RACo Team Lends a Hand with Habitat for Humanity

Matt Fornaro, Taylor Medlin, Lauren Woodard, Claire Craven

Matt Fornaro, Taylor Medlin, Lauren Woodard, Claire Craven

On Saturday, August 12th, members of the Raleigh Architecture Company design and construction teams gathered with the Catholic Coalition of Wake County to kick-off the faith organization's 8th home in the Crosstowne neighborhood, located off Cross Link and Garner Rd. in South Raleigh. 

Work started at 7:30am in the Habitat Construction Warehouse, where nearly 40 volunteers systematically assembled and loaded walls onto a trailer headed for the site of Habitat Partner Kiara Joe's future five-bedroom house. Kiara herself was on site to hammer the first nail, and many more following. Habitat partners build and purchase their homes. Throughout the day, volunteers had the opportunity not only to hear Kiara's story and celebrate the fact  that she and her two twin sons will soon have a home to call their own, along with her mother, brother and sister, but see the smile on her face as she and other volunteers lifted the walls into place.  By noon, the exterior walls were raised and work to erect interior walls had begun. The entire process of building her home will be 10 to 12 weeks. 

Our team ended the day energized and grateful for the strong community that still makes providing affordable housing in Wake County a priority. If you are interested in volunteering for a Habitat build in Wake County, we encourage you to visit their website.




By Christy Perrin, Water Resources Research Institute


Raleigh– Four land development projects were honored during the seventh annual awards ceremony for the Greater Triangle Stewardship Development Awards Program (GTSDA). These awards recognize development projects in the triangle that go above and beyond state and local requirements to incorporate innovative environmental protections and provide a model for green development practices in the triangle. This year’s winners included Chatham Park Medical Office Building #2 in Chatham County, Wooten Meadow Park Master Plan in Raleigh, and NC State’s Talley Student Union in Raleigh, with the highest honors going to the Hungry Neck Residence in Raleigh.

The 2017 awards marked the first time applications were opened to single family homes. The awards ceremony was held at the JC Raulston Arboretum on May 4.

An interdisciplinary expert panel of judges evaluated the projects for achievement in these areas:

  • Natural resource assessment
  • Water quality protection
  • Wildlife Habitat Protection
  • Vegetation Protection and Enhancement
  • Green Building
  • Integration with the Community
  • Long-Term Management and Maintenance
  • Community Outreach and Education

Shelly Epps Parker, Sustainable Travel Services Manager for Go Triangle, spoke first about sustainable transportation, followed by a keynote address from Larry Band, PhD, Director for the UNC Institute for the Environment. Awards were then presented to recipients by GTSDA Board members.

This urban infill residence in Raleigh, pictured above, was awarded the highest award, a Gold Stewardship Development Award. The project demonstrated exceptional achievement on all applicable GTSDA criteria. Raleigh Architecture Company worked closely with the homeowners to create a purposefully sustainable home that was sited to protect and enjoy onsite trees, includes a geothermal heating and cooling system, energy efficient choices such as galvanized metal roofing to reduce solar heat gain and natural lighting, permeable paving to reduce stormwater runoff, and a cistern used to harvest rainwater for reuse in flushing toilets, washing clothes, and irrigation. Judges were particularly appreciative of the homeowners’ use of stormwater cost share funding from the City of Raleigh to voluntarily reduce the stormwater running off their property.



Two modern, urban-infill houses designed in tandem, side-by-side.

When architects enter custom-designed housing in awards competitions, they enter either single-family houses or multi-dwelling projects: multiple, separate housing units that are contained within one building or several buildings within one complex.

For the 2015 AIA NC Design Awards, The Raleigh Architecture Company (RACo) did neither. Partners Craig Kerins, AIA, and Robby Johnston, AIA, entered “Edentwins” — two single-family urban-infill houses that they designed concurrently and built on adjoining lots in downtown Raleigh.

On September 26, Johnston and Kerins received an Honor Award for their innovative duo from the North Carolina Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA NC) during an awards ceremony held at the 21c Museum Hotel in Durham.

“Edentwins challenge standard single-family infill development by sharing space, resources, and mutual values with each other,” said Johnston, who lives in one of the award-winning houses with his wife and young daughters.

