Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

mikeinnc

Triangle architecture & design

Recommended Posts

Hi everyone. This is my first post here, and I am glad to have found a forum where people have some of the same concerns that I do about cities in general and Raleigh in particular. While I am glad to see all the new projects going up in downtown Raleigh, I must admit I am underwhelmed by the design of our buildings, both new and old.

Take , for example, our state Capitol. Despite all the chamber of commerce puff pieces touting its neoclassical design, the fact is that it looks like a library at a small college. It lacks the grandeur one would expect of such a public building (not to mention size; if they had built it big enough to begin with, they wouldn't have had to build the legislative building). Even Rhode Island has a grander looking Capitol building.

Then there are some newer projects. The new convention center; functional but uninspired. Can you imagine what it would have looked like if it had been designed by, say, I.M. Pei? Or some new condos like Park Devereaux, or to a lesser extent, the Dawson? Why does every new condo have to resemble a turn-of-the-century cotton mill?

Skyscrapers; not enough of them. What's wrong, Raleigh, are you afraid of building tall? Raleigh has a population of over 300,000, but you'd never guess it to look at our sorry excuse for a skyline! I know there are good architects it this area; just look at RTP or Duke University for some innovative examples of their work. Why can't DT Raleigh have some innovative designs?

While on that subject, if the new convention center is going to draw the kind of business it seeks, one new hotel is not enough. There should be 3 or 4 new hotels within walking distance. May I suggest that one of them be a Hyatt Regency? Aside from their hotels being super-ritzy, their architecture is often dramatic and innovative. Certainly it would help shake our sleepy downtown oujt of its dull brick-and-limestone torpor! What do you think?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


This topic has been mentioned in some other threads but i'll catch the bait. I couldn't agree more that dowtown Raleigh is kinda dead, but dumpy is a little harsh. As for your thoughts on the city. The capital building was built a ways back and yes, it is small compared to some but look at the big picture. NC was a very rural state to begain with so why would a large capital be needed. We just now have hit a real big growth spurt. Raleigh's skyline is not the most impressive but it's sill decent. The reason no towers have been built is mostly due to demand. Unlike Charlotte and other NC cities, the gov't has a higher affect than the banks do. If you notice alot of the buildings DT are goverment related. BB&T along with Wachovia are the only large banks present in DT. Personally I think one new hotel will be enough. There is already a few hotels scattered threw DT so all they need is a little refurbishing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think it's RTP. Because so many businesses are located in RTP, and so many people in the Triangle work in RTP, downtown Raleigh has never had the chance to grow like, for example, downtown Charlotte. In my opinion, that's why downtown Raleigh remains so small. Imagine if all the workers in RTP worked in downtown Raleigh- it would be a totally different place.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I personally don't consider the architecture at Duke "innovative"...unless by innovative you mean taken directly from the gothic period of architecture and plopped in Durham.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Gosh...where to begin? I think any Raleighite on these forums would love to wave a magic wand and plop down a dozen skyscrapers in the heart of downtown Raleigh, myself included. If only it were that simple. I can

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think it's RTP. Because so many businesses are located in RTP, and so many people in the Triangle work in RTP, downtown Raleigh has never had the chance to grow like, for example, downtown Charlotte. In my opinion, that's why downtown Raleigh remains so small. Imagine if all the workers in RTP worked in downtown Raleigh- it would be a totally different place.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

All that growth really couldn't have fit into Downtown Raleigh (or Durham) in the first place, and it's doubtful if many of the companies at RTP would have come if it wasn't for the special district that contains it.

Anyway, the reason that Downtown Raleigh's downtown looks modest is because without annexation, suburbanization and that RTP growth, Raleigh would be a city of maybe 150,000, which it was about the time development moved out to the suburbs. In that context, it ain't bad.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Let's not forget that Raleigh and Durham are considered the same metro area that makes up 1.2 million people. If Duraleigh were one city with a central core, I believe that you'd see something different downtown. That coupled with the RTP factor have lead to a modest downtown for both Raleigh and Durham.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's a good article. One of the more interesting quotes from it:

"Instead, they say, North Carolina's capital is getting squarish buildings with safe, predictable designs -- not the sort of architecture that ends up on a postcard."

