December Film Celebrates Frank Sinatra’s Architect

“The Nature of Modernism” explores the work

of E. Stewart Williams

The 1947 Sinatra house, designed by E. Stewart Willams

The 1947 Sinatra house, designed by E. Stewart Willams

The Nature of Modernism,” the December screening from the 2016-2017 MoHo Realty Architecture Movie Series, presented by North Carolina Modernist Houses, explores the work of architect E. Stewart Williams, the prolific modernist who designed Frank Sinatra’s iconic house in Palm Beach. The film will be screened in The Hunt Library auditorium, NCSU Centennial Campus, Thursday, December 1, starting at 7:30 p.m.

“When Frank Sinatra walked into E. Stewart Williams’ newly established architectural office in May of 1947 he wanted a Georgian-style house built in the desert of Palm Springs. Williams tactfully convinced him of the benefits of modernism and Sinatra went for it. The two had no idea how far reaching and influential that decision would prove to be.” (Denver Art Museum on the film’s premiere there)

The film traces Williams’ family history and professional career from his early days designing Sinatra’s house, to later years producing civic structures, including the Crafton Hills College, Palm Springs Art Museum, and the Santa Fe Federal Savings, now the Palm Springs Art Museum’s Architecture and Design Center, Edwards Harris Pavilion.

Each fall, the award-winning non-profit organization North Carolina Modernist Houses presents its annual movie series of hard-to-find architecture-related films. NCMH screens the films once a month through February.

Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets are $10 at the door. Cash and credit cards are accepted. Mod Squad members get in free until capacity is reached. The first 100 NCSU students with a student ID are admitted free of charge. NCSU Friends of the Library members receive 10 percent off the ticket price with a “Friends of the Library” card.

MoHoRealty — specializing in modern and unique architect-designed homes in Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill — sponsors the entire series along with VMZinc, Hill Country Wood Works, and The Kitchen Specialist. For more information on the series, the films, and to view trailers, go to

The Hunt Library is located on Centennial Campus at 1070 Partners Way, Raleigh (27606). Free parking is available adjacent to the library. For directions, go to or call 919-515-7110.


2016-2017 MoHo Architecture Movie Series Opens with “Desert Utopia”


The 2016-2017 MoHo Realty Architecture Movie Series, presented by North Carolina Modernist Houses, begins on Thursday, October 13, in the Hunt Library Auditorium at NC State University with a series-long tribute to Palm Springs — California’s desert resort city known for its hot springs, stylish hotels and spas, and its many fine examples of midcentury modern architecture.

The first film in the series is “Desert Utopia,” which traces the origins of midcentury architecture in Palm Springs from the first bold forays into modernist design to the preservation challenges facing the region today. Director Jake Gorst takes viewers into landmark structures by Richard Neutra, Albert Frey, E. Stewart Williams, Donald Wexler, William Cody, and William Krisel, and offers never-before-seen archival footage of the architects and the structures’ construction. The film also includes interview with historians, homeowners, and the architects who helped create this mecca of modernism.

According to, “Desert Utopia” is a “must-see flick.”

Each fall, the award-winning non-profit organization North Carolina Modernist Houses (NCMH) launches its annual winter movie series of hard-to-find architecture-related films.

Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets are $10 at the door. Cash and credit cards are accepted. Mod Squad members get in free until capacity is reached. The first 100 NCSU students with a student ID are admitted free of charge. NCSU Friends of the Library and OLLI members receive 10 percent off the ticket price with their group ID card.

MoHoRealty specializes in modern and unique architect-designed homes in Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill and sponsors the series. Other sponsors include VMZinc and Hill Country Wood Works. For more information, and to view trailers, go to

The Hunt Library is located on Centennial Campus at 1070 Partners Way, Raleigh. Free parking is available adjacent to the library. For parking and directions, go to

NCMH Concludes the 2015-16 MoHo Realty Architecture Movie Series with Double Feature, Special Exhibit

North Carolina Modernist Houses (NCMH) will conclude its 2015-2016 MoHo Realty Architecture Movie Series with a double feature on Thursday, February 4, in the James B. Hunt Library auditorium, beginning at 7:30 p.m.

