North Carolina Modernist Houses Receives National DOCOMOMO-US Award


US architecture organization recognizes NCMH’s archives, events, and programs.


March 3, 2014 (Durham, NC) – DOCOMOMO-US, the American branch of an international organization dedicated to documenting and conserving Modernist architecture, recently announced that North Carolina Modernist Houses (NCMH) has received an inaugural Modernism In America Award.

DOCOMOMO stands for the DOcumentation and COnservation of the MOdern MOvement. The Modernism In America jury awarded a Citation of Merit to NCMH founder George Smart for his organization’s contributions to documenting modern architecture at

The jury also noted the vast amount of information included on the NCMH website in addition to the group’s ongoing events and programs aimed to promote and document Modernism in North Carolina and beyond.

The DOCOMOMO-US citation marks NCMH’s 11th historic preservation award.

“Mid-century Modernist houses are frequently marginalized by real estate agents. Even owners often don’t know much about what they are selling,” Smart said. “That translates directly into long vacancies and a higher probability of eventual demolition. Eleventh-hour interventions rarely work. Besides, developers are not the enemy. The time to act is the moment you hear a Modernist house is on the market. The earlier you get involved and the more history the community has, the better chance a Modernist house has of finding a new, caring owner.”

The Modernism In America Awards is the first national program of its kind to celebrate the projects and people working to sensitively preserve and rehabilitate significant mid-century modern buildings and to raise public awareness of the ongoing threats to modern architecture and design.

“The quality and variety of the nominated projects for the inaugural year speaks to the increasing interest in the cultural value mid-century architecture brings to the United States,” said Theo Prudon, FAIA, president of DOCOMOMO-US.  DOCOMOMO-US will present the awards in Houston, Texas, March 13-15 during its 2014 National Symposium.  For more information:

For more information on North Carolina Modernist Houses visit

About NC Modernist Houses:


North Carolina Modernist Houses (NCMH) is an award-winning 501C3 nonprofit established in 2007 dedicated to documenting, preserving, and promoting Modernist residential design. The website is now the world’s largest open digital archive for Modernist residential design.  NCMH also hosts popular architecture events every month, giving the public access to the most exciting residential architecture, past and present. These tours and events raise awareness and help preserve these “livable works of art” for future generations. For more information:

NC Modernist Houses Announces 2014 Advisory Council

Drawing from the diverse Modernist architecture, real estate, and preservation communities.

Nov. 14, 2013 (Durham, NC) – George Smart, Executive Director of North Carolina Modernist Houses (NCMH), has announced the 2014 NCMH Advisory Council.  Members, selected for their knowledge and experience in the greater design community, serve a one-year term. 

The NCMH Advisory Council is comprised of a unique, diverse cross-section of architecture, real estate, historic preservation, and other disciplines. Advisory Council members support and improve NCMH’s programming and provide input on NCMH programming and events, presentations, Project Bauhow, the George Matsumoto Prize, and fundraising.  The NCMH Advisory Council meets twice a year.

The members of the 2014 NCMH Advisory Council are:

·       Ellen Cassilly, AIA

·       Caterri Woodrum, North Carolina Museum of Art

·       Randy Lanou, Buildsense

·       Gwynn Thayer, NC State University Special Collections

·       Martha Lauer, Raleigh Historic Districts Commission

·       Grace Ueng, Savvy Marketing Group

·       Tara Barthelmess, Rolesville High School

·       Jerry Tester, Smart Homes and Business

·       Marjorie Hodges, Contemporary Art Museum, Raleigh

·       Heather Fearnbach, Fearnbach History Services

·       Michael Abensour, Kramden Institute

·       Virginia Faust, Coldwell Banker

·       Wendy Robineau

·       Bailey Allred, HH Architecture

·       Kim Weiss, Blueplate PR

·       Bill Hopkins, AIA

·       Ernest Dollar, City of Raleigh Museum

NC Modernist Houses, Preservation Durham To Co-Host Special “Thirst4Architecture” Happy Hour

Both non-profits welcome design enthusiasts to networking event at Straw Valley Café

Inside Straw Valley Cafe

Inside Straw Valley Cafe


August 20, 2013 (Durham, NC) —  NC Modernist Houses (NCMH) and Preservation Durham will host a special addition to NCMH’s 2013 “Thirst4Architecture” series of happy hour networking events on Thursday, September 19, from 5:30 until 7:30 p.m. at Straw Valley Café in Durham.

