS & OBSERVER: “Modernist house draws crowd in Chapel Hill”

Dorothee Thielisch of Chapel Hill walks down a hallway during a tour Saturday of Modernist architect Arthur Cogswell’s home on North Elliott Road. (N&O photo)

Dorothee Thielisch of Chapel Hill walks down a hallway during a tour Saturday of Modernist architect Arthur Cogswell’s home on North Elliott Road. (N&O photo)

By Nash Dunn

Sitting poolside, in a corner of this mid-century Modernist courtyard, sisters Elizabeth Cogswell Baskin and Amanda Cogswell Kirk chuckle as they reminisce about their childhood home.

They remember their parents’ parties, where college professors pushed one another in the pool and wore swim floaties to bob up and down in the water. There were also massive slumber parties, some of which included up to 35 of the sisters’ friends.

The house, on the quiet North Elliott Road just north of downtown Chapel Hill, was also known for its annual pool cleanup days. “On the first hot weekend in May, our dad would drain the pool and you had a bunch of 8-year-old girls in bikinis with scrub brushes,” Baskin said. READ MORE…

The NCMH/Nowell’s Architecture Movie Series Presents “Fallingwater”

The screening will take place in the series’ new venue: the Raleigh Grande.

November 14, 2012 (Raleigh, NC) — North Carolina Modernist Houses’ Nowell’s Architecture Movie Series will continue on Thursday, December 6, at 7:30 p.m. with a special screening of the 2011 documentary “Fallingwater:  Frank Lloyd Wright’s Masterwork with Reflections of Edgar Kaufmann Jr. “ at the Raleigh Grande in Raleigh.

Created by filmmaker Kenneth Love, the documentary celebrates the internationally renowned house that architect Frank Lloyd Wright designed for Edgar Kaufman Sr. in 1935 in rural southwestern Pennsylvania. The house is built partly over a waterfall in the Laurel Highlands of the Allegheny Mountains, hence its name.

Shortly after its completion, Time magazine declared Fallingwater Wright’s “most beautiful job.” It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1966. In 1991, members of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) named the house the “best all-time work of American architecture.” In 2007, Fallingwater was ranked 29th on the list of America’s Favorite Architecture, according to the AIA. And it is listed on the Smithsonian Institution’s Life List of 28 places “to visit before you die.”

The film features rare home movies, as well as an extensive interview with Edgar Kaufmann, Jr. discussing why his family built the house and the events that led to Wright’s commission. His personal observations and anecdotes provide insight as he describes the special features of the house.

Sponsored by VMZINC, this special screening will be the first at the NCMH/Nowell’s Movie Series new location. The Galaxy Cinema in Cary, home of the series for the past three years, closed recently, so TMH director George Smart secured theater space at the Raleigh Grande , which is located at 4840 Grove Barton Road, Raleigh NC 27613, just off Lynn Road and Glenwood Avenue/Highway 70 West (919-226-2012).

Individual admission is $9 per person per film, available at the door.  Mod Squad members are admitted free.  Proceeds benefit Triangle Modernist Houses’ ongoing mission of documenting, preserving, and promoting modernist residential architecture.

The next film in the series will be “The Pruitt-Igoe Myth” on January 10, followed by “Eames: The Architect and The Painter” on February 7, both at the Raleigh Grande.

Sponsors for the entire movie series include Modern Home Auctions, GoRealty, The Kitchen Specialist, Carrington Electric, VMZINC, Lee Hansley Gallery, in situ studio, Maplewood Building, and Blueplate PR.

For advance tickets and to view a trailer of “Fallingwater,” go to

NEWS & OBSERVER: “Home Tour”

Cogswell House rendering

Cogswell House rendering

A prize-winning 1969 Modernist home in Chapel Hill will open Saturday for a one-time-only tour.

The home, at 308 N. Elliott Road, was designed and owned by architect Arthur Cogswell, who left a legacy of mid-20th century houses across North Carolina. His home, one of the first in the state built around a courtyard pool, is regarded as one of his most inspired designs.

His daughters, Amanda and Elizabeth Cogswell Baskin, recently completed a partial renovation of the home. READ MORE…

“Secret Museum” Benefit August 17 for NCMH Legal Defense Fund

Protecting historic review and property rights for Modernist houses

Inside the "Secret Museum"

Inside the “Secret Museum”

North Carolina Modernist Houses Legal Defense Fund will host a benefit in Hillsborough’s “secret building museum” – the largest private collection of building models in America — on Sunday, August 17, from 3 to 5:30 p.m.

Sponsored and catered by Phoebe Lawless and Scratch Bakery of Durham, the champagne reception is a benefit for the NCMH Legal Defense Fund (LDF), which protects Modernist houses under attack.

The LDF’s primary focus in 2014 is the Cherry-Gordon house in the Oakwood neighborhood in Raleigh. Louis Cherry and Marsha Gordon anticipate over $40,000 in legal fees and construction delays as they join with the City of Raleigh in a lawsuit against the Raleigh Board of Adjustment and neighbors Dave and Gail Wiesner. For a detailed timeline, see

“The community overwhelmingly objects to actions by the Wiesners that stopped Cherry-Gordon construction — despite complete historic review approval and building permits,” said NCMH’s Executive Director George Smart. “Because this precedent puts all building permits in jeopardy to the arbitrary whims of objecting neighbors, the City of Raleigh has joined Cherry-Gordon.”

The “secret museum” is a complex of five “Modern Greek Revival” buildings that Steven Burke and Randy Campbell have built or remodeled since 1994. These buildings, not open to the public, contain the nation’s largest collection of models of American folk art buildings — over 1000 houses and stores, Ferris wheels and carousels, gas stations, factories, theaters, schools, bridges, castles, and churches from the 1860s until about 1950.

Admission is $250 per person for a special guided tour at 3 p.m. and a $100 donation for a general tour at 4 p.m.  Advance tickets are available at

For more information on the NCMH Legal Defense Fund, go to