Architecture You Love


Recognizing Excellence in North Carolina Modernist Residential Design

The 2013 Matsumoto Prize Jury Winners:
1.  The Rank House, by Katherine Hogan and Vinny Petrarca - $3,000 prize
2.  The Chasen House, by Erin Sterling Lewis and Matt Griffith - $2,000 prize
3.  The Mountain Cabin, by Chad Everhart - $1,000 prize

The 2013 People's Choice winners:
The Dragonfly Villa, by Michael Ross Kersting
2.  The Chasen House, by Erin Sterling Lewis and Matt Griffith
3.  The Rank House, by Katherine Hogan and Vinny Petrarca


Enjoy browsing, but unless otherwise noted, these houses are private property and

closed to the public -- so don't go tromping around uninvited.
The 2008 Cartesian House, designed by Mark Allison, Asheville. Structural Engineer: Woody Kloesel. Photographer: Stewart Young. Contractor: Sean O'Neill. Tile contractor: Asheville Tileworks. Hardwood Flooring: English Brothers. Cable Rail: American Cable and Rigging.

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A spectacular promontory with views to the east and to the south is situated 150' above an abandoned rock quarry where a sheer stone face envelopes you. The view from within the stone enclosure was found to be in concert with the home's desire to shelter private living spaces while giving clear views to the natural bounty. Fractals and fragmentations of the quarry also informed the home's volumes and their apertures. A dialogue between cartesian geometry and sun, wind, and slope gives way to a home that serves to temper or harness the sun and wind according to seasonal desires.
The 2008 Barbara Residence, designed by Knox Tate, Chapel Hill.  Built by Tim & Anne Brown of New South Building Company; other providers included Superior Walls, Meld Concrete Countertops, Rice Metal Windows and Doors, Ikea Kitchens, and Metalcraft Steelwork. 

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This is a new home with attached garage and apartment nestled in and stepping up the natural rocky terrain, featuring: 10” prefab concrete walls floating on a bed of graded stone w/ foam super-insulation; special aggregate concrete and bamboo floors; wall and ceiling finishes with invisible and/or minimalist trim; alternating-step stairs, direct and indirect clerestory and skylight natural lighting and LED mechanical lighting; stepping ceilings and roofs with generous overhangs for sun and rain control; spaces that step to, look out to, and invite in the outside at every opportunity.
The 2008 Dragonfly Villa, designed by Michael Ross Kersting, WIlmington. Built by David Lennard.  Landscape Architect, Pamela Kersting. Photos by Joshua Curry. 

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By a lake in the midst of a traditional neighborhood rests a villa called Dragonfly.  Like its namesake, the home gently sits by the water's edge appearing poised to take flight.  Two wings housing sleeping, cooking, eating, and bathing areas are positioned opposite one another, joined by a windowed interstitial living space from which inhabitants can enjoy an intimate private courtyard view on one side and an expansive lake vista on the other.  Systems and storage are built into thick, hollow furniture-like walls that span the length of the structure, passing from outdoors to indoors and back out again.


The 2012 Brame Residence,  Durham, designed by Philip Szostak FAIA of Szostak Design. 
Built by Aiello Builders.  Structural Engineer:  Structural Visions. 

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This three-bedroom, 3,800 square foot home, used for frequent entertaining and family gatherings, demanded a free-flowing, contemporary architectural response. The house is comprised of two relatively opaque building volumes flanking a visually and physically transparent central living and entertainment space. The building masses to either side of the living area contain the kitchen, study and guest and master bedrooms.  The home’s primary exterior facades adopt a white painted masonry motif characteristic of adjoining 30’s era residences. Broadly projecting roof overhangs offer thermal protection and present pleasantly sheltered outdoor spaces for three-season entertaining.

The 2010 Smart/Stell House, Durham, designed by Vinny Petrarca and Katherine Hogan of Tonic Design. Built by Tonic Construction; Structural Engineer: Kaydos-Daniels Engineers; Photos: Todd Lanning.

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Our clients wanted a new house but not a new neighborhood. On one of their daily walks they found a 40-year-old structure for sale. The house, beyond repair, occupied a promising lot with a southeast exposure to a small lake. The new home’s design addresses two key site relationships: the neighborhood context and the landscape of the lake. From the street, the one-story building’s form is low, quiet and horizontal. The building sits deep on the site, respecting its adjacent neighbors. From the back the building opens up to the lake displaying a large expanse of glass maximizing the connection between the interior and the view.

