VANITY FAIR: “Is This House Too Modern To Exist?”

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By Paul Goldberger

 

Lewis Mumford wrote that, in a city, “time becomes visible.” Not, it would appear, in Raleigh, North Carolina, where a city board has just decided that a rather discreet and understated modern house needs to be torn down because it damages the ambience of a historic district, which is to say it destroys the illusion that the neighborhood is a place in which time has stopped.

It’s actually a little more bizarre than that. Louis Cherry, a respected Raleigh architect, and his wife, Marsha Gordon, had long liked the Oakwood neighborhood, a pleasant, older section of town not far from the center of Raleigh, and a couple of years ago they bought a parcel of land on Euclid Street, in the heart of what is called the Oakwood Historic District. Oakwood is not the kind of historic district you would find in, say, New Orleans, where the buildings are of pretty much the same style and the same period. It’s a mix of 19th- and 20th-century houses, of varying size, style, and quality, and construction there is overseen by the Raleigh Historic Development Commission, which, working under pre-determined design guidelines for historic districts, opines on whether or not it considers plans for new construction in the district appropriate….

….The state [has] a wonderful preservation organization called North Carolina Modernist Houses that focuses on educating the public about modern design and saving endangered houses. The organizers have taken up the Oakwood cause—the first time, I suspect, that they have ever had to fight to preserve a modern house before it was even finished. READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE HERE

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TRIANGLE BUSINESS JOURNAL: “Modernist fans hope to save iconic Glenwood Avenue building”

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By Amanda Jones Hoyle

 

With plans under way now to tear down the 1960s-era, two-story office building at 3515 Glenwood Ave. in Raleigh, preservationists and fans of its modernist style of architecture are seeking the business community’s help to save it.

George Smart, executive director of North Carolina Modernist Homes, says his group will be hosting an open house at the Glenwood building on May 7 in hopes of finding a potential office tenant interested in leasing the 35,000-square-foot building space as-is. READ MORE…

MODTriangle Architecture Movie Series Spotlight Mies van der Rohe

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The series will screen “Regular or Super: Views on Mies van der Rohe” December 11.

 

November 25, 2013 (Raleigh, NC) — The 2013-14 MODTriangle Architecture Movie Series, hosted by North Carolina Modernist Houses (NCMH) and sponsored by Sarah Sonke of MODTriangle, continues Wednesday, December 11, with a special screening of “Regular or Super: Views on Mies van der Rohe,” a documentary on the German-American architect and master of Modernist design, at the Raleigh Grande Cinema in Raleigh.

Mies van der Rohe (1886-1969) designed such high-profile buildings as The Seagram Building in New York City, Lake Shore Drive Apartments in Chicago, The Barcelona Pavilion in Barcelona, Spain, and the Neue Nationalgalerie in Berlin, Germany. He also designed furniture, including the iconic Barcelona Chair.

But In 1967, at the end of a career spanning more than six decades, he designed a gas station near Montreal. Filmmakers Patrick Demers and Joseph Hillel use the story of that gas station to introduce his entire body of work. As the New York Times described the documentary:

The program begins with an unusual illustration of the less-is-more philosophy — the creation of a simple Montreal gas station in 1967, late in van der Rohe’s career — and from there, expands into a panoramic view of his life, from his instruction at Bauhaus in the ’30s, through his departure to America, to his death in 1969, and all of the astonishing creations in-between.”

The Chicago Tribune’s movie critic Michael Wilmington noted that the documentary is “well-filmed, well-spoken, not overly adulatory, not pushily dramatic or agenda-laden. It gives us a brief sketch of Mies’ life and shows us a number of his beautiful buildings and interiors, accompanied by a hip jazz soundtrack.”

The film 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).

Sponsors for the entire series are the Contemporary Art Museum-Raleigh, VMZink, Kontek Systems, and Alison Steele of A+S Design.

For more information on these and future films in the series, go to www.trianglemodernisthouses.com/movies.htm.

 

 

 

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 http://cappresinc.org/index.php.

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

 

Byrd Tile To Host June’s “Thirst4Architecture” Happy Hour

Triangle Modernist Houses’ monthly networking event for design enthusiasts.188697_135360139865983_5292372_n

June 5, 2013 (Raleigh, NC) – Byrd Tile Distributors will host Triangle Modernist Houses’ (TMH) popular “Thirst4Architecture” happy hour in the company’s Raleigh showroom on Thursday, June 27, from 6-8 p.m. The event is free and open to the public and will include food, drinks, and live music.

Thirst4Architecture (T4A) events are casual gathering opportunities for anyone interested in architecture and design. The host business provides refreshments and other entertainment.

“T4A events focus on building relationships, generating passion about good design, creating strategic alliances, and connecting people to each other,” said TMH founder and director George Smart. “We welcome Modernist homeowners, architects, artists, designers, realtors, engineers, contractors, property investors, building managers,  materials and furniture dealers, and anyone else with a huge crush on great architecture.”

