Another historic gem from the Modernist era is threatened with demolition.
The Lassiter House, built by A.G. Odell in 1952, is the oldest known Modernist residence in Charlotte, North Carolina. The original owners, who worked with the architect on the design, put the house on the market last year but it hasn’t sold.
On February 24, 2011, a National Alert was issued on the house by North Carolina’s non-profit organization for modernist residential architecture, Triangle Modernist Houses (TMH). If it doesn’t sell by June, this house is history.
A rare example of modernist design in the South, where a more traditional aesthetic in housing design has prevailed, the Lassiter House was featured in the September 1956 issue of Better Homes & Gardens. Its open floor plan, single story, steel beams, flat roof, slab foundation, wood siding, extensive use of glass walls and doors are what give this house its modernist mystique.
I could tell you that the land it sits on happens to be worth more than the house itself, but unfortunately this makes most people’s mouths water. It’s exactly what they want to hear as they bring in bulldozers and envision building their brand new McMansion.
Replacing the old and classic with something new is not only not conscious or sustainable, but in the case of historic architecture it’s simply sacrilege. Despite this, or possibly because of it, it will take a special buyer to save this special house. Preserving and restoring a classic piece of mid-century modern design requires a significant commitment – of money, resources and values. I sincerely hope someone steps up before June.
For more information, the Lassiter House is listed with Modern Charlotte Realty for $785,000.