Text description provided by the architects. The First Presbyterian Church has been a part of Raleigh’s urban fabric for over a century. It is a well-established entity in Raleigh’s humanitarian outreach programs as well as an important part of the city’s community. The church has gone through several renovations and additions since its establishment in the 1800s, however, resulting in several buildings gathered around a parking lot with little architectural connection. The congregation wants to update the campus to become more modern, practical and united. The members also want the campus to be more welcoming to the public and to contribute to downtown revitalization by reusing rainwater, minimizing energy consumption, and incorporating “greenscapes.”
The project includes renovating the existing Sanctuary and adjacent spaces, and replacing the existing 18,000-square-foot Education Building with a new 24,000-square-foot Education Building that will house classrooms, library, a coffee bar, archives, a common gathering space, atrium, reception area, bathrooms, and offices. The existing parking lot will become a landscaped link that connects the two sides of the campus, along with other landscaping. Embracing green architecture, the project will include many LEED principles, including natural ventilation and lighting and the use of locally available materials.
One of the most sustainable aspects of the church renovation is the recovery of the original 1900 building fabric, which had been covered over in subsequent renovations. We have restored natural light in the old sanctuary and adjacent fellowship hall, and are restoring three magnificent terra cotta and brick arches that connect the two spaces. The result of the renovation and new Education Building will not only improve and expand First Presbyterian Church as a place of worship. it will also make this historic campus an exemplary community within the city.