In the Ground and On the Boards: Arielle Condoret Schechter, AIA, Greets Spring with Modern, Custom Houses at Every Phase of Design and Construction

May 1, 2018 § Leave a comment

Mason_GrabellMASON-GRABELL MODERNISM (All renderings by Arielle Schechter)

A family of transplants from hurricane-prone Florida can’t wait for construction to begin this summer on their spacious, modern house perched on a hillside in Orange County. Cheryl and Ken Serdar are showing off their new, modern, Net Zero, Micropolis® house in Hillsborough, NC, during the 2018 Green Home Tour. And a husband and wife in Chatham County are anxious to “break free” of the “soul-deadening” confines of a cookie-cutter residential development, so they’re counting the days until they can move into their new, modern, Net Zero house also nearing completion in Chatham County.

Chapel Hill architect Arielle Condoret Schechter, AIA, a Net Zero/Net Positive Passive House expert*, designed all three houses.

Meanwhile back in her studio, Schechter is moving along with six more projects that span the first three phases of architectural design: schematic design, design development, and construction documentation.

Mason-Grabell Modernism (pictured at top)

Construction is scheduled to begin this summer on the spacious Mason-Grabell house. The family grew tired of fighting hurricanes down in Florida so they relocated to Chapel Hill, NC, where hurricanes are extremely rare.

Rising from a hillside with large expanses of glass on all sides, the Mason-Grabel house features flat, cascading roofs that crown specific interior spaces. Designed to touch the ground lightly and protect the site’s natural hydrology, “Mason-Grabell Modernism” will be one of very few modernist houses in its neighborhood.

Net Zero on Tour

Happy Family Micropolis“HAPPY FAMILY” (photo by Iman Woods) 

Schechter always stresses that a smaller house allows homeowners to invest their money in elements other than square footage. In the Serdars’ house (above), that other element is a luxurious, spa-like bathroom with a curb-less walk-in shower for two, a custom cast-concrete trough sink, and a vanity area where top-quality tile rises up the high walls to the ceiling.

Spa_like bath

A spa-like bath with special tile up to the ceiling is one of the homeowners’ rewards for building small. (Photo by ACS)

Otherwise, the Serdars’ relatively small house is deceptive. It appears to be a simple modern house with large, honey-hued wood soffits adding warmth and textural contrast to the precast custom concrete exterior walls. But this is a Net Zero passive house. And the design skills, technological and materials knowledge, and attention to details necessary to create such a high-performance house are anything but “simple.”

*Schechter welcomes the challenge, however, as she continues to add to her growing portfolio of certified Net Zero and Net PositivePassive residential designs with what she’s dubbed the “Happy Family” house.

Privacy House

 Privacy House.png

“They consider themselves ‘escapees’ from a rigid, traditional development to a lot in the woods,” Schechter said, referring to her clients who are moving out of a traditional development and into this secluded, Net Zero house (above) in the forest in Chatham County. (She noted that “breaking free” and “soul-deadening” are her clients’ words.)

Besides the huge emphasis on privacy, the couple told their architect that they wanted a “modern but simple, unpretentious, age-in-place design.” And they had one specific request. “A sheltered place to sit outside and watch the rain,” Schechter said as she pointed out the house’s deeply cantilevered roof.

Phasing In

Concurrently, Arielle Schechter is working through the schematic design phase for a house for two engineers in Harnett County. She’s also fine-tuning three houses in design development and shepherding two other houses through the construction documentation phase.

For more information on Arielle Condoret Schechter and to see additional examples of her built and on-the-boards work, visit www.acsarchitect.com.

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