Tag Archives: sustainability

ILowes-Pavilion-NCMA.jpgn their latest issue, Walter Magazine features unique minimalist structures in the Triangle area.

Spotlighting Lowe’s Pavillon and other NCMA architectural pieces, the writer notes:

They’re diversions in the landscape, placed to punctuate and celebrate the visual richness of the grounds. But they’re not only meant to be seen – they also provide a vantage point to better appreciate the beauty of their own surroundings.




Photography by: Randy Thompson The South Atlantic Region of the American Institute of Architects Recognizes 19 Projects for Design Excellence.

 Over 150 people celebrated the work of firms from Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina on September 30, 2016 at the SCAD Museum of Art in downtown Savannah, GA.

Tonic took home the Housing Award for their work on Crabill Modern.

“Extreme budget constraints often halt a project, but in this instance have produced amazing results.  Beautifully conceived, presented and executed, this project captured the jury’s imagination by virtue of its clarity and formal inventiveness,” noted the jury. “Especially striking is the use of analogous forms found in the surrounding contexts of landscape and agrarian structures. Constructed from the ground up for less than many renovation projects, this house extends a proposition beyond the limits of its own walls in working towards making well designed housing accessible to a greater percentage of the population.”

Read More

For a seemingly simple house that accomplishes many tasks.

Interior/exterior of the Smart-Stell house. Photo by Todd Lanning.

Interior/exterior of the Smart-Stell house. Photo by Todd Lanning.

In hockey it’s called a hat trick, in horse racing a trifecta, and in bowling a turkey.

For Tonic Design + Tonic Construction of Raleigh, NC, it’s the third time in a row that their work has received top honors in the annual Matsumoto Prize for Modernist residential design across the state, sponsored by the non-profit organization North Carolina Modernist Houses.

On Thursday night, July 17, Tonic’s partners Vincent Petrarca and Katherine Hogan, AIA, received First Place in the Jury Awards category for the Smart-Stell House, a 2400-square-foot, single-story house they designed and built on a lakefront property in Durham, NC. The award came with a check for $3000.

This was Tonic’s second consecutive First Place prize. Last year, the firm’s Rank Residence in Pittsboro received First Place in the Jury Awards category. In 2013, a house they designed and built in Greenville, the Walters Residence, received Third Place in NCMH’s awards program, which is named for George Matsumoto, FAIA, a Modernist master and a founding faculty member of the NC State University School of Design.

Owned by George Smart and Eleanor Stell, this year’s award-winning house overlooks a lake on one side and a non-descript neighborhood on the other. Tonic’s main challenge was to maximize the view of the lake while still providing a comfortable living space inside. The solution was extensive glazing on the side facing the lake and a hockey stick-shaped roof structure fabricated of wood beams and steel plate. This composite structure, designed with the help of the North Carolina Solar Center, supports an Ipe trellis. The size and spacing of the trellis’ slats ensure that direct sunlight is blocked during the summer but allowed to enter and warm the main living volume in the winter.

Jury organizer Frank Harmon, FAIA, presented the award to Petrarca and Hogan and shared comments from the professional jury, which included accomplished architects from New York, Massachusetts, and California:

“This is a seemingly simple plan…that accomplishes many complex tasks…They liked the quiet, private side of the house facing the neighborhood and the open, informal side of the house facing the lake. They admired the deep [roof] overhang facing the sun and views, and the clerestory that brings light from the street side into the living room while maintaining privacy. Here is a building that responds to the phenomena of the site. And in its openness, simplicity, use of materials, textures, structure, and solar aspects, it is exemplary of the best aspects of mid-century Modernism.”

“Needless to say, we’re honored and thrilled to receive a Matsumoto Prize again this year,” said Petrarca. “We would like to thank North Carolina Modernist Houses for continuing to sponsor an awards program that focuses so sharply on Modern homes in a state that’s dominated by traditional design.”

For more information on NCMH and the annual Matsumoto Prize, visit

For more information on Tonic Design + Tonic Construction and the Smart-Stell House, visit



The Metal Construction Association recognized its 2011 Chairman’s Award recipients at METALCON International. Previously named the MCA President’s Awards, the Chairman’s Awards are an annual designation given to outstanding building projects involving MCA member companies. The awards honor innovation and creativity while showcasing how metal products help achieve exceptional building designs…


Greenville Residence

Greenville House, Greenville, NC

The clients and design team envisioned this private residence as a model of environmental sensitivity. Material selection for the exterior was critical to the project success. Zinc was used on the double height volume of the residence as a key element of the composition of exterior materials. The project team wanted to use materials that would make a statement about sustainability. Raleigh, N.C.-based Umicore Building Products USA Inc. supplied 1,500 square feet of VMZINC flat lock panel, which were selected because of its lower embodied energy than other metals and it is a naturally occurring element. It is now a LEED for Homes Silver certified and Energy Star-rated home.

For this project, the MCA judges applauded the choice to use zinc, given the sustainable characteristics the builder was going for. The palette of wood was a nice counterpoint to the other materials used and the use of metal panels was ideal to creating the focal point of the home.

The architect and contractor for this project is Raleigh-based Tonic Design/Tonic Construction and the metal installer is Metalworx Inc., Summerville, S.C. READ MORE…

May-June 2011


By Bruce D. Snider

The owners of this new LEED Silver-rated residence did their sustainability homework in advance. “They knew about solar and geothermal from the beginning,” says project designer Katherine Hogan. That head start allowed Hogan and principal designer Vincent Petrarca to weave green features into the fabric of the building, rather than tack them on as options after the fact. READ MORE…

May-June 2011

The GREENville House

by Bruce D. Snider

The design/build architects of Raleigh, N.C.–based Tonic Design are big on the synergies afforded by their way of producing buildings. Interweaving design and construction creates opportunities for improvisation, says principal designer Vincent Petrarca. “It’s like jazz.” The LEED for Homes–certified GREENville House in Greenville, N.C., demonstrates the power of such synergies, not only between design and construction, but also between modernism and sustainability.

The owners envisioned the house as an alternative model for their architecturally conservative community, Petrarca says. They favored modernist design, “and they had researched solar and geothermal from the beginning.” READ MORE…

April 2010

The Walters’ Residence

By Ingrid Spencer

For Bobby and Kristi Walters a lot has changed over the five years since they approached Vinny Petrarca, Assoc. AIA, to design their house in Greenville, North Carolina. They’ve gotten married, Bobby made partner in his medical practice, they’re expecting their first child, and they’ve moved into the home designed and built by Petrarca’s firms Tonic Design and Tonic Construction. A lot too, occurred with the process of designing and building the house, including at least one rejection from local authorities for permits to build this Modern house. “It didn’t matter that the design integrated sustainability and new technology,” says Petrarca. “They just turned it down.”

Petrarca was as happy as the Walters when they found an alternative three-acre plot in a newly developed coastal plain area of Greenville where the design was met with encouragement rather than objections. At just over 4,700-square feet, it’s not a small project, but Petrarca and project manager Robby Johnston argue that the house—which is expected to be rated LEED Silver in the next few months has the performance of one  half its size… READ MORE…