The 2013 Rank Residence, Pittsboro, designed by Katherine Hogan and Vinny Petrarca of Tonic Design. Built by Tonic Construction; Structural Engineer: Kaydos-Daniels Engineers; Roof & Siding: Pickard Roofing; Framing: Lozano Framing; Welding: Brandon Watkins; Photos: Raymond Goodman.

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This client came to us asking for a “Modern Gothic” house. His interest in privacy, tall vertical spaces, and a fascination with stairs drove the design for the four-story house. Narrow vertical windows add to the building’s verticality while allowing for fast, affordable construction. These windows also provide the desired privacy while playing on the idea of “arrow loop” windows, which once provided protection for archers inside Gothic castles.

The 2009 Lin House, Raleigh, designed and built by Art Lin.  Framing & Electrical: John Avery, October Builders; Metal Work: G&S Iron Designs;  Structural Engineer: Kaydos-Daniels Engineers; Photos: Art Lin.

View Photos / Watch Video At about 4,000 square feet, this Midtown Raleigh house was built by the owner as both the designer and the builder. The house is a relatively shallow 32 feet deep by 52 feet wide box clad in fiber-cement board and capped by a metal gable roof, with a covered carport that gives depth to the front and a back deck facing the woods. The house was built for $76 per square foot, mainly by having the owner/designer/builder doing a lot of the construction work.

The 2012 Chasen Residence, Raleigh, designed by Matt Griffith AIA and Erin Sterling Lewis AIA.  Built by Axiom Green Build; structural engineering by SGI Engineering; energy modeling by Prime Energy Group; custom cabinets by Dopko Cabinetry.

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The Chasen Residence is in a hip and evolving historic neighborhood just east of downtown Raleigh and was built as a young couple’s first home. The house is a first in Raleigh - affordable, small, modern, and urban. The 1,450 SF plan confines the entries, stairs, kitchen, half bath, and upstairs hallway to one side of the house, opening the remaining space for living. The house uses numerous passive and active sustainable strategies, including daylighting, sun shading, cross ventilation, solar hot water, photovoltaics, rainwater cisterns, an efficient SPFI envelope, and a high-efficiency mini-split HVAC system. Total construction cost was $117/SF.

The 2010 Mountain Cabin, Boone, designed by Chad Everhart AIA
. Builder and Interior Designer:  Tim Dolan.

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Situated on a very small lot in a neighborhood with prescriptive standards that mandate rustic dwellings, this project reinterprets the stereotype inherent to Appalachian log cabins. Designed for an Interior Design professor with a large collection of mid-century modern furnishings and a preference for austere aesthetics, the cabin blends vernacular elements with simple, modern design. Only 650 heated square feet of space, the shed-roofed cabin stands as a model of affordable design and construction through its minimal footprint, use of indigenous materials, maximization of volume, and multi-use components.

The 2007 Timberwolf House, Lewisville, designed and built by
Buddy Glasscoe of Timberwolf Designs.

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The term "the plan was drawn on a napkin" is closer to reality than most might accept.  We have pages of tattered notes and scribbling as we envisioned not just a solar and modern home, but a pleasing solid sculpture as if it grew from the hillside.  For us, the earth a home is built on should be the first guide to design.  The home is open, airy, informal, and as close to maintenance-free now and for generations as the budget would allow.

The 2012 Urban, Asheville, designed by Adam Sage Pittman of Sage Concepts LLC.

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The design of this house was inspired by the revitalization of a former industrial district located a block away from the French Broad River in Asheville. Paying homage to older urban architecture now being re-purposed for modern uses, I incorporated a semi barrel clerestory roof-line, use of metal and natural wood accents, and a home office opening up to a roof-top terrace. Three story decks built around an established Oak tree, with staircase and details milled from on-site trees, showcase a sustainable coexistence with the home’s surroundings.


George Matsumoto, FAIA, Oakland, California, Honorary Chair

Frank Harmon, FAIA, Frank Harmon Architect PA, Raleigh, Chair

Marlon Blackwell, FAIA, Marlon Blackwell Architect, Fayetteville, Arkansas

Larry Scarpa, FAIA, Brooks + Scarpa Architects, Los Angeles, California

Tom Kundig
, FAIA, Olson Kundig Architects, Seattle, Washington

The three houses with the highest number of public votes receive special People's Choice recognition.