Vote by July 5 in the Matsumoto Competition

It’ll take more than a raging pandemic to hold back the architects practicing across North Carolina.

That’s self-evident in the range of 12 entries competing for the 2021 George Matsumoto Prize, sponsored by North Carolina Modernist Houses.

“I can’t tell that it slowed things down much – architects have been very busy during the pandemic, if not busier than usual,” says George Smart executive director of the organization. “People are paying attention to where they live while they’re working from home, or deciding to build a second home even if the cost of housing is pretty high.”

The 12 homes, ranging in size from 1,500 to 3,000 square feet, cover North Carolina like the dew. They’re located in the mountains, in Boone, Todd, Asheville and Hendersonville. They’re in the Piedmont, in Summerfield, Winston-Salem, Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill. And one’s actually facing the Atlantic Ocean at Pine Knoll Shores.

Most of the architecture firms responsible for their designs are repeat competitors, though there are four fresh faces this year. They include Hunter Coffey in Boone, Tab Associates in Hendersonville, Pavelchak Architecture in Banner Elk, and David Gauld in New York City.

All 12 homes have a common theme, Smart says. “People want a custom creation and intentionally want them to be modern – they set out to have something very specific.”

Their material palettes run the gamut, though. “There’s wood like ipe and mahogany, and corten steel and aluminum products on the house Jason Hart designed,” he says.

As in years past, a professional jury will review the entries and make their winning recommendations. It includes Takashi Yanai of Ehrlich Yanai Rhee Chaney; Cathleen McGuigan, editor of Architectural Record; Hilary Lewis, chief curator at the Philip Johnson Glass House; Martin Voelkel of BIG; Marica McKeel of Studio MM; Jim Jennings; Michela O’Connor-Abrams, CEO Moca+; and Barry Bergdoll from Columbia University.

The popular vote is open now at, and will remain open until 4 PM on July 5.

And with the pandemic now on the run, a party’s scheduled on July 29 at Research Triangle Park near Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill. “It will be at the Boxyard, a retail dining complex made of shipping containers – it’s brand new,” he says. “We hope to get about 100 people there.”

Tickets are $10 for food and drink and are available though the voting site here.

Pandemic, schmandemic! The North Carolina architecture community will soon have more reasons than one to celebrate.

For more, go here.

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