Construction has just begun on Snøhetta’s Charlotte Mecklenburg Library in North Carolina, USA. The new project is designed to become a significant destination in Uptown Charlotte. Last week, the main library organized a commemoration to celebrate the beginning of the demolition phase on site in anticipation of the upcoming construction. It is set to open in the spring of 2026.
North Carolina: The Latest Architecture and News
George Smart is an unlikely preservationist, almost an accidental one. The founder and executive director of USModernist, a nonprofit dedicated to the preservation and documentation of modern houses, Smart worked for 30 years as a management consultant. “I was doing strategic planning and organization training,” he says. “My wife refers to this whole other project as a 16-year seizure.” Recently I spoke with Smart about his two websites, the podcast, the house tours his organization conducts, and why documentation is such a power preservation tool.
Adaptive reuse or the process of transforming an older building by reusing the structure and changing its original purpose, has gained relevance over the years especially because it allows a complete optimization of the performance of the existing built environment. In a piece, originally published on Metropolis, author Elissaveta Brandon explores how "architects and developers are transforming the staples of the South—located throughout a 120-mile region from Winston-Salem to Fayetteville—into infrastructure fit for today". Transforming historic mills into design hubs, and mixed-use complexes, the article highlights 3 examples from North Carolina.
"We Can Be Catalysts for Change": Designer Fauzia Khanani on Pioneering New Prototypes for the Future
Fauzia Khanani is no stranger to challenging the status quo. Working on a range of projects around the globe, from New York and Zurich to Budapest and Geneva, she continues to rethink the process of design across the built environment. Her firm, Studio For, is pioneering new prototypes for the future of work in a post pandemic era. At the same time, she's working on a number of pro-bono conceptual community-driven projects.
Henning Larsen and RATIO to Design the East Civic Tower, Phase One of the Civic Campus in North Carolina
Henning Larsen was just selected for the design of the first phase of the Civic Campus in Raleigh, North Carolina. In collaboration with local firm RATIO, the project part of the city’s strategic plan consists of creating the East Civic Tower, the town's city hall.
Designed by Snøhetta in collaboration with Clark Nexsen, the new Main Library of Charlotte Mecklenburg Library reinterprets the space through a technologically-advanced approach and highlights the importance of this function in the community's daily life.
The largest park project in the United States is underway at Dorothea Dix Park in Raleigh, North Carolina. The city purchased the Dorothea Dix campus from the State of North Carolina in 2015 with the intent of creating a great destination park in the heart of the community. This year, Raleigh City Council adopted the Dorothea Dix Park Master Plan, and now an implementation plan is underway for Phase 1. Designed to span decades, the creation of the 300 acre park will include the site of North Carolina’s first mental hospital.
Group Project, a student group from MIT, is helping GrowingChange, a non-profit that works with previously incarcerated youth, to transform an old North Carolina prison into an agricultural community center. GrowingChange looks to take advantage of the small, decommissioned prisons scattered throughout the state's landscape. They see these sites as "places where communities can work together to provide clinical support, education, and vocational training as a means to divert youth from the criminal justice" system.
Read on for more about how prison flipping intends to "counter a legacy of incarceration."
Diller Scofidio + Renfro (DS+R) has been selected by Discovery Place and the City of Charlotte to design the new Discovery Place Science center in uptown Charlotte, North Carolina. Partnering with architect-of-record Jenkins•Peer Architects (J•PA), the team will create a masterplan and conceptual design for the museum, one of the state's most popular cultural attractions.
The team of Snøhetta (design architect), Clark Nexsen (architect-of-record) and brightspot strategy (community engagement and space programming) has been selected to design the new Main Building for the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library in downtown Charlotte, North Carolina.
The team will work to incorporate the creative vision created by the library and its community through a multi-year planning process. Envisioned as a “public commons,” the building will aimed at becoming a catalyst for urban revitalization, becoming a new hub of culture, education and community connection for the city.
Artist and photographer Rob Carter shared with us a video in which, through montages and digital collages, shows the urban growth of the city of Charlotte, in the state of North Carolina, USA. The video, titled Metropolis, is "an abbreviated city narrative [...] that uses stop-motion animation to physically manipulate aerial imagery, creating a landscape in constant motion."
Charlotte is one of the fastest growing cities in the US and Carter's production features the changes that have taken place in recent years in its central region. Verticality and density of buildings (not necessarily people) continue to mark the urbanization of the city.
Clark Nexsen has won the international Activate Urban Housing Design Competition with its proposal for an urban dwelling on South Mint Street in downtown Charlotte, North Carolina. The design, entitled Mint, focuses on connectivity and neighborhood and includes residential, retail, and open green spaces.
Conceived as a catalyst for a culinary district, Mint aims to create a new urban living and working space, in which the connectivity of food-centered entrepreneurial enterprises fosters a sense of community.
Janet Echelman has completed her most recent aerial net sculpture in downtown Greensboro, North Carolina. Made up of over 35 miles of technical twine woven into 242,800 knots, the sculptures adds a new ephemeral presence to the sky above the city’s new LeBauer Park. Entitled “Where We Met,” the sculpture’s form and composition were inspired by Greensboro’s history as a railroad and textile hub.
The AIA has selected George Smart as the winner of the 2016 Collaborative Achievement Award for his work with North Carolina Modernist Houses (NCMH), which creates “fresh awareness” of modern architecture through its mission to "document, preserve, and promote modernist architecture" across the US. The award, to be presented at the 2016 AIA National Convention and Design Exposition in Philadelphia, recognizes and encourages distinguished achievements of allied professionals, clients, organizations, architect teams, knowledge communities, and others who have had a beneficial influence on or advanced the architectural profession.
Barcelona-based Vilalta Studio has unveiled the designs for the Ebenezer Chapel, a granite excavated chapel in Raleigh, North Carolina. Upon completion, the chapel will be excavated 15 meters below ground in a sloped forest terrain next to Richland Creek, and will be built completely from the natural granite on the site.
From the lowest point of the site at the creek, a continuous ramp will slope down around the chapel, and into the foyer, as the main entrance to the space, all of which provides natural light and ventilation in addition to chapel access.
Mario Botta: Architecture and Memory is an exhibition spanning the 50-year career of internationally acclaimed architect Mario Botta, the designer of the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art building and one of the century's most fundamental contributors to postmodern architecture.
The people have spoken: UNC Charlotte’s 2013 Solar Decathlon entry, UrbanEden has won the “People’s Choice Award.” Designed as an urban infill project for a couple in Charlotte, North Carolina, the net-zero solar-powered home defines itself by establishing a strong indoor and outdoor connection in the middle of the city. By enclosing the back deck with a seven-foot tall vertical garden and integrating a high-performance glass wall along the home’s south side, dwellers are presented with the unlikely option of privately enjoying the outdoors within a dense urban context.