30 May 2014

Radical Punk Architect Strikes Fear in Heart of Peaceful Raleigh

At least that's what seemed to be going on at first glance, when I learned about an architect's design for his own residence in this lovely city.

Then I came across this piece by Paul Goldberger.

Mr. Goldberger, Pulitzer-price winner and noted architectural critic – ex-NYT, among other publications, now Vanity Fair – offers a cool-headed view of the debate: about an unassuming ground-up construction by respected modernist architect Louis Cherry, far from being radical or even polarising, but obviously still pissing off a neighbour (and fellow real estate agent; how embarrassing).

The plat de résistance:

Photo ©Louis Cherry

And – did you drop your ipad in the loo because of this flag-burning acid punk outcast design?

I didn't think so. Me neither.

Looks rather civil, or to quote Goldberger "modernism on its best behavior". (Judging from his published portfolio, I'd be elated to own a Cherry one day).

But it is obviously still radical enough to have neighbor Gail Wiesner object to the house after the design was approved by the Raleigh Historic Development Commission and the building permit was issued.

After the permit was issued and construction began, not before.

Luckily, so far Mrs. Wiesner did not succeed in getting the house razed. Though at some point she was able to temporarily stop all construction, while piling up substantial legal fees for the owners who have to defend a permit they legally obtained. Where are we here?

Shame on the city for even contemplating to retract an existing permit for a conforming construction well under way, but even more shame on Gail Wiesner and her petty little ways.

So let's hope the Cherrys will be able to finish and enjoy their home.

As for Mrs. Wiesner – with such an eyesore opposite her house, perhaps she feels like moving far away? Probably an ideal solution.

A detailed time-line of events can be found on the website of NC Modernist Houses, as well as a link to the Legal Defense Fund for the Cherrys, if you are inclined to help.  – Hat-tip to Leilani for the story.

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