The first film will be the 30-minute, multi-award-winning movie-archidocumentary “Archiculture,” a thoughtful yet critical look at the architectural studio. Directed by Ian Harris and David Krantz, the film offers a revealing glimpse into the world of studio-based design education through the eyes of a group of students finishing their final design projects. Interviews with leading professionals, historians, and educators help create crucial dialogue around the key issues faced by this unique teaching methodology as well as the built environment these future architects will create. (View the trailer here.)

ny_logo_mikrofilmThe second film is an animated short by Torill Kove entitled “Me and My Moulton.” In this witty film set in 1960s Norway, a seven-year-old girl asks her hopelessly out-of-touch Modernist parents for a bicycle, but the unconventional ways of this architect couple soon produce comical embarrassment and anxiety. It was nominated for a 2015 Academy Award. (View the trailer here.)

A Special Treat: NCMH suggests movie-goers arrive early the see a rare exhibit provided by the Special Collections Research Center at the NC State University Libraries: a collection of Modernist architectural drawings created by noted North Carolina modernists John Latimer, George Matsumoto, and James Fitzgibbon.

Doors open at 7 pm. Tickets are $10 at the door. NCMH’s Mod Squad members are admitted free until capacity is reached. The first 100 NCSU students with their student IDs will also get in free. NCSU Friends of the Library members receive 10 percent off tickets with their Friends of the Library cards.

Sarah Sonke of MoHo Realty has sponsored the entire 2015-16 series. Other sponsors include VMZinc, The Kitchen Specialist, and Hill Country Woodworks of Chapel Hill.

The James B. Hunt Jr. Library Auditorium is located on NC State University’s Centennial Campus at 1070 Partners Way, Raleigh. Free parking is available.

For more information on NCMH and the MoHo Realty Architecture Movie Series, visit

MODTriangle Architecture Movie Series: “The Vision of Paolo Soleri”

soleri-movieA documentary on the late Italian architect, environmentalist, philosopher.

The 2014-15 MODTriangle Architecture Movie Series, hosted by North Carolina Modernist Houses (NCMH) and sponsored by Sarah Sonke of MODTriangle, continues Wednesday, February 4, at 7:30 p.m. with a special screening of “The Vision of Paolo Soleri: Prophet In The Desert” at Full Frame Theatre, American Tobacco Campus, in downtown Durham.

Directed by Scottsdale filmmaker Lisa Scafuro, the 2013 documentary explores Italian architect ad environmentalist Paolo Soleri’s unprecedented artistic quest.

Soleri (1919-2013) came to America in 1946 to meet and mentor under Frank Lloyd Wright at Taliesin West, Arizona. After a year and a half, Soleri left Wright to embark on a blazing original course of his own that drew people from Jimi Hendrix to Buckminster Fuller to listen and learn from the artist, philosopher, and architect.

Soleri explored the countless possibilities of human aspiration. His most outstanding endeavor is Arcosanti, an urban laboratory constructed in the Arizona high desert that focuses on innovative design, community, and environmental accountability. “Arcosanti attempts to test and demonstrate an alternative human habitat which is greatly needed in this increasingly perplexing world,” according to the Arcosanti website. Arcosanti also exemplifies Soleri’s “steadfast devotion to creating an experiential space to ‘prototype’ an environment in harmony with man.”

The film took seven years to complete but Soleri was able to view a rough cut on his final birthday in 2012. According to the Arizona news site AZCentral, Soleri enjoyed the film and gave it his approval, telling Scafuro “Bravo.”

(To view a movie trailer on YouTube:

All tickets to the film are $10 at the door. Space is limited so movie goers are encouraged to arrive early. Full Frame Theatre is located within the American Tobacco Campus at 320 Blackwell Street, #101, Durham, NC 27702.