I say this is a problem in most of the cities in NC including Charlotte. The architecture is boring and many times very people unfriendly at the street. It's not hard how to figure out how to do this correctly I just don't understand why they don't.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hopefully this article will open SOME people's eyes. My article about the hotel has drawn scant response, even on this board. :angry: The only assumption the City will make from no response is that people like it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In charlotte's defense, they have a couple of architecturally impressive buildings (ie BofA tower, and Hearst tower) Those are both visually appealling and have received praise around the world for their designs. Raleigh has nothing other than the BB&T building which draws most attention at night.

I really feel that RBC missed an oppurtunity to put a stamp on this market with a very unique building. I would take First Citizens design over RBC's anyday. At least is had greater architecture to its design.

I hope someone will take advantage of the oppurtunity. The door is wide open for a master plan to walk through that will define downtown.

Like the article said, its ashame that the Soleil building isn't downtown, it is architecturally appealling.

And yes the convention center hotel is terrible

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Several good points implied or otherwise in the article. Steve Schuster seemed to say that the budget of modern buildings is consumed by things that a hundred years ago were not cost factors (AC, communications, etc.). It appears that architecture of all types, whether it be urban or part of the newly arisen suburban paradigm, changed in the 1940's....post WWII.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I will say this concerning the RBC building. The current drawing is a bit bland and does mimic the current progress energy II building at the top. However, when the first renderings of Progress came out they look nothing like the building that was actually built. So perhaps the design will change. For some reason it looks like that building would be better suited in miami or somewhere. But not as the potentially highest and most eye catching building as one enters downtown. It just dosen't make that kind of statement. Surely somebody on the design team recognizes this.

Pray for a change in the plans.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I wouldn't throw Charlotte in the same boat as Raleigh, so far as uninspiring buildings. Charlotte has quite a few iconic structures complementing their skyline. Raleigh on the other hand has maybe one (BB&T). Me personally, I think the BB&T built looks rather cheap looking(my thoughts since 12yrs old). Maybe the article this morning will catch our planning commission's eyes enough that they will seek to put an end to this nonsense. I highly complement dmccall's efforts with the renderings of the Marriot. If only you were in charge.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In charlotte's defense, they have a couple of architecturally impressive buildings (ie BofA tower, and Hearst tower) Those are both visually appealling and have received praise around the world for their designs. Raleigh has nothing other than the BB&T building which draws most attention at night.

Skylines don't make people friendly places. I recommend reading up on the city of Brazilia

The BofA tower is a failure at street level which is my biggest complaint about it and a primary problem also mentioned in the article above. They blew away several blocks of street level retail and instead replaced it with a monumental building that has nothing to to show for at its base but a concrete plaza and a very very fancy lobby that only has elevators in it. It is a very bad design from a people perspective. All too often the press is quick to praise a building such as this because it had a fancy architect and a lot of floors, but that really doesn't mean it is a good design.

I agree the the Hearst is much better.

All too often, we get very fancy looking buildings, such as the BofA tower, that do little to inspire much street life. Don't confuse size and iconic buildings with people friendly places which was the point of that article.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree with monsoon about the premise of the story. The only thing remotely iconic about the BofA tower is its size. I'm sure everyone on here would be in an uproar if the new RBC building was built in the most amazing architectural style but was only 10 stories.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I wouldn't throw Charlotte in the same boat as Raleigh, so far as uninspiring buildings. Charlotte has quite a few iconic structures complementing their skyline. Raleigh on the other hand has maybe one (BB&T). Me personally, I think the BB&T built looks rather cheap looking(my thoughts since 12yrs old). Maybe the article this morning will catch our planning commission's eyes enough that they will seek to put an end to this nonsense. I highly complement dmccall's efforts with the renderings of the Marriot. If only you were in charge.

Hey thanks, man!