“Thirst4Architecture” events provide anyone interested in Modernist architectural design a chance to get together in an informal environment. The events are free and open to the public. Free, light appetizers will accompany the cash bar.

“We’re delighted to co-host this special T4A happy hour with NC Modernist Houses in a location that has such a rich history within our city,” said Wendy Hillis, Executive Director of Preservation Durham.

Straw Valley Café is a collection of structures that house a coffee bar, wine bar, stores, a courtyard, and an event hall. The property was first a dairy farm named for the broomcorn straw that grew along the Durham-Chapel Hill highway. Fifty-three years ago, artists Robert Keith Black and J. Osmond Sanderson converted the barn into their living-working quarters, filling it with Modernist furniture and art. As a result, Straw Valley was the subject of newspaper articles, magazine photo shoots, and home tours throughout the 1970s.

Current owner Scott Bednaz of Terracorp Properties was also one of Preservation Durham’s Pyne Award winners in 2012. The Pyne Award is given to both homeowners and commercial property owners for sensitive restoration projects that preserve Durham’s historic architecture and architectural heritage.

Now as Straw Valley Café, the house has been renovated to recall its structure as a barn yet it is once again filled with contemporary furniture and decor to honor its former residents.

“We welcome anyone interested in architecture and historic preservation of our architectural heritage to join us and enjoy the Straw Valley ambience,” said NCMH founder and director George Smart. “T4A focuses on building relationships, generating passion for good design, creating strategic alliances, and connecting people to each other. There are no presentations. We just want folks to come out and enjoy themselves.”

Straw Valley Café is located at 5420 Durham-Chapel Hill Boulevard, Durham, NC 27707 (919-403-2233). For directions and more information visit


Capital Area Preservation and NC Modernist Houses Co-Host “Mayberry Modernism”

NCMH’s George Smart will discuss North Carolina’s legacy of extraordinary Modernist houses, 224339_LcdpQI4KnjOcIPzFVlM82wquEsuch as the recently demolished Paschal House in Raleigh.

July 11, 2013 (Raleigh, NC) – Capital Area Preservation (CAP), Wake County’s non-profit historic preservation organization, along with North Carolina Modernist Houses (formerly Triangle Modernist Houses), will host “Mayberry Modernism: North Carolina’s Modernist Legacy,” a presentation by NCMH director George Smart, on Wednesday, August 7, at 5:30 p.m. in the new AIA NC Center for Architecture & Design, 14 East Peace Street in downtown Raleigh. The event is free and open to the public or $10 for architects who want continuing education credit.

“Mayberry Modernism” showcases North Carolina’s surprising collection of Modernist residences from the 1950s through today, many of which are in good shape but some of which are endangered or have been destroyed.

“CAP is delighted to partner with George Smart and NC Modernist Houses to bring this interesting and informative presentation to Raleigh,” said Gary Roth, CAP Executive Director. “Our commitment to preservation of the whole spectrum of Wake County’s historic architecture and George’s enthusiasm for the Modernist houses that are such a significant portion of that spectrum in Raleigh and Wake County is the perfect fit. Whether you are a Modernist house aficionado or if Modernist houses are totally new to you, I believe that you will enjoy and learn from George’s presentation.”

Founded in 1972, Capital Area Preservation is Wake County’s only countywide non-profit historic preservation organization. CAP’s mission is to advocate and invest in the preservation of historic resources as an essential element of Wake County’s growth. For more information, visit the CAP website at

For more information on “Mayberry Modernism: North Carolina’s Modernist Legacy,” go to and click on “Speaking.”


George Smart Receives 2011 Preservation Durham Advocacy Award

Triangle Modernist Houses’ founder and director praised at awards ceremony.

