City of Raleigh Municipal Campus


I was so glad to read that you think that the NC Bar building looks fake. I can’t agree more. I really can’t stand that building for the same reason.
Modern building techniques and tight public budgets would assure us that we’d never get a majestic tower that looks anything like the historical buildings in other cities. For my money, I want to see a building of similar quality and design to the Nature Research Center. That building is modern but not bland. Its thoughtfully detailed fenestrations break up the large massing and prevents it from being perceived as a large glass box. I’d love to see a tower in that same architectural language, sort of a homage to International Style buildings of the mid-Century like 1Bush Plaza in San Francisco. That sort of building is totally doable on that site and its plaza and grounds even speak to the intent of extending Nash Square into the design of the plaza.


I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. That building would look way better if it was actually surrounded by a city block of buildings, not just parking lots. It looks like a modular Lego set that is supposed to have the other sets attached to it but no one bought them.


Business up top, party below.

You can even design brand new buildings so they have the first few floors with beautiful brick facades. In fact, several of them so that you can divided the street level floors into multiple unique sections. The smaller sections can be rented out at higher price per square foot but they’re smaller size to be affordable to more businesses.


Sorry, but that building is fugly. I would not want to see anything like that in our downtown. Raleigh is trying to project an image of a tech savy city. Having a City Hall designed like it was made in the 19th century would be a serious step backwards.


Looking at those cool old city halls I can’t help thinking about Parks and Rec and the creepy fourth floor.


The point of that pictures wasn’t whether or not you thought that building was ugly but that you can incorporate a more people-oriented lower facade and still build an fugly, lifeless modern glass tower for the top portion (with a setback).

Like the new Hargett 107 building that will be built soon.


To be clear, that is an addition/extension, not a new building. The brick base is an existing structure. That was most likely the case for the other image you posted as well.

Your point that it’s possible to design a building with a base that is more contextual, perhaps through the use of materials, is a good one. Architects do this all the time, even through modern articulation that is still sensitive to its surroundings. See these examples of contemporary applications of brick that don’t look forced or resort to a simplistic traditional base.

(The last one is a courthouse in Frederiksberg and, in my view, a great example of achieving a more weighty/permanent presence that people look for in municipal buildings through contemporary architecture).

By the way, all of this is a worthwhile discussion, but it also likely runs counter to SOM’s design concept, which is for the building to act as an extension of Nash square and to create a feeling of openness, transparency, and civic engagement at the pedestrian scale.


This is Raleigh after all, option 3 will somehow make the grade just so they have an out of the box excuse to raise taxes and utility bills for a “city service center”.

Sell the real estate to Kane, then move the city hall to Westinghouse, dirt cheap compared to downtown. Free parking, and plenty of room for picnic tables so they can eat the home packed lunch.

Then lower my water bill lol


Vis-a-vis SOM’s concept is why I thought about 1Bush in San Francisco. It’s a 20 story building by, coincidentally, SOM in a park-like setting that reflects the civic architecture style that’s already established in Raleigh by the Nature Research Center. Although it’s 60 years old, it remains one of the most sought after addresses in the city and is a magnificent model for Raleigh to follow. The building “floats” above its site on piers that extend the surrounding grounds and plaza below the structure itself. Elegantly, the building is accessed through a “glass box” vestibule that leads to the elevator lobby.


is your water bill holding you back from living the life you want? Our taxes are low, and having a good looking building downtown is worth a couple dollars a year.


I used to live in Connecticut, and the Taxes there are Stupid High, so compare to here in Raleigh, Be grateful…be very grateful. The reason why I moved here in the first place. Even if Taxes In Wake Co./Raleigh go up…again…You are so Better off than in NYC/CT or in other Cities.


Little Pig, it’s only the start of things to come, talk to me in 5-7 years. If you have lived here long enough you would know how fast the cost of living is going up. Just look at housing costs ITB and how many times our taxes have been raised. We know it costs a lot more in other areas of the country, why do you think they are flocking here. Just a matter of time before it’s too expensive to live here. The water bill is just a symptom of the cancer. But hey, I’ll just have to head to Dunn or somewhere more reasonable, can’t compete with the Elites.


This place isn’t expensive. I guess I’m the elite because my family makes six figures, but it’s not like we’re living large. I don’t want to live downtown for 2k/mo in a 1 BR apartment when I could live 5 miles away in a new house. I just don’t think water bills and $200 annual tax increases are a big deal. You get what you pay for, and a vibrant, successful city is worth the investment in my mind.


It’s all relative. A tax increase for you may not have the same impact for others.

Getting back to the topic, the new tower is actually a money saving effort from what I see. On our current path, we’re set to pay more if we continue to lease space to hold the growing city workforce


You do realize Estey Hall and the vast majority of brownstones were built in the same era and style (post was Italianate)…? Raleigh would be a superior city if it’s downtown had a few hundred historical brownstone row houses. It’s odd that we don’t considering there was a good size chunk of brownstone down in Moore County area.


Water and Sewer bills operate from something called an enterprise fund. They are 100% separate from the rest of the City budget. Their revenues and expenditures account for themselves. Municipalities that cannot accomplish this draw additional scrutiny from the State’s Local Government Commission and may not be allowed to take on debt for other projects.


Just wondering, who gets to decide what the “architecture of our era” is exactly? Revival architecture comes and goes all the time and I don’t think there is any problem at all reviving a previously used style. The new Wake County detention center has some nice gothic and art deco touches to it, mixed onto a restrained, modern structure. Not bad if you ask me. I was just in Blacksburg VA this weekend. Their Municipal building is an example of its times. An absolutely awful windowless, mostly brutalist one, perhaps with a shake of modernism on top. You better be sure “this era” is something worth sticking to before advocating for it. I think J Davis and Hobgood might have very different ideas of what this era entails.


Just wondering, who gets to decide what the “architecture of our era” is exactly?

Well, all I can do is give my own opinion, just as anyone else can!

Personally though, I would never consider a building that uses fake/antiquated methods of construction to be representative of our time. Nor would I feel good about a government building essentially reducing architecture to wallpaper without any regard for the historical significance of an architectural language. As someone who’s detailed a neo-classical building, I can attest to how value engineering so often reduces them to inauthentic caricatures from bottom to top – everything from the painted-on EIFS coping to the veneers of ornamentation that are crudely wrapped onto columns to ludicrously inefficient roofing details. We don’t construct buildings like we used to, so I don’t understand the point of pretending that we do.

By the way, in your response to the Blacksburg building anecdote: suggesting that any and every modern building is an example of its time is like considering d-list musicians to be equally representative of modern music as those at the grammys, or comparing a coffee shop artist to one in the MOMA. If you look at architectural publications, academia, and national awards, it’s pretty clear what the profession thinks is representative of our time. Hint: it’s not J Davis.


Exactly! Keep preaching! Fake historically referenced architecture is the absolute worst. Your example of the “detailing” that’s actually done to make buildings look old is both hysterical and frightening.
“Reducing architecture to wallpaper” is my new favorite saying.


I definitely agree that LA, Buffalo and Philly all have great city halls, but also that we’re not going to get anything like that. City Hall should be something that screams modern, educated, technological, with an eye towards the future, not the past. Raleigh wasn’t a major city in the 20th century, but we could be one for most of the 21st and beyond.