Charlotte’s iconic modernist “house that fell to earth” was demolished last week

Charlotte’s iconic modernist “house that fell to earth” was demolished last week
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In 1970, Mark Bernstein built a house at 5300 Hardison Road. It was designed by his brother Lawrence Allen Bernstein, who served as an apprentice under Frank Lloyd Wright, and the local project architect was William Crutcher Ross.

Ross, an award-winning Charlotte architect and professor of architecture at CPCC and UNC Charlotte, is credited with creating the Fourth Ward neighborhood, taking it from 12 to 4,000 residents in the late ’70s. His most famous project, the Myrtle Beach Hilton hotel built in 1974, still stands today.

Lawrence Bernstein studied architecture and industrial management at MIT (1951 – 1958) taking two years off to serve in the U.S. Army during the Korean War. Following the completion of his studies, he kicked off his career apprenticing under Frank Lloyd Wright as a Taliesin Fellow in 1958. Bernstein went on to design award-winning residential, commercial and medical buildings, including his brother’s home in Charlotte.

photo by Modern Charlotte Realty via Facebook

photo by Modern Charlotte Realty via Facebook

The airy, organic, otherworldly design of the Mark Bernstein Home in Charlotte earned it the nickname “the house that fell to earth” by Gail Jodon of Modern Charlotte Realty.

Check out some of the shots from Jodon, who specializes in mid-century modern and modernist homes in the greater Charlotte area.

photo by Modern Charlotte Realty via Facebook

photo by Modern Charlotte Realty via Facebook

photo by Modern Charlotte Realty via Facebook

photo by Modern Charlotte Realty via Facebook

Unfortunately, age and a change in ownership also earned the Bernstein Home a spot on North Carolina Modernist Home’s most endangered home list in 2013.

The Bernsteins sold the home in 2004 and it sat vacant from 2007 until it was demolished last week.

photo by Modern Charlotte Realty via Facebook

photo by Modern Charlotte Realty via Facebook

Mark Bernstein’s son Adam, who grew up in the home, alerted us of its untimely demolition.

“My parents and uncle are dead,” he said via email, “so I’m glad they weren’t around to see what happened.” Ross passed away in 2011.

Adam’s sister Cary Bernstein, owner and executive director of Spay Neuter Charlotte, had this to say, “It was an honor growing up in such a unique and special place, and tragic that the current owners of the property had such little regard for its historical significance.”

Local modern home realtor Gail Jodon wrote an Ode to the Bernstein Home on April 7, the day it was demolished, saying, “‘… the house that fell to earth’ is no more than a pile of rubble.”

Learn more about Charlotte’s modern homes at North Carolina Modernist Homes, a nonprofit organization that documents, promotes and preserves modernist residences.

Header image by Gail Jodon via Facebook

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