Architecture alumni Craig Kerins ‘04 and Robby Johnston ‘03 of The Raleigh Architecture Company were recently awarded the prestigious 2023 Kamphoefner Award by AIA North Carolina. One of the state’s highest design awards, the $10,000 prize was named after Henry Kamphoefner, the first dean at North Carolina State University’'s School of Design and celebrates commitment to and excellence in architecture’s modern movement.
Kerins and Johnston established The Raleigh Architecture Company (RACo) and its partner company, The Raleigh Construction Company, in 2012. They describe their practice as “a design-build group bound by a passion for crafting work that inspires meaningful places, provides experiences to improve quality of life, elevates progressive design in the region, and promotes ecologically sustainable buildings.” In the past decade, they have designed and built 100+ residential and commercial projects in Raleigh and North Carolina.
Kerins and Johnston planted the seeds of their professional partnership as classmates at UNC Charlotte. In a previous interview Robby said that his education at UNC Charlotte taught him “abstract and critical thinking, problem solving skills, contextual awareness, and design discipline – all day-to-day fixtures in the learning process that continue to influence the day-to-day design process at Raleigh Architecture and Raleigh Construction.” Craig also mentioned his time at UNC Charlotte in his spotlight, “The robust workshop facilities at UNC Charlotte were significant to me during this time, and RACo has maintained similar resources as part of our process since the beginning.”
RACo has received multiple American Institute of Architecture (AIA) Regional Design Honor and Merit Awards, AIA NC Design Honor and Merit Awards, and Triangle Design Honor, Merit, and Homes Tour Awards for their single-family and multi-family residential housing. In 2021, their work was featured in A SOUTH FORTY: Contemporary Architecture and Design in the American South, an exhibition presented by The European Cultural Center in conjunction with the 2021 Venice Architecture Biennale.
Frank Harmon, a past Kamphoefner Award winner and a nationally recognized leader in sustainable and regional modernism, praised RACo's work: “Raleigh Architecture Company has improved the commonwealth of architecture in Raleigh and beyond. They have consistently applied the principles of the modern movement over 10 years. It is exciting to imagine what they will do next.”
Kerins and Johnston were jointly awarded the 2021 College of Arts + Architecture Distinguished Alumni Award in Architecture.