I haven't poked around the base of the BOA tower, but I imagine that monsoon is right. We definitely want these new buildings to work for the street level experience. However we do need an improvement to the postcard which currently includes a series of sand and brick buildings with square windows.

I really like the BOA and Hearst towers. To me a Pelli point tower is just... delicious...for a skyline. They guy really has a way with texture and proportion.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What do you folks think of a Triangular pyramid in the same veign as the TransAmerica building in San Fran? It could be oriented with one point towards CH, the other towards Durham.

This wouldn't have to be completely occupied, ie, upper area just a fascade.

Maybe its copying SF too much, but Raleigh could be 'home of the Triangle' ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The people of SF hated the TransAmerica building when it was built. Its ironic that it is now one of the icons of that city and nobody would dream of tearing it down. For that matter the same fate almost occured to the Eiffel tower in Paris.

So I guess the point of it is that innovative and inspiring architecture is never appreciated by the generation that builds it. That comes in the future. We can only hope to stop the mundane that normally gets built because of that fear and ready acceptance of the status quo.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If I could design the RBC building, I would make it a half pyramid. Let me explain...

One side of the building, facing Fayetteville St. would be straight upward with no setback about 40 stories. The sides facing Martin St. and the Hudson would also rise with no setbacks. But the side facing Wilmington would slant backwards from street level all the way to the top above Fayetteville St.

The whole thing should be glass. It would be iconic. The top "floor" where the pyramid wouldn't permit any office or residential space, could be a crown that was lit up at night.

You could adjust the design for the parking structure, if necessary, so that the slanting side didn't begin to slant for 7 stories (or however many are necessary for parking).

I think this would look great in downtown Raleigh. I wish I could photoshop it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Downtown Raleigh appears to be overly conservative. It needs one or two signature buildings with crowns, or at least a tall mostly glass building to add a little variety from an otherwise "beige" downtown....

When I think of downtown Raleigh I think short and wide....the "building blocks" description seems very accurate aside from the two bookends....I just think downtown needs to get past the 20 story square buildings and on to something more 21st century (I know RBC will be taller then 20 stories but, alas it is still essentially a box with a smaller box on the top)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

With Raleigh's growth rate, I doubt these will be the only towers in your skyline for long. If one tower doesn't meet your standards don't get too bent out of shape. Raleigh will likely get the iconic tower you're all dreaming about sooner rather than later. I'm not saying you shouldn't fight for the best buildings possible but one day you may look at the skyline and realize that the 30 floor tower that used to stick out has simply become filler in a much larger skyline. Put a positive spin on it ;) .

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

With Raleigh's growth rate, I doubt these will be the only towers in your skyline for long. If one tower doesn't meet your standards don't get too bent out of shape. Raleigh will likely get the iconic tower you're all dreaming about sooner rather than later. I'm not saying you shouldn't fight for the best buildings possible but one day you may look at the skyline and realize that the 30 floor tower that used to stick out has simply become filler in a much larger skyline. Put a positive spin on it ;) .

I give it 5-10 years before the norm becomes 40-45 and the 30's are the fillers. And hopefully we will start seeing more glass and spires which usually comes with much larger buildings

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I know this is a skyscraper centric site, but most skyscrapers I find uninspriring in MOST cities. It's not just Raleigh... Even in the cities with the greatest amount of skyscrapers, there are usually just a handfull (if that) that stand out in the crowd of much blander buildings. I think Raleigh should learn from Charlotte's mistakes and try to preserve as much of your original downtown as possible. Keep the low rise streetscape for a pedestrian friendly atmosphere. Don't focus so much on "getting taller." You can still have skyscrapers, but don't destroy your city's health by wiping out all the human scale buildings. Raleigh is just now getting large enough to build large skyscrapers. It takes cities a while before significant architecture comes. At least, that's the way I see it. To me, what makes a GREAT urban landscape, is lot's of human scale buildings and street level life, and the big towers set in the midst of this.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I know this is a skyscraper centric site, but most skyscrapers I find uninspriring in MOST cities.

We are not a skyscraper centric site. We gave that up long ago because as you mention, that is uninspiring even when it comes to web forums.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.