15 Oak Dr. - George Watts Carr House

35.979369, -78.915927

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National Register
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15 Oak Dr.jpg

(photograph courtesy of Alex Maness)

From the 2012 Preservation Durham Old Home Tour booklet:

From the front, 15 Oak Drive looks like a typical early-20th century Colonial Revival style house.  But a surprise awaits in the back garden, which is full of sculpture by homeowner Guy Solie.  Inspired by Alexander Calder, Solie has made sculpture for the past forty years, but he only began making large pieces intended for outdoor installation in 2010.  Four colorful pieces arranged on several terrace levels revolve and swing in the breeze, adding extra color and movement to the landscape.

The house, which is not open for the tour, was designed by George Watts Carr in 1925 for his own family.  A classic Colonial Revival, the house features a small gabled porch with an arched opening at the center of the main block.  The narrow shed roofs that flank the entrance are repeated in the main roof above.  A two-story wing extends the house to the west and a screened porch is on the east side.

The driveway on the west side of the house leads to the sculpture garden behind the house.  The large yard falls away from the back of the house in several terraces, and the sculptures are spaced throughout the area.  “Full Moon,” closest to the house, features on one side a large white circle balanced by a series of bright yellow organic shapes.  This piece is balanced on top of a length of  black-painted two-by-four.  As the yellow weights rotate, they cast shadows on each other, creating more interesting shapes.

“Smiles” features irregular shapes with open centers, painted bright red, yellow, and green balanced on top of a length of bamboo painted bright green. 

“Waterfall” balances small circles on one side with open-centered circles atop a red bamboo pole.  The hanging shapes on this piece are all painted red on one side and green on the other, adding yet another element to the ever-changing composition.

“Leaves” reflects the landscape with its leaf-shaped elements balanced atop another bamboo pole.  A delicate open circle at the fulcrum point atop the pole and a single round weight accent the graceful organic shapes of the green and yellow steel leaves.

15 Oak Dr Garden (1).JPG

(photograph courtesy of Alex Maness)

Solie has created only two other monumental sculptures.  One is located at Club Boulevard Humanities Magnet Elementary School and the other is at the Community Garden on Briggs Avenue.


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