Blueplate PR in Raleigh is sponsoring this special screening. Series sponsors include The Kitchen Specialist, VMZinc, Palette & Parlor, and MdM Historic Consultants. For more information on NCMH and the entire 2014-15 Architecture Movie Series visit

NCMH Opens 2015 With Back-To-Back Events In Downtown Durham

A film on Santiago Calatrava’s “Turning Torso” building and a

Santiago Calatrava's "Twisted Tower" in Malmo, Sweden.

Santiago Calatrava’s “Twisted Tower” in Malmo, Sweden.

networking event at Kontek.

North Carolina Modernist Houses (NCMH) will open 2015 with two back-to-back Durham events: a special screening of a film about world-renowned architect Santiago Calatrava and a “Thirst4Architecture” (T4A) design networking event at Kontek Systems.

On Wednesday, January 7, at 7:30 pm, the NCMH MODTriangle Architecture Movie Series will present “The Socialist, The Architect, and The Twisted Tower,” the dramatic, behind-the-scenes story about building the tallest residential tower in Malmo, Sweden, that Santiago Calatrava said was inspired by a turning human torso. The environmentally sustainable, 620-foot-high, twisted building once was once named the “world’s best residential building project.”

The film will be shown at Full Frame Theatre, 320 Blackwell Street, on the American Tobacco Campus in Durham. Tickets are $10 per person at the door. Space is limited so early arrival is recommended. Sarah Sonke of ModTriangle, specializing in Modernist real estate sales and auctions, is sponsoring the entire movie series. The Calatrava film’s specific sponsor is Center Studio Architecture, specializing in modern downtown Durham development.

PrintThe following night, Thursday, January 8, Frank Konhaus and Wes Newman of Kontek Systems will host NCMH’s first T4A networking  event in 2015 in their downtown Durham headquarters at 318 Holland Street from 6-8 pm. Free and open to the public, the event will include an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour of one of Kontek’s audio/video design and integration projects in downtown Durham.

T4A events connect hundreds of Modernist design enthusiasts in a casual environment. The host business provides refreshments and other entertainment while attendees build relationships, create strategic alliances, and make new contacts. Emilie Huin of 501 Realty sponsors the 2015 T4A series.

NCMH is an award-winning non-profit organization dedicated to documenting, preserving, and promoting Modernist residential design across the state. For the dates and locations of future movies and T4A events, visit


NCMH Launches 2014-2015 MODTriangle Architecture Movie Series

With a special screening of “Fully Awake: Black Mountain College.” FullyAwake

North CarolinaModernist Houses (NCMH) and MODTriangle Realty will launch the 2014-2015 MODTriangle Architecture Movie Series this Wednesday, October 1, at Full Frame Theater, American Tobacco Campus, Durham, NC, with a special showing of “Fully Awake: Black Mountain College” at 7:30 p.m.

Before the film, North Carolina State University College of Design Adjunct Associate Professor Margret Kentgens-Craig, author of The Bauhaus in America, will speak about the Bauhaus movement and Black Mountain College’s influence on architecture.

From October through February, NCMH and MODTriangle Realty will screen films focused on architecture once a month. Full Frame Theater will host most, but not all, of the films. The theater is located within the American Tobacco Campus at 319 Blackwell Street, Durham, NC 27701 (919.431.1566).

“Fully Awake: Black Mountain College” is a documentary film that explores the college’s radical approach to arts education. Throughout its existence from 1933-1957, this unique college in Western North Carolina was an influential experiment in education that inspired and shaped 20th century American art. This film screening is sponsored by Dail Dixon, FAIA.

imagesOn Wednesday, November 5, the movie series continues at Full Frame Theater with “Unfinished Spaces,” sponsored by BuildSense. This documentary looks at the radical designs three young, visionary architects created in 1961 when Fidel Castro and Che Guevara invited them to produce Cuba’s National Art Schools on the grounds of a former golf course in Havana, Cuba.