Edentwins are perched above East Edenton Street, a three-lane, one-way thoroughfare that connects residential neighborhoods to the east with downtown Raleigh. The site plan is organized around a shared central courtyard that visually and spatially ties the houses — and the families who occupy them — together. The courtyard provides outdoor play space for the kids and fresh-air entertainment space for the parents.

According to the RACo partners, small buildable areas on the lots and tight zoning restrictions influenced the houses’ compact linear footprints and projecting forms. Front porches, shaded by the cantilevered second floors, link the homes to the community, reinforce the existing vernacular, and maintain how houses there address the sidewalk and street.

Conceived of as “fraternal twins,” according to the partners, the homes share common traits yet retain their own identities. For example, golden-toned North Carolina cypress adds a note of warmth to the exteriors of both flat-roofed houses, although 556 combines the wood with the rusty patina of Corten® steel while 554 uses reclaimed slate from an old house razed in a nearby neighborhood as outdoor cladding.

The award-winning “Edentwins” are the first houses in a cluster of homes the RACo team is completing in the old inner-city neighborhood known as Hungry Neck North.




Happy + Hale, a health-conscious restaurant concept with its flagship shop on Raleigh’s City Plaza, is expanding into Durham’s Ninth Street shopping and dining district, and The Raleigh Architecture Company (RACo) has designed the new addition to this growing business.

Currently under construction, the second Happy + Hale will fill 2000 square feet of a thoroughly renovated space within an existing building on Ninth Street. Yoga Off East will open behind it in 375 square feet.

Owned by Matt Whitley and Tyler Helikson, Happy + Hale is known for using only wholesome ingredients to prepare its fresh-pressed juices, salads, and wraps. To complement the restaurant’s concept, RACo partners Craig Kerins, AIA, and Robby Johnston, AIA, are using simple, honest materials for the physical space: concrete, wood, and open web steel trusses.

Steel trusses at the front of the space will give way to an overhead wood canopy with integrated lighting that will frame the large, open space for dining and gathering. Skylights provide natural light and views of the sky. Clustered pendant lighting will create a warm glow at the tables.

A walnut and stainless steel service bar will provide a “simple, linear ordering process for customers,” Johnston said. A wooden three-panel accordion door will open the interior to the exterior patio.

Within the space, a steel and glass storefront system will surround the “Juice Room” and allow customers to watch the staff prepare cold-press juices. During dinner and evening hours, a rotating menu of cocktails will be served using these fresh juices.

The restaurant’s kitchen will feature a central preparation table that will satisfy day-to-day needs and serve as a gathering point to promote food-based community outreach initiatives.

As Happy + Hale owner Tyler Helikson puts it, “This space represents the culmination of a dream,” said Helikson, “a place to connect, a place to create, a place to love, a place to empower.”

The Raleigh Construction Company, RACo’s construction partner, is building the new Happy + Hale, and expects it to be complete by this spring.

For more information on Happy + Hale, visit www.happyandhale.com.




We were recently featured in Bit & Grain, North Carolina's premier digitial magazine dedicated to storytelling in and around south. We talk about the state of modern architecture in Raleigh as well as some of our most recent articles. Below is an exccerpt and the link to the full article.

Great opportunity and responsibility comes with such growth. But many of the urban problems described in A is for Architecture — traffic congestion, insufficient mass transportation and pollution — are current issues for Raleigh. The question of how to keep Raleigh liveable and affordable for everyone was central to this fall’s Raleigh City Council election. It’s a question architects Craig Kerins and Robby Johnston think about all the time.

Read more of the article here and other great articles at www.bitandgrain.com



Joe Kwon and Buckley in Joe’s dream kitchen designed by The Raleigh Architecture Co. Photo by Juli Leonard

Joe Kwon and Buckley in Joe’s dream kitchen designed by The Raleigh Architecture Co. Photo by Juli Leonard


By Andrea Weigl

Joe Kwon, the rock star cellist of The Avett Brothers, got to do what every obsessive home cook dreams about: design his own kitchen.

Kwon and his wife, Emily Meineke, moved into their new home earlier this year: a modernist house within walking distance of downtown Raleigh.

The couple bought the lot in February 2014, broke ground last summer and moved into the 2,000-square-foot house in January. Craig Kerins and Robby Johnston of The Raleigh Architecture Co.took the couple’s wish list and vision and turned it into reality by designing and building the home. (Kwon and Meineke are having a big year; they also got married in March.)

Kwon is well known as a food lover and avid home cook… READ MORE