Archive

Monthly Archives: August 2012

Vinny Petrarca’s students begin the semester at Frank Lloyd Wright’s masterwork.

August 31, 2012 (Raleigh, NC) — Raleigh designer and Professor In Practice Vinny Petrarca began his second year of teaching at North Carolina State University’s College of Design by taking his students to Pennsylvania to visit Frank Lloyd Wright’s masterwork, Fallingwater.

Petrarca, co-owner and principal of the design/build firm Tonic Design + Tonic Construction in Raleigh, teamed up with fellow design professors Sara Queen and Jay Smith and the director of graduate programs, David Hill, to take 60 graduate and fifth-year students to visit Fallingwater. For some of the students, it was a return trip. For many, it was the first time they’d ever seen a Wright house.

Wright, America’s most famous architect, designed Fallingwater for his clients, the Kaufmann family.  Built between 1936 and 1939, the house doesn’t appear to stand on solid ground, but instead stretches out over a 30-foot waterfall. It captured the nation’s imagination when it was featured on the cover of Time magazine in 1938. Today it is a National Historic Landmark.

Along with seeing one of the finest examples of modern residential design in America, the students also studied a a parcel of land next to Fallingwater that is serving as the site for their semester-long project. They spent two days sketching and designing on site before returning to Raleigh.

A modernist designer himself, Vinny Petrarca is teaching the “ARC 500/50l Professional Studio,” the final studio for a Bachelor of Architecture degree. He describes it as “a comprehensive and integrative design experience — a transformational studio that exists between the foundation studios and forthcoming options and thesis-level studios.”

Since the ultimate goal of architecture is the complete building, with all its complexity and components, Petrarca’s studio project helps students understand, then demonstrate, their ability to address the full range of constraints, conditions, and issues typically encountered in an architectural project.

“ARC 500/501 simulates design processes that exist within professional offices, and asks students to integrate and elaborate on lessons from prior studios,” Petrarca said.

For more information on Vinny Petrara, visit www.tonic-design.com.

For more information on Fallingwater, go to www.fallingwater.org.

A house designed by architect Vinny Petrarca of Tonic Design + Tonic Construction in Raleigh received one of only three coveted Jury Awards during the inaugural George Matsumoto Prize for modernist residential design, sponsored by Triangle Modernist Houses.

Tonic’s “GREENville House,” the firm’s name for the home of Bobby and Kristi Walters of Greenville, NC, placed third in the competition, which was open to architects anywhere in the world as long as the house submitted was located in North Carolina. An Energy Star house, the Walters’ home was the first modern residence in the state to achieve LEED Silver accreditation. READ MORE…

 

August 15, 2012

A house designed by architect Vinny Petrarca of Tonic Design + Tonic Construction in Raleigh received one of only three coveted Jury Awards during the inaugural George Matsumoto Prize for modernist residential design, sponsored by Triangle Modernist Houses.

Tonic’s “GREENville House,” the firm’s name for the home of Bobby and Kristi Walters of Greenville, NC, placed third in the competition, which was open to architects anywhere in the world as long as the house submitted was located in North Carolina. READ MORE…

Raleigh design/build firm lands one of only three jury awards.

August 15, 2012 (Raleigh, NC) – A house designed by Vinny Petrarca of the design/build firm Tonic Design + Tonic Construction in Raleigh received one of only three coveted Jury Awards during the inaugural George Matsumoto Prize for modernist residential design, sponsored by Triangle Modernist Houses.

Tonic’s “GREENville House,” the firm’s name for the home of Bobby and Kristi Walters of Greenville, NC, placed third in the competition, which was open to architects anywhere in the world as long as the house submitted was located in North Carolina.

The 4100-square-foot residence is composed of two primary design components — bars and panels — that act together in an environmentally sensitive structure. Narrow bars composed of private spaces branch out into the landscape to form courtyards, capture natural light, and maximize cross ventilation. The bars intersect to frame a central volume of double-height public space.

