This month’s “Modernist Home of the Month” feature is going to be a little bit different. While the kids head back to school, we are going to school you on modernist design history in North Carolina! Grab your pencil and paper and keep reading for a lesson in all things modernist.
If you’re a fan of modernist architecture, North Carolina is the place to be! Here, you’ll find the third-largest concentration of modernist homes, an architectural style that began back in the 1920s, but really took off after WWII between the 1940s and 1970s. The Triangle area is particularly lucky to have a non-profit 501C3 educational archive, USModernist, which has documented more than 300 architects and designers across the state. US Modernist provides donors, volunteers, and advocates with information and organization to document, preserve, and promote North Carolina’s legacy of exceptional residential Modernist architecture. Before we dive more into what’s happening with modernist today, let’s go back to where it all began…
North Carolina State University’s School of Design (Now College of Design)
When N.C. State College of Design opened in Raleigh in 1948, it had a large influence on the modern design of homes in our area, many of which are registered as truly modernist homes and typically built by what are now widely-renowned architects who defined this era of residential home design.
One of the first things the school did was hire Henry Kamphoefner, one of the foremost modernist professors in the country, to serve as dean. Kamphoefner actively supported the faculty’s innovative design contributions and brought in the best of the best modernist faculty and students.
Kamphoefner encouraged this school’s professors and students to design homes and buildings for themselves, their friends, and the community. In fact, the students and faculty at the school designed the majority of the modernist residential homes in the Raleigh and Chapel Hill area during this time period. Kamphoefner also brought in Matthew Nowicki who designed Dorton Arena in Raleigh in 1951—among other noteworthy faculty members including—George Matsumoto, Lewis Mumford, James Fitzgibbon, and more. The modernist trend continued into the late 1960s, when the general public started moving away from architect-designed homes and towards more conservative residential designs.
Now, modernist homes have made quite a comeback and are highly sought-after in this area.
Characteristics of Modernist Homes
- Flat or low-profile roofs
- Use of large glass walls
- Exposed structural elements
- Inside/outside feel where the landscape becomes part of the house
- Continuous spaces/flow
- Unique use of materials and finishes
USModernist hosts curated modernist tours of the architecture you love. Their next event, “Sake in the Sky”, is on the books for Thursday, September 2, 2021. Ticket holders will get to enjoy a rooftop sake-tasting benefit event for NCModernist including sushi at One Glenwood. You can purchase tickets and see other upcoming events and tours at USModernist.org/Tours.
Ready to Find Your Modernist Home?
Hillman Real Estate Group is uniquely experienced in representing sellers and buyers who have an interest in this forward-thinking style that broke away from the traditional style of homes and would love to talk to you about your interest in placing a modernist-style home for sale in the Triangle area or finding a property that suits your unique tastes to buy.
Contact Us to Learn More
We hope you have enjoyed our lesson today. If you can’t tell, we love modernist! 😉 Contact us to learn more about our services for modernist home sellers and buyers in the Triangle.