April 14, 2020 § Leave a comment
“There is absolutely no reason to design otherwise.”
— Arielle Condoret Schechter, AIA
Two houses on the virtual High-Performance Homes Tour (formerly Green Home Tour) that will go live Friday, April 24th at highperformancehometour.com, actually exemplify the tour’s new title. Both houses were custom designed by Chapel Hill architect Arielle Condoret Schechter, AIA. Both were built by green home builder Kevin Murphy of Newphire Building, also in Chapel Hill. And both are Net Zero houses.
Within durable, functional, cost-effective structures with neutral carbon footprints, these two houses produce as much energy as they need without depleting natural resources – the definition of high-performance.
“My ideal residential client,” Schechter says, “is anyone who wants a warm, comfortable, and practical Modern, energy-efficient sustainable home with lots of natural light and connections to the outdoors, clean lines, clear volumes, and open plans. Site sensitivity and energy efficiency are imperative, by the way. There is absolutely no reason to design otherwise.”
Murphy agrees. “I’m passionate about building beautiful, comfortable, high-performance homes that can achieve Net Zero energy status,” he says. “That’s why Arielle and I work so well together. We share that goal.”
The 5000-square-foot Coy-Davis “Homestead” (above) is the first Schechter-Newphire house on the tour. Schechter designed this Net Zero home for Dr. Deron Coy and Erica Davis to accommodate their blended family and future children and for a place for their extended family to congregate for holidays and vacations. It offers space for togetherness and space for privacy. The three upstairs bedrooms have their own bay windows cantilevered out towards the forest. Among its many sustainable features are a geothermal HVAC system, a solar array with battery storage, and super-insulation.
The second Schechter-Newphire virtual tour stop is the Dori Baboolal and Dr. Hemanth Baboolal residence. “Dori and Hemanth are part of Chapel Hill’s distinguished medical community,” Schechter notes. “The cookie-cutter house they’ve been living in is illogical for their growing family and doesn’t provide the strong connection to the outdoors that they long for. So they decided to build a custom-designed, distinctly modern, Net Zero house that would make sense for their family, with every space useful and every element suited to their family and lifestyle. We were honored to be asked to create such a house for them. And a key influence on the design: bringing the outdoors in and extending the interior living spaces out onto terraces, porches, and decks.”
Sponsored by the High-Performance Building Council, a joint council of the Home Builders Associations (HBAs) of Durham, Orange, and Chatham Counties and of Raleigh-Wake County, the virtual tour is free and available on April 25-26 and May 2-3 at www.highperformancehometour.com or by downloading the app in the App Store or Google Play.
The virtual tours of all 14 houses on the roster will include photos, floorplans, links to 3D video tours, and lists of green features.
March 4, 2020 § Leave a comment
For Women’s History Month, 10 architects on Houzz describe the designers, mentors and trailblazers who influenced them
By Annie Thornton
…For Women’s History Month, which commemorates the valuable contributions that women — often unsung — have made throughout history, we wanted to let the inspiring female pros on Houzz tell us about the women who’ve inspired them.
We asked women in architecture, a field still dealing with gender inequities, to describe the designers in their lives who have mentored, guided or otherwise positively influenced them in their careers… Here are 10 of our favorite answers…
(Below: For this article, Houzz featured the “lantern pavilion” outdoor dining space Schechter created on the house she designed for herself and her husband and their assortment of “critters.”)
2. Arielle C. Schechter on Spanish architect and product designer Patricia Urquiola
Patricia Urquiola “is a true world-class design star. I am a huge fan of her work and her furniture. I’ve been following her work for years. What I especially love is her ability to always surprise. Her work never repeats — there is always something new in her newest collection that is unlike anything she’s done before or that one has ever seen,” Arielle Schecter says.
CLICK HERE to see all 10 responses from women in architecture.
February 13, 2020 § Leave a comment
PHOTOS BY IMAN WOODS
Anne and Bruce, the clients for this project, had recently relocated to Chapel Hill from Florida. They considered themselves “climate refugees” who no longer wanted to live through the yearly hurricanes they were experiencing in Florida. They selected Arielle Schechter for her modernist style, then agree to ramp up the design “Net Zero Ready” in accordance with her commitment to sustainability. READ MORE
January 15, 2020 § Leave a comment
A chance encounter between architects Frank Harmon and Harwell Hamilton Harris became the genesis of our own genre of regional modernism.