June 20, 2011 (Durham, NC) — George Smart, founder and director of Triangle Modernist Houses (TMH), a non-profit organization dedicated to documenting, preserving and promoting modernist residential design, is a 2011 recipient of Preservation Durham’s Advocacy Award for individual effort.

The 2011 Preservation Awards were announced during Preservation Durham’s Annual Meeting on June 15.

“George’s labor of love has turned, in a few short years, into the country’s largest online archive for modern architecture and modernism,” Preservation Durham announced during the awards presentation. “George has made it his personal mission to actively promote the value of modern architecture in our daily lives and in our architectural heritage – from mid-century/1950s houses to new construction – as well as the architects who design them.”

The award presentation cited Smart’s ongoing effort to archive and promote historic preservation “by cataloging the disappearing mid-century modern homes and commercial structures throughout the Triangle region and state, many of which we have lost and, sadly, many of which are currently at-risk.”

The presentation also cited TMH’s weekly newsletter and free listing of modernist houses for sale that helps realtors find buyers for those houses, especially those in danger of being demolished.

“But George’s hard work, dedication, and commitment to historic preservation is illustrated by more than a single website,” the announcement continued, pointing out TMH’s many house tours, dinners, tours outside the state, annual architecture movie series, and other educational programs.

“Educating the public about the importance of preserving the architectural treasures of the recent past is always a challenge for local and regional non-profits,” the announcement concluded. “The Triangle is fortunate and we are grateful to have such a staunch advocate, volunteer, and crusader in George Smart.”

Smart expressed his gratitude for the award:  “Durham has an amazing range of Modernist houses, many of which are approaching 50 years old. Now is the time for the community to recognize these houses as the next generation of Durham’s history. TMH is proud to help Durham cherish that legacy through our online archive. We are honored to receive this award.”

This marks the fourth public accolade Smart and TMH have received. In 2008, TMH received an Award of Merit from the Preservation Society of Chapel Hill and a Gertrude S. Carraway Award from Preservation North Carolina. In 2009, TMH received the Paul E. Buchanan Award from the Vernacular Architecture Forum and a Sir Walter Raleigh Award for Community Appearance from the City of Raleigh.

For more information on Preservation Durham and its awards program, visit

For more information on George Smart and Triangle Modernist Houses, visit


George Smart To Address National Preservation Conference

George Smart

George Smart

September 22, 2009 (DURHAM, NC) – George Smart of Durham, NC, the founder and director of Triangle Modern Archives, Inc. and, will be part of a panel of seasoned preservationists and colleagues from around the nation that will address the preservation of modern resources during the National Trust of Historic Preservation’s National Conference. The Conference will be held in Nashville, Tennessee, from October 13 to 17.

The theme for the 2009 National Conference is “Sustaining The Future In Harmony With Our Past.” The interactive session in which George Smart will participate, dubbed “Help! There’s this Modern Resource I Want to Save,” will be held Friday, October 16, from 1:30 – 3 p.m.

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Putting The Ease in Easements: How To Save Modernist Houses From Future Bulldozers

July 22, 2009 (RALEIGH, NC) — Property easements aren’t sexy, but they are important, especially when they concern property with historic value. Easements protect historic structures by assuring that the property’s intrinsic values will be preserved through subsequent ownership.

To help the general public understand how easements work, what they protect, their advantages and disadvantages, Triangle Modernist (TMH) will present a workshop and panel discussion in the new addition to Pullen Memorial Church, 1801 Hillsborough Street in downtown Raleigh, on Saturday, August 15, from 10-11:30 a.m.

"Green" addition, Pullen Memorial Baptist Church, Raleigh

"Green" addition, Pullen Memorial Baptist Church, Raleigh

Members of the panel will include TMH founder and executive director George Smart; Elizabeth Sappenfield, director of Urban Issues for Preservation North Carolina and the National Trust for Historic Preservation; J. Myrick Howard, executive director, Preservation North Carolina; and Sig Hutchinson, a Wake County insurance agent who is best known for his work in protecting and preserving open space and expanding Raleigh’s greenway system.

TMH’s George Smart is particularly interested in how preservation easements can save mid-century Modernist houses from being razed in the Triangle.

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