We're back in North Carolina today for the first midMOD monday of June.
In 1948, architect Henry Kamphoefner became the first dean of North Carolina State University’s (then North Carolina State College of Agriculture and Engineering) new School of Design. A passionate Modernist, Kamphoefner quickly asserted his design philosophy in an effort to gain national prominence and a place at the forefront of modernism. Enlisting a group of young, talented, and charismatic architects (including claass HAUS favorites Eduardo Catalano and George Matsumoto), Kamphoefner made the NCSU program a leader in modern design, while the prominent new faculty created some of the most innovative and adventurous modern structures of the period.
One of the most significant buildings associated with the rise of NCSU's School of Design, the Kamphoefner House exhibits the program's early modern doctrine and its allegiance to the tenets of Frank Lloyd Wright's organic architecture. Kamphoefner and George Matsumoto designed the house in 1948, the first in a series of architectural experiments undertaken by the faculty. Completed two years later, the one-story, T-shaped home stands on a small wooded lot north of downtown Raleigh. Influenced by Wright's modestly-scaled and efficient Usonian housing, the Kamphoefner House maintains typical Wrightian elements including a large brick fireplace, built-in furniture, a spatial hierarchy emphasizing privacy and refuge, passive climate control, and the integration of indoor and outdoor spaces. Alien to the traditional architecture of the area, the modern wood, glass, and brick house helped set the tone for decades of North Carolina modernism.
During Dean Kamphoefner’s tenure, his residence acted as the backdrop for many lively debates between students and faculty and hosted a number of architectural icons including Frank Lloyd Wright, Richard Neutra, and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. Representing a regional modernism based on the organic architecture of Wright and adapted to the unique conditions of the South, the Kamphoefner House embodies the Dean's vision for the School of Design and remains an important piece of North Carolina's modern legacy.
Today, the Kamphoefner House remains privately owned and enjoys both local landmark and National Register of Historic Places status.
top image: Henry Kamphoefner House (1995), image North Carolina State Archives.L. Kamphoefner House, 1995: Image courtesy of the North Carolina State Archives.
This architectural historian cannot stop thinking about buildings, food, and that vintage rug she found online.