Recognition & Presentations

Liberty Arts Award

Ellen received the 2019 Liberty Arts Award which recognizes an individual who has made a significant contribution to the artistic, cultural, and economic vitality of Durham.

Downsize Magazine by Fine Homebuilding

We love working on small, efficient projects so we were especially happy when Downsize Magazine (a sister publication to Fine Homebuilding Magazine) asked about including our design for the Schauman | Adams home. It is about 1,100 s.f. and built of precast, insulated concrete panels.

2018 Golden Leaf Awards

We had three projects in the running for Durham City / Durham County Appearance Commission Golden Leaf Awards and all three were honored for excellence in design and preservation of their properties at the 2018 Golden Leaf Awards for Community Appearance. Meintjes Berliner Guest House & Studio received the Hearth & Home Award Grub received the Adaptive Reuse Award Sarah P. Duke Gardens’ Prairie Garden Classroom received the People's Choice Award Sponsored by the Durham City-County Appearance Commission, Keep Durham Beautiful, Inc., and the Durham CityCounty Environmental Affairs Board, eight Golden Leaf Awards were given to seven properties to honor their excellence in design, preservation, and stewardship of the natural and built environment. This year, 26 entries were judged in the following seven categories: Keep Durham Beautiful; Garden & Landscape; Hearth & Home; Adaptive Reuse, Small-Scale Development; Large-Scale Development; and Sustainable Design. In addition there was also the People’s Choice winner.

Best of Houzz 2018

Awarded "Best of Customer Service" on Houzz®, the leading platform for home remodeling and design. Ellen Cassilly Architect was chosen by the more than 40 million users that comprise the Houzz community from among more than one million active home building, remodeling and design industry professionals. The Best Of Houzz is awarded annually in three categories: Design, Customer Service and Photography. Design award winners’ work was the most popular among the more than 40 million monthly users on Houzz. Customer Service honors are based on several factors, including the number and quality of client reviews a professional received in 2017. Architecture and interior design photographers whose images were most popular are recognized with the Photography award. Ellen Cassilly Architect was also previously awarded Best of Houzz for Design in 2015, 2016, and 2017. "The Houzz community selected a phenomenal group of Best of Houzz 2018 award winners, so this year's recipients should be very proud,” said Liza Hausman, Vice President of Industry Marketing at Houzz. “Best of Houzz winners represent some of the most talented and customer-focused professionals in our industry, and we are extremely pleased to give them both this recognition and a platform on which to showcase their expertise." Follow Ellen Cassilly Architect on Houzz at

Green Home Tour

The Still Hollow home on the Green Home Tour the last weekend in April and the first weekend in May, 2018. Creating an energy efficient home was the number one priority for our Still Hollow clients. It was designed to be net-zero, a home that creates as much energy as it uses. Our aim was to create a home that was just large enough for them, with a tightly sealed envelope including triple pane windows, and then install just enough photovoltaic panels to generate the required power to supply all of their energy needs.

Building Up the Bull City

In this article in Walter Magazine, J. Michael Welton writes a stunning profile on Ellen Cassilly. The article starts out: "Driving through Durham with architect Ellen Cassilly, you’d be hard-pressed to find a section of the city where she hasn’t made a difference. There’s Central Park and the pavilion next to it, home to Durham Farmers’ Market. There’s Leaf, a shade structure that was the first design-build project from N.C. State’s Summer Studio, in 2009. There’s Liberation Threads, the ethically sourced fashion shop on Chapel Hill Street, and the apartment above it. The list goes on, wherever your tour might take you [...]"

Fellow of the American Institute of Architects (FAIA)

In 2017, Ellen Cassilly was inducted into the Fellows of the American Institute of Architects (FAIA). It was humbling to be in a class of 180 outstanding architects who are working in their own ways to improve their communities and to elevate the profession of architecture.

Architectural Jewels Across the Triangle

In this article in Walter Magazine, J. Michael Welton highlights several of Ellen Cassilly's architectural projects across the Triangle, including the Charlotte Brody Discovery Garden and Prairie Garden Classroom at the Sarah P. Duke Gardens, as well as two of her students' projects at the North Carolina Museum of Art. "Down the hill, overlooking a pond that cleans and filters storm water before releasing it to a stream below, is a platform created out of steel, poured-in-place concrete, and South American ipe wood. It hovers over the water’s edge, creating a place for rest and contemplation – and for conversations about sustainability in the environment. It was created by students at N.C. State’s Design/Build summer program in 2013 – and ever since it’s been a gaze-shifter, conversation-starter, and a fixture that’s fully part of the pond."

