pod architecture + design receives commission to convert industrial building in downtown Durham into Liberty & Plenty Distillery

ENTRY WITH OPEN DOORSRENDERING OF FRONT PORCH AND PUBLIC ENTRANCE, by pod a+d

pod architecture + design, an interdisciplinary design firm based in Chapel Hill, has been commissioned to design Liberty & Plenty Distillery, a new start-up craft distillery planned for downtown Durham that will produce rum, whiskey, gin, and flavored vodkas.

Solely owned by head distiller Tina Williford, MSc, of Raleigh, the project will involve the adaptive re-use of a former distillery in a one-story, brick, 3400-square-foot building at 609 Foster Street. Built in 1938, the structure was originally an RJ Reynolds tobacco packing house and warehouse. The back patio of the property’s Rickhouse event space (formerly an aging warehouse where packed tobacco barrels were stored) faces the old Durham Bulls stadium.

“I love the architectural concept of contrasting a fresh, contemporary space within the steel and wood patina of the prizery,” Williford says. The prizery was the place where the tobacco was “prized” or pressed into hogshead barrels for shipping. “Two traditional types of copper stills and other vacuum-based techniques will be used for distillation and blending based on the spirit created. This use of the space and the distilling processes complement and balance the old and the new.”

According to Doug Pierson, AIA, co-founder and principal architect at pod a+d, the architectural idea for Liberty & Plenty “focuses on the entry, the bar, and on the way visitors will experience the distillery.”

To that end, he and his partner, co-founder/designer Youn Choi, have custom-designed a multi-functional “furniture bar” to accommodate product tasting, retail displays, bottle sales, and casual seating for distillery events in one elegant furniture item.

FURNITURE BAR RENDERING OF THE MULTI-FUNCTIONAL “FURNITURE BAR,” by pod a+d

The “furniture bar” will also create a visual and physical separation between guests and the production process. A physical separation is a state requirement for all operating distilleries.

“In other words, we’ll feed two birds with one seed,” Pierson said. “The furniture bar will satisfy the state mandate while accommodating a host of distillery needs.”

Like their client, the pod a+d team also believes the textural contrast between the clean lines and smooth wood of the furniture bar and the unrefined nature of the old brick building will be part of Liberty & Plenty’s appeal.

As for the name: The unique nomenclature for Williford’s future distillery is as North Carolina-centric as the location: It’s derived from the N.C. State seal. At the center of the seal are two robed figures,  “Liberty” on the left and “Plenty” on the right.

This project marks the fourth spirits distillery that pod a+d has designed, including the 55,000-square-foot Rabbit Hole bourbon distillery in downtown Louisville, Kentucky, which has received two design awards to date.

DURHAM MAGAZINE: “How We Live Now – Personal Experiences During Quarantine”

When Durham Magazine editors looked around the Triangle to discover how a sampling of residents are making the most of the current COVID-19 quarantine, they called pod architecture + design in Chapel Hill to chat with architect Doug Pierson and experiential graphics designer Youn Choi, partners in life as well as the award-winning firm. The magazine posted the full story at durhammag.com/how-we-live-now-in-quarantine/. Below is Doug’s and Youn’s segment (plus a family photo by Jeremy Lange that appeared recently in the Wall Street Journal.)

‘Stay-at-home retreat’

unique home pod architecture + design
L-R: Sora, Doug, Oscar, and Youn

Carrboro architects Doug Pierson and Youn Choi of pod architecture + design and their kids, Oscar, 18, and Sora, 15, live in a temporary townhome on Smith Level Road while they wrap up on a custom-built house they designed in Carrboro near South Green. Doug writes:

We are expecting our certificate of occupancy for our new house in a couple weeks, but it has been a challenge to finalize with the pandemic and stay-at-home requirements in place.

So, as we prepare for our eventual move, we are using our property as a “stay-at-home” retreat where we have family outdoor time. Activities include working on the house and site; checking out fish in our stream; walking to the old 1930s community Sparrow Pool ruin in our woods; having a picnic; homework; bike rides and walks.

WALL STREET JOURNAL: “For These Unique Homes, Being the Odd One Out Has Its Ups and Downs”

Photo by Jeremy M. Lange
Douglas Pierson and Youn Choi are building this ultramodern home in Carrboro, N.C. The home, which has cost $820,000 to build, has brought stares, questions and thumbs up from surprised neighbors.

Outliers in architecturally distinct areas can linger on the market, but fetch a premium over comparable homes.

By Katy McLaughlin | Photos by James M. Lange

…Youn Choi and her husband Doug Pierson are just finishing construction of a home in Carrboro, N.C., that is so “unique” and “quirky” that neighbors stand and stare at it from the road, said Mr. Pierson, 55.

