2016 Winners of the Matsumoto Prize

People / Places / July 26, 2016

Design/Build came out on top (again) in this year’s competition for the Matsumoto Prize, a competition initiated five years ago by North Carolina Modernist Houses (NCMH).

“We’ve had several win who’ve not been architects – North Carolina state law is pretty clear that anybody can design a house,” says George Smart, NCMH executive director. “In certain parts of the state – Asheville for example – there are a lot of design/build projects.

Sixteen projects were entered this year, more than any other. They competed at the jury level and for a “People’s Choice” award as well, with online voting.

The results, then:

First Prize in the Jury Awards: Will Alphin of Alphin Design Build, Raleigh, for 123 Hillcrest, a four-level house in Raleigh’s Cameron Park neighborhood that integrates indoor-outdoor living and honors its owners’ aspirations for a progressive, sustainable home. As First Prize winner, the firm received $3000. (Builder: Alphin Design Build; Photography © James West/JWest Productions)

The Jury’s Second Prize went to Erin Sterling Lewis, AIA, and Matthew Griffith, AIA, of in situ studio, Raleigh, for the Corbett Residence in Bahama, N.C., a single-story house expressed as a low black box that strikes a line across its sloping site, mimicking the horizon. As Second Prize winner, the firm received $2000. (Builder: Aiello Builders, Inc.; Photography © Richard Leo Johnson / Atlantic Archives)

The Jury’s Third Prize also went to in situ studio for the Medlin Residence in Raleigh, a compact, L-shaped home that creates a courtyard between the house and a hillside and boldly allows an interior staircase to become a dominate form expressed on the facade. For Third Prize, the firm received $1000. (Builder: Kemp Harris, Inc.; Photography © Richard Leo Johnson / Atlantic Archives)

In the People’s Choice Awards, online voters’ First Place selection was Adam Sebastian, AIA, of STITCH Design Shop, Winston-Salem, for Blauhaus in Winston-Salem, a house sited parallel to a creek with a gabled roof form that gives a nod to the owner’s home in German yet maintains a distinctly modernist vocabulary. (Builder: Ken McDaniel; Photography by Adam Sebastian)

The People’s Choice Second Place honor went to the Jury’s First Prize winner –  Alphin Design Build for 123 Hillcrest.

Third Place in the People’s Choice Awards went to Jason Weil of Retro + Fit + Design, Asheville, for Ciel 10, a dramatic, custom-builder, for-sale house in the mountains that the architect created by shifting a series of cantilevered blocks to optimize views. (Builder: Bellwether Design Build; Photography © David Dietrich Photography)

Already, the competition is building up a head of steam for 2017. “There are a lot of people working on projects now for next year,” Smart says.

With prize money, publicity and popular support like that, why shouldn’t they?

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Michael Welton
I write about architecture, art, and design for national and international publications. I am the author of "Drawing from Practice: Architects and the Meaning of Freehand" (Routledge, 2015), and the former architecture critic for the News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C.




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