Best Architect in Durham County 2016

Voted Best Architect in Durham County, 2016 by Indy Week's "Best of the Triangle"

Green Home Tour

The Skye-Norris House on the Green Home Tour! Last weekend of April and the first weekend of May 2016. This house is the last of the three homes we designed at the corner of Kent and Ward in Durham. Best for last? You decide. All three homes have a soft spot in our hearts.

The Charlotte Brody Discovery Garden at Sarah P. Duke Gardens

American Society of Landscape Architects Award, 2016

The Floating Lab at Hub Farm

Golden Leaf Awards: Keep Durham Beautiful, 2016 (designed by Ellen's Design/Build students at NC State)

Green Home Tour

We are happy to have the Lamont home (1406 Ward Street, Durham) on the Triangle Home Builders' Association Green Home Tour May 2-3 & 9-10, 2015. It is still under construction - the most exciting time. It's like getting to look under the hood. The home was designed for a growing family and features an impressive folding glass wall between the main living area and the screened porch for great indoor/outdoor living.

Designlife: Winter 2014 Feature

Each summer, Ellen Cassilly teaches the Design/Build Studio at the NC School of Architecture. In 2013, she led her students in designing a floating lab as an addition to a 30-plus acre piece of land called the "HUB farm," owned by Durham Public Schools, where students, teachers and the community can study agriculture and the environment. This project was highlighted in the Winter 2014 issue of Designlife, The Magazine of the NC State University College of Design. You can view the feature HERE. See pages 12-13.

Drawing from Practice

Ellen Cassilly was featured in the recent publication, Drawing from Practice: Architects and the Meaning of Freehand (2015). Excerpt from Chapter 7, Ellen Cassilly: Talking and Sketching: "'Sketches are important to getting to the truth,' she says. 'I've seen people get down to the nitty-gritty and say: "Oh, we can't do that!" — and that's why it's important to go back and forth between concept sketches and CAD drawings.' Besides, she says, there's nothing quite as impressive as chatting with clients who are talking about their wants, needs, and desires while they're waving their hands all about the room. 'You can grab a pencil and turn to them and say: "You mean like this?"' she says. 'And they'll say: "Yes—this is amazing—I tell you what I want, and you sketch it!" 'And I'll say: "Yes! That's what I do!"' All the while, she'll have been looking them in the eyes, drawing upside-down, and talking at the same time. It is, she says, an interactive experience for the client—and an inspired part of an architect's life."

North Carolina Modernist Homes

Poland - DeFeo House on the North Carolina Modernist Homes tour, May 3, 2014

Green Home Tour

The Hamlin Residence on the Triangle Green Home Tour May 3-4 and 10-11, 2014

Sarah P. Duke Gardens Entry Structure

Golden Leaf Awards: Neighborhood Garden and Landscape, 2014

Green Home Tour

Lowe/Umbanhower Home on the spring Home Builders Association Green Home Tour April 13-14 and April 20-21, 2013

Triangle Modernist Houses Tour

The Chute Residence has been selected for the Triangle Modernists Houses (TMH) Tour April 14, 2012.

Best Green Architect

Voted Best Green Architect, 2012 in Indy Week's "Best of the Triangle"

Outstanding Downtown Project Award

The Leaf received the 2011 Outstanding Downtown Project Award from Downtown Durham Inc.

Kress Condominiums

The George and Mary Pyne Historic Preservation Award, 2008

Durham Farmer's Market

Golden Leaf Awards: Community Appearance, 2007 Durham City-County Appearance Commission, 2007

Garden Study

Golden Leaf Awards: Community Appearance, 2004 Durham City-County Appearance Commission, 2004


The George and Mary Pyne Historic Preservation Award, 2003 AIA Triangle Design Award, Honorable Mention, 2004 NCAIA Design Award, 2005

Fowler's (now Parker & Otis)

The George and Mary Pyne Historic Preservation Award, 1998