On Wednesday, December 3, comedy comes to the MODTriangle Movie Series when architect/blogger/comedian Jody Brown and stand-up comedian Marcie Maier accompany a screening of “The Fountainhead” (location to be announced). This classic 1949 film is based on Ayn Rand’s novel by the same name, which illuminates idealism versus reality in the pursuit of architecture. Starring Gary Cooper and Patricia Neal, the film now displays some humerous and awkward moments, which Brown and Maier will exploit. The event is sponsored by Carrington Electric LLC.

On Wednesday, January 7, Full Frame Theater will host a documentary about Santiago Calatrava Valls, the renowned Spanish neo-futuristic architect, structural engineer, sculptor, and painter whose buildings are often considered giant sculpture. The specific film and the location for the screening will be announced at a later date. Center Studio Architecture will sponsor the Calatrava film.

On Wednesday, February 4, the 2014-2015 series will conclude with “The Competition,” a documentary on the politics and the power struggles of an architecture competition for the Andorran National Museum of Art. The competition pitted five world-renowned “starchitects” against each other: Jean Nouvel, Frank Gehry, Dominique Perrault, Zaha Hadid, and Norman Foster. The museum remains unbuilt. This special screening, sponsored by Blueplate PR, will be held at the AIA NC Center for Architecture & Design, 14 East Peace Street, Raleigh, NC (919.833.6656).

All films begin at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 at the door. NCMH Mod Squad members are admitted free until capacity is reached. Seating is very limited so movie-goers are encouraged to arrive early

George Smart, NCMH director, will also raffle off various architecture-related items after each screening.

Additional sponsors for the 2014-2015 NCMH MODTriangle Movie Series include The Kitchen Specialist in Durham, VMZinc in Raleigh, and Palette & Parlor in Chapel Hill.

For more information on the movie series and NCMH in general, visit


MODTriangle Architecture Movie Series Opens With Double Feature

A special screening of “Futuro” and “People in Glass Houses” will be held October 2.


September 12, 2013 (Raleigh, NC) — The 2013-14 MODTriangle Architecture Movie Series will begin Wednesday, October 2,with a double feature presenting “Futuro: A New Stance For Tomorrow” and “People in Glass Houses: The Legacy of Joseph Eichler.”

Hosted by North Carolina Modernist Houses (NCMH) and sponsored by Sarah Sonke of MODTriangle, the movie series will screen architecture-related movies once a month from October through February 2014 at the Raleigh Grande.Futuro

“Futuro: A New Stance For Tomorrow” is a short film that journeys back in time to the “futuristic past” to investigate the rise and fall of the plastic Futuro house designed by architect Matti Suuronen. In 1965, Dr. Jaako Hiidenkary asked Suuronen to design a ski cabin. That commission turned into a round, prefabricated house with a distinctive “flying saucer” shape and airplane hatch entrance. The little house measured 13 feet high and 26 feet in diameter.

Futoro’s story is “full of international color and drama,” the movie’s promotional material claims, “tracing the development of Suuronen’s ‘purely mathematical idea’ into a multipurpose commodity, which is eventually destroyed by time and public opinion.”

“People in Glass Houses,” sponsored by architect Dail Dixon, FAIA, explores architect Joseph Eichler’s departure from cookie-cutter suburban tracts of the postwar era to innovative, modern houses that, together, created communities built around common-use parks and pools. Eichler built nearly 11,000 of his single-family houses in California beginning in the 1940s. According to the Eichler, these houses “befuddled the traditional masses—emphasizing boldness, change, and optimism through indoor-outdoor living, walls of glass, atriums, and radiant-heat floors.”

In the film, three generations of the same family, all of whom own Eichler homes, talk about returning to a simpler time when kids played ball in cul-de-sacs at night. They also share resources for maintaining the integrity of the original glass-walled structures. 

The double feature begins at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $9 and are available at the NCMH Ticket Desk inside the Raleigh Grande at 4840 Grove Barton Road, Raleigh (27613).

Additional movies series sponsors include the Contemporary Art Museum in downtown Raleigh, VMZINC, Kontek, and Alison Steele of A + S Design. For more information on these and future films in the series, go to