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examples of Brutalist Architecture in Greensboro


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Brutalist Architecture was very popular in urban downtowns and school campuses during the 1960s. At the time Greensboro was North Carolina's second largest city.  While some may loath the style, Its part of our architectural history and should be preserved. Here are some examples of the architecture style in Greensboro

The Guilford County Courthouse is part of the Governmental Plaza which includes the old courthouse and the Melvin Municipal Building which is the center of city operations. City Council meetings are also held in the Melvin Building. The new county courthouse and Melvin Municipal building was designed by Eduardo Catalano and the complex was completed in 1973. It is noted that the Governmental Plaza Complex is among the top best examples of the style in the southeast.

The new county courthouse (1973)




The Melvin Municipal Building (1973)



The old Guilford County Jail tower across the street from the courthouse


The new jail tower to the left of the old jail tower is a more modern interpretation of the brutalist style



The Greene Street Parking Deck is located across the street from the governmental plaza. The city has added art to the building and it is lit with multiple colors at night.



Federal Home Loan Bank on North Elm Street in downtown Greensboro.




Self Help Building (The old First Union Bank Building)


Gateway Plaza Tower in downtown Greensboro. I don't really have a problem with the design. but I do have a problem with the horrible paint job.


Walter Clinton Jackson Library UNCG campus




The Hampshire condos (originally apartments when it opened in the 1960s) Its located less than a mile north of downtown near Moses Cone Hospital. The tower originally had balconies. Today it looks similar to the old Caprini Green housing development in Chicago. If you have seen the opening credits on the 1970s  sitcom "Good Times", you'll know what I'm talking about.


My personal favorites are the Governmental Plaza and the Jackson Library. 

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^ Don't forget the Marriott. When I was last there a couple years ago it felt like it had a bunker-like street presence.

Greensboro could have one of the nicest downtowns in NC, but it certainly has lots of recent mistakes to fix first: The things that jump immediately to mind are slimming down the racetrack arterials, get better bikability (including developing good (protected) connections btw UNCG and A&T and downtown) and creating some nodes off of Elm (the ballpark was a good start but its seasonal).  

Hourly commuter rail service to RDU and Charlotte would totally break downtown Gboro open (in a good way). Too bad its not in the cards.

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Believe it ot not Action Greensboro thought about connectivity between UNCG, NC A&T and downtown. Part of the downtown comprehensive plan in 1999 included a streetcar/trolley route along Market St and Friendly Ave connecting the universities to downtown in regards to transportation. The downtown greenway helps accomplish that because students from both schools can use the greenway to get to the joint Union Square university campus in the emerging university district at the south end of downtown. More bike lanes have also been added downtown.  I think streetscaping should be a priority and some one way streets need to be turned to two way streets to help slow traffic down to make certain parts of downtown more pedestrian friendly. The streetscaping on the west side of downtown is pretty bad and there were some architectural mistakes in recent develelopment on that side of downtown. The YMCA is a good example of that. In addition to a poorly designed YMCA, its parking lot takes up a block. They should have built a deck so that land could be set aside for other development. There is a suburban style Hardee's on the west side of downtown as well. The west side needs work with the exception to the ballpark area which is going to see major change over the next several years. They have started putting in place decorative mast traffic lights near the ballpark. 

P. A. R. T. Which is a regional transportation group that runs a regional bus system in the Triad did toss around the idea of a monorail connecting downtown with the airport in the median along Bryan Blvd. Thats a cool idea but it was one of their pie in the sky ideas. I would prefer ground level light rail and it needs to go to Winston-Salem. Winston-Salem is cut off from the rest of the Piedmont's big cities and they need passenger rail service. Its unbelievable that its not been a priority. There is no train station or passenger rail of any kind in Winston-Salem.  The city is far outside of the rail arc between Raleigh and Charlotte and that could be a reason. 

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