Photo by Jerry Siegel

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Ellen Cassilly

Born and raised in St. Louis as the youngest of six children, Ellen Cassilly was drawn to art, design, and architecture from an early age. Her days were filled with creating and building projects of all scales, materials, and complexities. After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania, Ellen moved to Paris and worked for four years in the office of Pritzker prize-winning architect Christian De Portzamparc. After Paris Ellen made a brief detour to Japan to work in the office of Arata Isozaki and then realized her dream of a solo cycling adventure throughout Tibet, Nepal, and India. Back in the U.S., Ellen worked for award-winning Raleigh architect Frank Harmon. In 1998 Ellen purchased the old Coman Lumber Supply building in downtown Durham, on auction, and transformed it into the studio for Ellen Cassilly Architects (ECA). ECA has received awards on their sensitively designed public and private work in and around Durham.

In 2006, Ellen and her husband Frank Konhaus codirected the Georges Rousse Warehouse Interventions project, the single largest and most successful public art project in the history of Durham. This experience was pivotal in the design of Cassilhaus, their home and artist residency.

Ellen has taught design studios, sustainability seminars, and summer design/build studios in the architecture department at North Carolina State University over the last twenty-seven years. In 2018 Ellen became a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects.

Ten Things That Make My Life More Joy-filled

  1. My north star, Frank
  2. Learning and exploring
  3. Trees and plants
  4. Loving, kindness
  5. Jaco and Joni
  6. Smoky paprika
  7. Swimming outside in the sun
  8. A good night of sleep
  9. Reading on the screened porch
  10. Cooking for friends