One curious passerby called out “what is that?” When Mr. Pierson answered “it’s a house,” he responded, “really?” In general, neighbors have been encouraging, flashing “thumbs-up” signs or telling the couple they like it.

unique home pod architecture + design
L-R: Sora, Doug, Oscar, and Youn

Mr. Pierson and his wife, who co-own an architecture and design firm in Chapel Hill, N.C., moved from Los Angeles, where they worked for contemporary design firms. Their suburban community features some historic mill houses and lots of newer, traditional homes. But the house the couple designed, with its snakelike form, cantilevered angles and black, corrugated-metal cladding, has few precedents in the area.

They paid $170,000 for the 1.3-acre lot which is close to downtown but filled with topographical challenges, including slopes and a creek, which necessitated the home’s meandering shape. So far, they have spent about $650,000 to build, and plan to move into the home in May, they said.

The Pierson/Choi home could fetch about $800,000 to $1 million, said Jeff Rupkalvis, owner of Dwell Real Estate in Carrboro. “It’s as unique a home as I’ve seen in Carrboro,” he said. Most homes in the area follow the traditional “five-four-and-a-door” format of five windows on the top floor and four on the ground level with the front door in the middle, he said… READ MORE

Doug Pierson Tapped to Judge National Metal Construction Awards

Doug P. 2019The editors of Metal Construction News (MCN), the premier national news magazine for the metal construction industry, have tapped North Carolina architect Doug Pierson, AIA, to serve as one of only three judges for their 2019 Building and Roofing Awards.

Pierson and his partner Youn Choi are co-owners and principals of pod architecture + design. Their Chapel Hill-based firm received the highest honor – Grand Winner — in MCN’s 2018 awards program for their design of the 55,000-square-foot Rabbit Hole Distillery in downtown Louisville, Kentucky.

“Because that honor meant so much to us, I was incredibly honored when [Senior Editor] Mark Robins asked me to serve as a judge this year,” said Pierson, who is also a faculty member at NC State University’s College of Design.

Projects have been submitted to the Building and Roofing Awards in five categories: Metal Buildings, Metal Roofs/New, Metal Roofs/Retrofit, Metal Walls/New, and Metal Walls/Retrofit.

Pierson and the other two judges will receive the entries digitally on October 4th. On October 14 they will confer with the MCN staff to determine the best three submissions in each category and the 2019 Grand Winner. The judges may also suggest projects worthy of a “Judges’ Award.”

This is the 33rd year that Metal Construction News has showcased innovation and excellence in the metal construction industry through its awards program.

MCN is a Modern Trade Communications, Inc., publication. For more information, go to metalconstructionnews.com.

For more information on Doug Pierson and pod architecture + design, visit www.podand.com.

Chapel Hill Firm Wins 2019 AIA Kentucky Design Award for Modern Bourbon Distillery in Downtown Louisville

RH Sidewalk view to Event Space
View from the city sidewalk up to the cantilevered event space with the manufacturing atrium behind it.

In a ceremony in Cincinnati, Ohio, last week, Doug Pierson, AIA, and Youn Choi, partners at pod architecture + design (pod a+d) in Chapel Hill, NC, received their second design award for Rabbit Hole Distillery, the metal, glass, and blackened wood structure they designed in downtown Louisville, KY, that the president of the Kentucky Distillers Association called “a modern monument to our historic industry.”

Earlier this year, pod a+d’s distillery design claimed the top “Grand Award” honor in Metal Construction Newsannual awards program.

The Kentucky chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) presented its awards during the AIA Ohio Valley Region’s “Celebrating Design Awards Luncheon” on September 19 at the Hilton Netherlands Plaza in Cincinnati.

The awards jury praised the new distillery as “an exuberant extension of industrial language with playful materiality. There is a legible and contemporary expression of both corporate identity and the process of making at various scales. In this way, the process of production becomes part of the architecture.”

Doug and Youn
Founders, partners, and principal designers Doug Pierson and Youn Choi.

​According to Pierson and Choi, the design embraced the strategy “form follows process” as they allowed the building to take shape in direct response to the bourbon production process it houses.

The design also expresses owner Kaveh Zamanian’s vision for “transparency and craft,” another aspect the awards jury appreciated: “The architectural language in section builds up to create programmatic density in some moments and transparency at the atrium.”

The building’s “strong relationship to the street” impressed the jurors as well.

For more information on Rabbit Hole Distillery, visit www.rabbitholedistillery.com.

For more information on pod a+d, visit www.podand.com.