The central volume, open to the kitchen and dining space on the first floor and a balcony and loft above, aligns with views of the landscape.

The house’s structural system holds photovoltaic panels that provide the home’s energy and hot water. Perforated screens shading the opening to alleviate unnecessary heat gain. The house’s orientation on the site utilizes the maximum potential of the photovoltaic technology, decreasing the overall load on the geothermal HVAC system. A drip-irrigation system outside captures rainwater and stores it in an underground cistern. Materials include steel, masonry, glass, concrete, Western Red Cedar, and zinc siding.

An Energy Star house, the Walters’ home was the first modern residence in the state to achieve LEED Silver accreditation.

The jury, comprised solely of Fellows of the American Institute of Architects, called the Walters’ house “a large and ambitious house with many materials and details. Well proportioned and vigorous, the house displays an uncommon passion for architecture. The materials and forms are stitched together like a beautiful quilt.”

The jury also applauded Tonic for the firm’s “courage and energy to both design and build this remarkable house.”

The other two Jury Award winners were John Reese, AIA, of Weinstein Freidlein Architects for the Banbury House in Raleigh, and Mike Rantilla, AIA, for his own home on Pictou Road, also in Raleigh.

The jurors for the inaugural Matsumoto Prize were: Frank Harmon, chairman; George Matsumoto (for whom the Prize was named), honorary chair; Marlon Blackwell; Larry Scarpa; David Jameson; and Tom Kundig. Public vote via an online voting site served as one seventh of the total.

Patrarca, a Professor of Practice at NC State University’s College of Design and co-owner Tonic Design + Tonic Construction with designer Katherine Hogan, received a $1000 cash prize and a glass trophy, both presented by Triangle Modernist Houses, a non-profit organization dedicated to documenting, preserving and promoting modernist residential design from the 1950s to today.

For more information on the George Matsumoto Prize, go to www.trianglemodernisthouses.com/prize.

For more information on Tonic Design + Tonic Construction, visit www.tonic-design.com.

August 7, 2012 (Hillsborough, NC) — The National Wildlife Federation recently certified the John and Stacy Crabill property in Hillsborough, NC, as a natural habitat.

The Crabills bought the five-acre property in 2010 with the intention of building a simple, modern home in a clearing amidst a lush forest. They wanted the house to disturb the natural environment as little as possible.

To reflect the verdant surroundings, Tonic Design + Tonic Construction, a design/build firm in Raleigh, used simple, inexpensive materials and references to agricultural structures in a modern architecture composition. Recalling old farm sheds, the weathered COR-TEN® steel exterior, both solid and perforated, is “a constantly evolving element in the landscape,” said Tonic designer and co-owner Vinny Petrarca.

COR-TEN is a group of steel alloys developed to eliminate the need for painting.  The steel forms a stable rust-like appearance if exposed to the weather for several years.

“This is a house for a creative and passionate family to live and work in,” Petrarca noted. “It’s a house for a family that values design and that wanted something special.”

The Crabills also made it a priority to accommodate the natural wildlife.

“Our forest is special because of all the unique animals and plants that, together, make up a habitat,” wrote the Crabill’s young daughter, Madison, in her application for the natural habitat designation. “Since living here, we have seen animals and other wildlife that we have never seen before. We commonly see deer, lizards, frogs, raccoons, and other animals that all live on the same land that we call our home. We are always doing the best we can to create a habitat for the animals around us.”

To become an officially certified wildlife habitat, the Crabills had to prove that their land provides food sources, water sources, cover (a thicket, rock pile, bird houses), and places where wildlife can raise young (such as dense shrubs, nesting boxes, etc.).

“The wildlife in our forest occupy a different niche, and all together they make up a habitat in our forest,” Madison said. “The most important thing that I have learned from living here is that it is important to share land with the wildlife living all around us.”

For more information on the Crabills’ home, visit www.tonic -design.com, click on “projects” then on “Crabill Modern.”

For more information on the National Wildlife Federation and natural habitat certification, go to www.nwf.org.