LocationRaleigh, NC, United States
Architect in ChargeFrank Harmon Architect
Design TeamFrank Harmon, Will Lambeth
Text description provided by the architects. Problem Statement
The JC Raulston Arboretum is a nationally acclaimed garden with the most diverse collection of cold-hardy temperate zone plants in the southeastern United States. As part of North Carolina State University’s Department of Horticultural Science, the Arboretum is primarily a working research and teaching garden that focuses on the evaluation, selection, and display of plant material gathered from around the world.
Plants especially adapted to conditions in the Piedmont region of North Carolina are identified in an effort to find better plants for southern landscapes. The horticultural facility is an eight-acre jewel that has been largely built and maintained by NC State University students, faculty, volunteers, and staff.
Our Design Response
The arboretum asked the architect to design an open-air lath structure to replace the existing dilapidated shade house adjacent to a Japanese garden. The structure functions as a laboratory for experimental horticultural techniques and methods. It also shelters infant plants, so the design may be compared to an abstract tree that is spreading its branches to protect the tender plants.
Through its screen of carefully placed wooden two-by-twos with steel support, the new pro bono structure fulfills the specific light-to-shade ratio needed for the plants in the spring. It shelters infant plants as they transition into larger gardens within the arboretum grounds. The Lath House also provides an accessible community garden for the City of Raleigh and an educational asset to the State of North Carolina.