By J. Michael Welton
…Don Kranbuehl, a senior architect at Clark Nexsen and assistant professor at N.C. State…sees [Frank] Harmon—a mentor and role model—as the Southeastern representative of regional modernism, while Chapel Hill architect Arielle Schechter considers his range broader. “I don’t think he knows the influence he’s had,” she says.
Harmon’s style never insists on a single solution. Instead, individual responses are de rigueur. “The site is your building, and you do what’s appropriate,” Schechter learned from him. So when she designed a home in Pittsboro for a couple seeking privacy from neighbors, she clad its front in cypress for total opacity. But its rear is transparent, with a porch that overlooks nature on its one-acre site…
“What sets it apart are great connections to outdoors, sensitivity to site and volumetric buildings,” Schechter says. “And there’s a lot of creativity around, and a lot of points of view around how to design.”
It’s this variety of interpretations that make the Carolina School. Its architects follow similar principles, but like artists, they work from their own palettes… READ MORE
October 14, 2019 § Leave a comment
October 1, 2019 § Leave a comment
VIEW FROM THE KITCHEN AT THE CENTER OF THE HOUSE TO THE DINING AREA (RIGHT) AND LIVING AREA (LEFT) ON EITHER SIDE OF A TWO-WAY FIREPLACE.
The name Arielle Condoret Schechter has become synonymous in the Triangle with smart, stylish, Net Zero Passive houses whose modern horizontal forms appear as comfortable on their sites as the forests that often surround them.
Fans of this Chapel Hill architect’s work were pleased to learn that her most recently completed house — this one in Chapel Hill’s Beech Forest — will be featured on the fall “Modapalooza” Tour of modernist houses in the Triangle.
Sponsored by the non-profit organization North Carolina Modernist Houses, this fall’s “Modapalooza” will be held on Saturday, October 12, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. It will offer nine private homes for touring, including Schechter’s Mason-Grabell House on Mill Valley Road.
Schechter designed the 2465-square-foot house for Anne Mason and Bruce Grabell who moved to Chapel Hill from Florida. They wanted a modest and modern, environmentally sustainable, age-in-place home in a natural setting. They found the perfect property in Beech Forest.
Working with green home builder Kevin Murphy of Newphire Building Co. in Chapel Hill, Schechter designed the Mason-Grabell House to be extremely energy efficient now as it awaits a future solar array on the roof, which will take it easily to Net Zero.
Among the high-performance features Modapalooza tour-goers will see are Schechter’s favorite Passive House-rated windows and doors from Eurostar Fenestration® and the flat roof’s deep overhangs. The latter provide shade for the windows and overhead shelter for the porches and decks – the outdoor living spaces – that are key elements in all of Schechter’s residential work.
To meet the homeowners’ age-in-place goal, Schechter designed the one-story house to be “zero thresholds” from the walkway to the front door and throughout the interior: There are no steps and no tripping hazards, such as thresholds at doorways and shower curbs.
ARIELLE SCHECHTER CUSTOM DESIGNED THE BLACK WALNUT CABINETRY THROUGHOUT THE HOUSE.
On the front elevation, reminiscent of a cluster of orange Cosmos in a field of wildflowers, the house’s orange front door is a bold element within the horizontal panel siding and cypress accent wall.
On the rear elevation, a large screen porch appears to float out into the landscape. A wrap-around deck connects the porch to an outdoor grilling area.
Inside, an entire wall of the main living space is actually two massive, glass folding doors. While the house’s windows, strategically placed to avoid heat gain, provide visual access to the natural setting, the folding doors literally open the interior to the outdoors overlooking Beech Forest.
Aware that Anne Mason loves to cook, Schechter’s floorplan revolves around the kitchen — the heart of the house, both physically and metaphorically — with all other spaces having easy access to it.
And in the kitchen, as throughout the interior, Schechter custom designed all of the black walnut cabinetry. With its vivid grain and rich color, black walnut is both retro and regal and lent itself beautifully as well to the mid-century-inspired cocktail bar she created for a space beside the fireplace in the dining area.
The fall Modapalooza Tour is sold out, but NCMH founder George Smart encourages anyone interested to get his or her name on the waiting list in case there are cancellations. Click here for details.
