Corncribs and the Unpainted Aristocracy: Contemporary Architecture in North Carolina

It is possible to discuss the current state of North Carolina's architecture by citing a geological event that occurred between 150 and 200 million years ago: a large geological rise known as the Cape Fear Arch prompted hundreds of upwards of North Carolina. feet. The arc raised the sea floor, which was once associated with South America, and the waves that resulted from this change created the Outer Banks, a chain of islands farther than any other territory in the Atlantic Ocean. As a result, North Carolina has only one major riverfront land and harbor at the mouth of the Cape Fear River, which is located offshore. Changing patterns of the river caused by the Cape Fear Arch, which continues to increase, thus removing the soil, making it poorer than the northern lands of the region. The lack of transportation, inaccessible harbors, and inadequate land meant that the first settlements in North Carolina were modest. Throughout its history, North Carolina was a land of small landowners whose population was scattered over a wide landscape.

Although we have become the 10th largest nation in the nation, our patronage of scattered territory continues today. This dispersal has created a spirit of independence among North Carolinians who are individualistic, selfless, proud and proud. If we have less wealth, we have less pretense. In addition, the long history of homeownership can create people who care about their neighbors, bosses and all the time. I think all of these features can be found in North Carolina architecture, not only in the past, but also in the present.

Today, an urban sprawl is nearly 200 miles long on the Cape Fear Arch, on Interstate 85, from Charlotte to Raleigh, a city-like banana-style farmhouse where, as the proud Carolinian will say, carbon is on every table, every NPR car . and enough digital advancement, if not Silicon Valley, for Silicon Piedmont. Along this line about eight miles wide, there is an older North Carolina; quieter places where small farmhouses, orchards and stables rest. In these places, it is likely that seeing the architecture of ordinary living is not only a matter of wealth for hard-working people, but also for their opulence. I think there is a strange beauty here, depicted in paintings by Sarah Blakeslee, Francis Speight, Maud Gatewood and Gregory Ivy and photographs by Bayard Woot.

The diversity of plant and animal life in North Carolina is part of the legacy of the Cape Fear Arch. Six ecological sites are completely separate from the sub-tropic of the coast to the proto-Canadian climate of the highest mountains in eastern Mississippi. Today, our architecture is prone to plant and climate upholstery, but it has not always been so. Although it may seem remarkable so far, the pattern of old North Carolina settlements tells the human story of ordinary buildings close to the ground, as variable as mountain peaks and coastal plains.

North Carolina's first buildings were durable to the roots: made from local materials, embedded in the landscape, sun and wind oriented. Native Americans, not Europeans, made it to the east of the state. In 1585 he documented English explorer and artist John White in drawings depicting a restless person in nature. This pattern of local adaptation over three hundred years would last throughout the state.

In the mountains, for example, farmers built their homes on sloping slopes facing south, near a spring or stream. They planted poles and morning glory to shut down the porches in the summer. Their houses were raised on rocky slopes to level the slope and allow for drainage under the mountain water. The crops they grew and the animals moved from the mountain valley to the bottom of the river, the land was very steep and the sun was a mountain. Their stables were changed from one valley to another for the same reasons.

These are the tobacco-irrigated stables that were erected over a hundred two hundred years along the Piedmont hills of North Carolina. They were usually sixteen or twenty-four square feet in height, sized to fit a stack of tobacco leaves hanging in the heat that could reach 180 ° C, remind me of these modest stables. Greek temples. Legions of them populate the landscape, however, the two are not the same, as farmers changed each standard shed with sheds to accommodate their land micro-climate. To find out where his tobacco barn would be built, the farmer needed to know where the sun was rising and where the sun was going, where the good winds were coming from, where it was coming from, and when it had arrived. He carefully designed his home because his children's life depended on his knowledge. Philosopher Wendell Berry has written that there is hope in the world of such care. These extraordinary stables and farms were designed and built by ordinary people throughout North Carolina. Their builders are anonymous, but they embody the wisdom of subsequent generations.

The rural hamlet of Nags Head on the outer banks was also built with an extraordinary team to make room, not for agriculture, but for summer on the beach. Nags Head shacks date from 1910-1940, and have been hurricanes for almost a hundred years from the Atlantic. Although they were made of a wooden frame, their builders were strong enough to withstand the dangers, but they were light enough to withstand the sun and wind, lifting each hut onto wooden sheds to prevent flooding and overlook the ocean. The porches on the east and south sides secured dry weather, but in bad weather there was no porch on the north side. Hanging on a lifted belt since they were built, former Nags Head editor Jonathan Daniels "News and Observer" referred to it as "devoid of aristocracy". They are now born like sand in their place.