Byrd Tile Distributors is a locally owned and operated supplier for kitchen, bathroom, entry, fireplace, living area, and outdoor applications. Herbert Byrd founded the company in 1975. His son Greg has continued to run it since 1982 and added another showroom in Greenville. The Raleigh showroom is located at 3400 Tarheel Drive. For more information visit www.byrdtile.com.

For more information on Triangle Modernist Houses and other T4A events, go to www.trianglemodernisthouses.com.

 

A Modernist Passing: Death Of The Paschal House In Raleigh

Photo by Colin Campbell for the News & Observer

Photo by Colin Campbell for the News & Observer

Though praised by Frank Lloyd Wright, Paschal heirs tear down their iconic childhood home.

March 5, 2013 (Raleigh, NC) – Despite years of preservationists pursuing every conceivable option to save it, the 1950 George and Beth Paschal House, a Raleigh mid-century modern icon designed by James Fitzgibbon that even Frank Lloyd Wright praised, was suddenly destroyed on Friday, March 1.

Concerned preservationists were completely unaware that demolition was imminent. That very morning George Smart, founder and director of the non-profit Triangle Modernist Houses (TMH), along with Myrick Howard, President of Preservation North Carolina, and Raleigh architect Frank Harmon, FAIA, presented a petition to the City of Raleigh to have the Paschal house declared a Raleigh Historic Landmark.  Such designation would have put a “stay of execution” on any demolition.

As lead petitioner, Smart prepared the extensive documents and hand-delivered them on Friday, March 1, to City officials.  By noon he learned that, without public knowledge, the heirs obtained a demolition permit two weeks earlier and a backhoe was already on site that moment, knocking down the house.

The property will be subdivided into five lots. “We don’t have all the information yet,” Smart said, “but this appears not to be a straight sale. The heirs are partnering with a developer, Anderson Marlowe, to build five $2 million-plus McMansions. That’s not going to be easy in this economy, even in that neighborhood.”

“It’s a tragedy,” Frank Harmon told the Raleigh News & Observer that afternoon. “We’ve lost the greatest example of residential design in the last 60 years.”  The house was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1994.

“What’s really sad,” Smart added, “is that the heirs could have subdivided the land into four lots and walked away with $2- to $2.5 million five years ago, thus saving the house. And by now it would have been remodeled and loved by new owners.”

“It was an act of vandalism,” an irate Myrick Howard told the newspaper

To read the News & Observer’s full report on the demolition of the 1950 Paschal House: http://www.newsobserver.com/2013/03/01/2718520/demolition-of-modernist-raleigh.html

For a complete history of the house, including the many preservation efforts, go to http://www.trianglemodernisthouses.com/fitzgibbon.htm and scroll down to “1950.”

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Triangle Modernist Houses Presents “Eames: The Architect and The Painter”

A documentary film on designers Charles and Ray Eames ends the 4th annual Nowell’s Architecture Movie Series.

Charles and Ray Eames

Charles and Ray Eames

January 23, 2012 (Raleigh, NC) — Triangle Modernist Houses (TMH) will conclude its 4th Annual Nowell’s Architecture Movie Series with a special screening of “Eames: The Architect and The Painter” on Thursday, February 7, at 7:30 p.m. at the Raleigh Grande cinema in Raleigh.

Charles Eames and his wife and partner, Ray, are widely regarded as two of America’s most important designers. They are perhaps best remembered for their mid-century modern plywood and fiberglass furniture, yet their Venice, California-based firm created an astonishing variety of other products, from splints for wounded soldiers during World War II, to photography, interiors, multi-media exhibits, graphics, games, films, and toys.

Their personal lives and their influence on significant events in American life have been less widely understood – from the development of modernism, to the rise of the computer age.  In its review of the documentary, the New York Times suggested that Charles and Ray Eames’ approach to product design and the presentation of information “was in its way as influential as [Apple founder Steve] Jobs’…[and] left traces in nearly every aspect of contemporary life.”

Created by Jason Cohn and Bill Jersey and narrated by James Franco, “Eames: The Architect and The Painter” is the first film since the Eames’ deaths dedicated to their creative geniuses and work. To view a trailer, go to www.trianglemodernisthouses.com/movies.

Lee Hansley Gallery in Raleigh is sponsoring this special screening. Modern Home Auction, Go Realty, The Kitchen Specialist, and Carrington Electric LLC, and VMZinc, as well as Nowell’s Contemporary Furniture, have sponsoring the entire series.

Individual admission is $9 per person per film, available at the door. Mod Squad members are admitted free. Proceeds benefit TMH’s ongoing documentation, preservation, and promotion programs for modernist residential architecture from the 1950s to today. To order advance tickets, go to www.trianglemodernisthouses.com/movies.

The Raleigh Grande is located at 4840 Grove Barton Road, Raleigh NC 27613, just off Lynn Road and Glenwood Avenue/Highway 70 West (919-226-2012).

For more information on Triangle Modernist Houses, visit www.trianglemodernisthouses.com.