July 14, 2019 § Leave a comment
By Lucy Wang • Photos by Keith Isaacs
When a couple decided to “break free” from their cookie-cutter home and realize their long-awaited eco-friendly dream home, they turned to Chapel Hill-based architect Arielle Condoret Schechter to bring their vision to life. With their grown son now out of the house, the couple wanted to downsize to a simple modernist home where they could peacefully age in place. Nestled in a secluded place in the woods of Chatham County, North Carolina, the resulting sustainable home is custom-designed to meet all their needs, from achieving net-zero energy to its modernist design with architectural elements inspired by the Netherlands-based De Stijl movement of the early 1900s. READ MORE
May 21, 2019 § Leave a comment
After receiving Best of Houzz® awards in the Customer Service category for five consecutive years (2015 – 2019), Chapel Hill-based “green” architect Arielle Condoret Schechter, AIA, can now add Top Rated Local® Architect in North Carolina to her growing list of accolades.
Top Rated Local® (TRL) is a national partnership dedicated to finding and promoting businesses, trades, and professionals that excel in overall customer/client experiences. TRL tracks, scores, analyzes and ranks them according to how well they satisfy the “five pillars” of customer experience — quality, value, timeliness, experience, and satisfaction – as expressed in customer/client reviews and ratings on popular, verified sites. For architecture ratings, the verified sites include Houzz, Facebook, and Google. The top rating at each site is five stars.
Schechter is best known for her modern, custom-designed, Net Zero/Net Positive houses that complement natural landscapes throughout central North Carolina. Ranging from 400 to 6000 square feet, Schechter’s houses are always featured on the annual Green Home Tour sponsored by the Home Builders Association of Orange, Chatham, and Durham counties.
She’s received international attention for her Micropolis Houses®, a collection of modern, sustainable, ultra-small house plans she designed. She sells the plans as they are or customizes them for specific clients. In fact, several of her completed and currently, under-construction houses are modified versions of Micropolis® plans.
And as rave online reviews from her clients attest, Schechter has gained a reputation for leaving a string of happy homeowners across central North Carolina.
“Of 25 ratings and reviews posted on verified review sites, Arielle Schechter has received dozens of reviews and an average rating of 5.00 stars. This earns her a Rating Score™ of 96.00,” said Rachael Walsh of Top Rated Local®. “That makes her the 2019 Top Rated Local® architect in all of North Carolina.”
In an article on www.topratedlocal.com, Schechter attributes her positive reputation to her sincere commitment to customer service, which she defines as “paying attention to the details, staying in touch with clients, being available for clients and supporting them at all times, making the process smooth, and caring deeply.” Myriad online reviews reveal the success of her commitment. For example:
“My husband and I have been living in our new modern, ‘green’ net-zero home…,since May [of 2018]. I am every bit as delighted with it — and even more so now that we are living in I — than from when Arielle first designed it. Arielle designed a home that is uniquely ours by listening to both what we wanted and needed in our home…Through Arielle, our ‘dream home’ has become a reality. We couldn’t be happier!”
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“Arielle… is a seasoned professional with an eye for detail second to none. She never left our side throughout the building process and was always quick to provide alternative suggestions along the way.”
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“I am amazed at how efficient [the plan] was! You literally put in everything we asked for, with no wasted space at all. I loved it, and still do.”
For more information on Top Rated Local® go to www.topratedlocal.com.
For more information on Arielle Condoret Schechter, visit www.acsarchitect.com.
May 15, 2019 § Leave a comment
When Chapel Hill-based architect Arielle Condoret Schechter, AIA, was asked to renovate a mid-century modern house in Durham, she quickly realized that her task would be to interject some of the key features of mid-century modern design that this 1940s house was actually lacking. And, in doing so, she would create an appropriate setting for an icon of modern furniture design. READ MORE
April 25, 2019 § Leave a comment
Understanding these basics will help you create better lighting transitions
by Arielle Condoret Schechter, AIA
Most architects’ goal today is to optimize natural light in their buildings and houses so artificial lighting is rarely required during the day.
But what are the best artificial lights for nighttime and for the transition from daylight to sunset and from night to dawn?
To answer that question, you have to understand what comprises natural light. READ MORE