In North Carolina, ‘Triangle Modern Architecture’

It took five years but it felt like 25, says architect, planner, and author Victoria Ballard Bell.

That’s because her new book – “Triangle Modern Architecture” – is about as thorough a tome on the topic as possible.

She takes us back to the beginning – to the Bauhaus and Josef Albers and Black Mountain College in Asheville – then out for a spin with Henry Kamphoefner and his hand-picked coterie of cutting-edge modernists at N.C. State’s School of Design in Raleigh during the 1950s.

There’s Matthew Nowicki, Eduardo Catalano, George Matsumoto, Milton Small and James Fitzgibbon, for starters.

They could have been for finishers too – except for the exceptional talent that followed them in the ‘60s and ’70s. They were all architects who not only taught at the School of Design – they were required to build as well. And they did precisely that – leaving behind a legacy of about 800 modern residences in Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill.

Bell has inventoried the work of the best of them in the first half of this 252-page volume. In the second half are the architects who continued to explore the principles of Carolina modernism – many of them still practicing today.

Among these later generations: Harwell Hamilton Harris, Frank Harmon, Phil Freelon, Kenneth Hobgood, Phil Szostak, Louis Cherry and in situ studio .

Bell has gifted us a book that’s aimed not at her peers, but at the general public. It’s easy to read and understand. It doesn’t miss much when it comes to history. And its drawings and photographs tell a story all by themselves.

“When we first moved here in 2005, I heard snippets about architects and Kamphoefner,” she says. “I wondered: ‘Why has someone not written a book?’ Nobody’s told the story.”

Now she’s done it – and done it extremely well.

For more, go here.

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