Mountain homes, Piedmont stables and ocean houses suggest that there is a fundamental and correct way to build, leaving most architects who are not designers. I can see this design ethic in the form of a log cabin for corn crumbs and textiles, peanut stalls, and early settlers. These structures give words to poetry what kind of architecture they make. I see this ethic as a farmer's way of storing corn because the corn oven is simpler and quieter than most of the things we build today, but not so valid because of its simplicity.

I think the same ethic is now in the minds of people who want buildings, because they appear in unchartered structures of style, fashion, appearance boards or advertising. Plenty of DOT bridges, soybean lifts and mechanics & # 39; Workshops throughout North Carolina, I notice the practical thinking of this situation.

A good building demanded much in North Carolina in the years following World War II, as the state struggled to emerge as a progressive leader in the New South. The director of Raleigh State Fairgrounds, Dr. JS Dorton, wanted to build a new livestock pavilion that would become "the most modern plant in the world at the NC State Fair." His architect was Matthew Nowicki, a brilliant young Polish architect who came to North Carolina in 1948 to teach a new design school at North Carolina State College.

A talented foreigner and highly foreign, Nowicki had a unique and practical attitude towards buildings and customers. He needed to, as he suggested the entry of two giant concrete arches into the sky, anchored at an angle to the ground and a three-inch-thick roof over steel wires to rotate between arches, making it one of the most efficient. never made a roof. As good as it may seem, Dorton Arena & # 39; Practical efficiency thanks to tobacco chewing, as the boys in the country would have had their own tobacco barn or John Deere tractor. When it was over, News and Observer said it was "a great deal of heaven to behold" as a great architectural surprise. Today, it remains the most popular building in North Carolina, outside the state.

While climbing Dorton Arena, young architect George Matsumoto came to North Carolina from his native California to practice architecture and teach at the School of Design. Matsumoto immediately established himself as one of the best post-war design talents. Matsumoto & # 39; s early buildings were modest homes for small business owners and assistant teachers. Matsumoto worked with the landscape architect, Matsumoto relocated his buildings to enhance the landscape, elegantly joining the site. He often used hardwood trees to shut down buildings in the summer and allow the sun to warm up in winter. Typically, their homes were aimed at catching British summer winds and protecting their residents from the winter wind.

Matsumoto & # 39; To understand the construction techniques and craftsmanship of wood, steel, stone and brick. The Gregory Poole Equipment Building (1956) in Raleigh was a logical and well-built building. Its delicacy contrasts with the delicacy of its steel and glass enclosures. Although his buildings were modern, he was welcomed by Matsumoto because his designs were the cornerstone of a cornbread: they thought they were useful and practical.

In 1962, Harwell Hamilton moved to Harris Raleigh to practice and teach at the School of Design. Harris, like Matsumoto, was of California origin, famous for his residential architecture. The most beautiful building in North Carolina Giles was a member of the Presbyterian Church, built from 1967 to 1988. Harris convinced the church building committee to build a family of low-rise wooden buildings around a pine forest. "Have you ever heard of a revelation?" he asked. The buildings have wide arches and a deep rock that encourages exterior masonry and contemplation. San Giles is undoubtedly modern and brought a whiff of California to a rugged Carolina hillside, but it is in keeping with the older habit of building near the land.

Although not all the three architects of the century were natives, it is possible to distinguish a common thread that connected their clients: believing in a practical architecture, without appearance and lack of common sense, as common as confidence. . In 1952 Harris wrote, "The region's most important resources are its particular intelligence, its imagination, its future interest, its energy and, finally, its particular type of climate, topography and sticks, which it must build." farmers, small landowners who lived in houses designed by George Matsumoto, St. They will be able to describe Dean of Presbyterian Church George Giles and generations of anonymous stalls. -the builders and hut houses before them.

Mentioning old buildings in North Carolina does not mean that you have to go back to building such homes. Instead, the accumulated wisdom of our past allows us to build on the present. Wha Lethaby, an English art and craft architect, said, "A man's art is not worth much; it should take thousands of men. We cannot forget the knowledge of our historical origins, and we do not want to forget them." even if we could. "

In the future, our society will be judged by how we build today. Arguably, the most important problem in today's architecture is sustainability. What is the best way to build balance with that particular place? From the land of balanced architecture, its hills, creeks, weather, and its people, its connections, ideas, and stakes will be explained in the future. Today, North Carolina has the opportunity to return to its former balance with nature. And as we do so, we must remember that we are not apart of the land: the rock we live in was once in South America, the wind that runs through our fields originates in the tropics, and the rain that clears us largely comes from it. In the Pacific Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. The forces that make up our buildings are much older than the building itself.