Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Building North Carolina awards recognize state’s best new structures

A serene corporate retreat perched among the trees. A pair of projects spurring growth in a once-neglected industrial district. And a renovation generating new energy at an idle power plant. Our fifth annual Building North Carolina awards recognize commercial real-estate projects completed between July 1, 2017, and June 30, 2018, based on design, innovation and impact on their communities.


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BB&T Leadership Institute

General contractor: Frank L. Blum Construction, Winston-Salem
Architects: CJMW Architecture, Winston-Salem
Cost: $35 million
Size: 60,000 square feet

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A review by Travis Hicks, director of Center for Community-Engaged Design, UNC Greensboro

Ever attended a training session or a workshop in a drab, outdated, windowless hotel meeting room? If you’ve dreamed of escaping that space to an inspiring, sunlit alternative, look no further than the BB&T Leadership Institute, a stone’s throw from Piedmont Triad International Airport.

On a narrow, sloping wooded site, the design team at CJMW Architecture conjured a three-story campus of steel, wood and glass buildings that float like treehouses, stitched together by delicate bridges and walkways hovering above the forest floor sloping 30 feet down to Brush Creek Pond. Floor-to-ceiling glass, extensive porches and balconies, and open-air stairs blur the boundaries between inside and out, drawing staff and visitors into the natural landscape visually and physically. The campus’ connection to its wooded site is further emphasized through materials such as exposed wooden beams and trusses, barn doors made from lumber salvaged from hardwoods on-site and textured wall panels fashioned from salvaged end-grain logs.

Providing leadership training for BB&T clients and staff and K-12 educators, the campus includes eight classrooms, various meeting and special-event rooms, and 48 overnight guest rooms that prioritize natural light and views of the treeline and pond. Curved-wall meditation rooms with plush carpets for bare feet and visual and acoustical isolation enhance introspective guest activities, while conference and training rooms connect guests through integrated technology.

Despite its isolated wooded setting, the campus provides a number of amenities, including a fitness center, bistro and dining area, snack bars and an outdoor fire pit complete with s’mores kits. The gem of this project is the “Treehouse,” a stand-alone meeting space with a wraparound porch, glass walls providing 360-degree views and exposed wood timber trusses, tethered to the rest of the campus via an elevated walkway. Hovering among the trees, the Treehouse blurs the boundaries between natural and man-made, providing space for both introspection and collaboration, and inspiring guests to curl up on the porch with a book, hot drink and a fresh s’more.


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Vidant Cancer Care at the Eddie and Jo Allison Smith Tower

General contractor: Joint venture of T.A. Loving, Goldsboro, and Rodgers Builders, Charlotte
Architects: The East Group, Greenville, and HDR Architecture, Omaha, Neb.
Cost: $174 million
Size: 425,000 square feet

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The six-story tower adjacent to Vidant Medical Center consolidates services previously performed at the hospital and nearby Leo W. Jenkins Cancer Center. The tower opened to patients in March and includes an outpatient clinic, imaging center and 96 inpatient rooms. The center’s 60 infusion areas overlook outdoor healing gardens with a labyrinth, rock fountains, pergola and other calming features. Technology is part of the design: Connected conference rooms link caregivers with Vidant Health employees across the system, which covers 29 eastern N.C. counties, and a real-time locating system uses technology similar to GPS to track people and equipment within the center. As of mid-October, Vidant’s foundation had raised $43 million toward a goal of $50 million to help fund the center, including $10 million from Eddie Smith, owner and CEO of Grady-White Boats, and his wife, Jo Allison.


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The Rubenstein Arts Center, Duke University

General contractor: Skanska USA Building, New York, N.Y.
Architect: William Rawn Associates, Architects, Boston
Cost: $50 million
Size: 71,000 square feet

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Aided by a $25 million gift from billionaire David Rubenstein, co-founder of Washington, D.C.-based private-equity firm The Carlyle Group and a 1970 Duke graduate, the building nicknamed “The Ruby” received the Chicago Athenaeum Museum of Architecture and Design’s American Architecture Award for 2018. The center, which opened to students in January, houses the school’s dance program, WXDU student-run radio station and Arts of the Moving Image certificate program, which emphasizes motion-picture and digital-media arts. Inspired by industrial spaces and the work of American minimalist painter Robert Mangold, the steel and glass structure features polished concrete floors, exposed mechanical systems and subdued primary colors. The center includes a 200-seat theater, a 100-seat film-screening room, 10 multipurpose studios, three seminar classrooms and a makerspace. The Ruby is located across from the Nasher Museum of Art, which opened in 2005, on a stretch of campus recently dubbed the Duke Arts District.


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Union Station

General contractors: joint venture of Skanska USA Building, New York, N.Y., and Clancy & Theys Construction, Raleigh; Holt Brothers, Raleigh
Architect: Clearscapes, Raleigh
Cost: $110 million
Size: 26,000 square feet

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Across from The Dillon mixed-use project, Raleigh’s new downtown train depot was two decades in the making: City leaders began discussions in the 1990s about replacing an aging Amtrak station nearby. With more than 14,000 square feet of space for offices, shops and restaurants, Union Station aims to attract more than just commuters. Though no tenants had been signed as of early October, negotiations were continuing for much of the station’s leasable space. An 1,800-square-foot rooftop patio provides a skyline view of downtown Raleigh. Spurred by more than $70 million in federal funding, Union Station was designed with expansion in mind: A second phase could add more bus bays, mixed-use space and commuter rail.


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The Dillon

General Contractors: Barnhill Contracting, Rocky Mount (retail and commercial); Clancy & Theys Construction, Raleigh (residential)
Architect: Duda Paine Architects, Durham
Cost: $150 million
Size: 271,000 square feet (retail and commercial)

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The 2011 opening of the CAM Raleigh modern-art museum followed by Citrix Systems’ trendy office in 2014 signaled that change was underway at the downtown Warehouse District. The Dillon, developed by Kane Realty, has accelerated that momentum, and tenants are lining up to be a part of it. Arch Capital will lease four of the office tower’s 18 floors, bringing 365 jobs, while Spaces coworking will take up two floors. Retail tenants include clothing store Urban Outfitters, grocer Weaver Street Market and restaurants O-Ku, Barcelona and Oak Steakhouse. Raleigh-based Stewart moved its headquarters to the Dillon after providing structural and civil engineering and landscape architecture for the project. In all, the complex includes 221,000 square feet of office space, 50,000 square feet of retail and 271 apartments. Parts of the Dillon Supply Warehouse were preserved and incorporated in the structure. The “sky window” on the building’s sloped facade is a distinctive feature.


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Bailey Power Plant
Winston-Salem (first phase)

General contractor: Whiting-Turner Contracting, Baltimore
Architect: Walter Robbs Callahan & Pierce, Winston-Salem
Cost: $40 million
Size: 111,479 square feet

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The latest development at Wake Forest Innovation Quarter involved the renovation of a coal-fired plant that once powered R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. Developed by Baltimore-based Wexford Science & Technology LLC, the project includes about 87,000 square feet of office space and 24,000 square feet for retail. The renovation added four floors and more than tripled the square footage. While The exposed-brick interior and steel bracing beams provide a backdrop for Wake Forest School of Medicine, which occupies the top two floors. Other tenants include CML Microsystems, Incendiary Brewing Co. and Alma Mexicana, a locally owned eatery. While Walter Robbs Callahan & Pierce designed the building’s shell, CJMW Architecture provided interior design service. Work is slated to begin this winter on a second phase that will add roughly 100,000 square feet of office and retail space.




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