ASHEVILLE – After more than a month of online voting and a final juried critique, Asheville architect Daryl S. Rantis and associate Robert Stenhouse placed first in an online green home design competition open to participants from around the world.
Their design, A Modern Craftsman for the New South, earned the winning nod from jurists Thursday as the top pick of 12 finalists, which included three other entries from North Carolina architects and designers.
“We pushed hard to promote online voting,” Rantis said. “It was like American Idol, so we really have Asheville and all our friends and family to thank.”
The winning design was among more than 400 initially submitted to the competition. All contestant work is still available for viewing at FreeGreen.com/whosnext.
After online voting concluded Monday, a jury of architects and engineers selected the final winners for FreeGreen, a Massachusetts-based company which features home plans that are sensitive to the environment.
“We were impressed by the way the designer created a unique and strong visual identity without compromising on affordability or livability,” the website co-founder David Wax stated in jury notes. “This proposal was about creating an attainable vision for consumers. From a performance standpoint, our engineers felt that this proposal could be developed into an extremely efficient home.”
The Rantis/Stenhouse design was created for a new development in the Chicken Hill area of Asheville for Bill MacCurdy of Sun Construction. The designers also partnered with Gary Charles of G Social Media to promote online voting via Facebook and Twitter. Although everyone was optimist the design was worthy of winning, it was one of the few submitted with drawings created by hand, Rantis said.
“The competition was heavily weighted toward very modern, very computerized drawings,” he said. “We tried to provide a dual approach. And the hand drawings are a lost art form. It didn’t hurt us.”
The jury found the design’s practicality appealing, satisfying one of many criteria for the contest.
“The representation was precise, clear, and let the design speak for itself,” Wax said. “This design was able to achieve the curb appeal desired by our focus groups without relying on traditional artifice. The architects on our jury found it to be a stylistic hybrid that carefully negotiated modern simplicity with traditional warmth. The result is a building that felt honest, could be built affordably, and could offer a minimal footprint both physically and environmentally.”
The design team wins a cash prize and will submit more detailed drawings of the house to the website for potential homebuilders.
The FreeGreen contest was begun to give emerging designers a chance to show off their talent and gain recognition for designs that bear a lighter environmental footprint, founders said.