City of Raleigh Municipal Campus


Well, boxy is sort of thing for buildings, especially taller ones.



Seriously, I’m not as concerned with the outside as I am with the inside. I want people to walk into city hall and say “damn, this place is prosperous, forward-thinking, and tech-savvy.”

But something more than just a basic glass structure WOULD be nice, and I think good exterior design would help send the right message.


Good question about the height - at 20 office stories, compared to the ~21 story FNB with about half (and shorter) residential levels… the Raleigh City Tower #1 could become the new 4th tallest in downtown. I think FNB takes 4th place later this year when it tops out (well, once the crown is installed).


If it’s purely commercial, it will undoubtedly take the 4th spot.


I wonder if the Milton Small fans will pop a blood vessel over this again…
He had some interesting designs but this wasn’t one of them. And before anyone reminds me of my own historic preservation tilt, I am decidedly less supportive of things that were built with modern building materials and techniques…this could be easily built today with the same materials for the same cost (inflated of course)


Eh, I value his work, and I think we’ve suffered some huge losses to our mid-century modern legacy in recent years. But I don’t think this will be one of them. This particular building is pretty generic international style, and there were much more sophisticated, elegant examples of it by Small and others around the Triangle. I think what adds insult to injury is when buildings that were architecturally noteworthy and groundbreaking when they were built are demolished for something that is bland and generic by today’s standards. Take, for example, 401 Oberlin or the Catalano House or 3515 Glenwood. In my view, we should always examine what we are losing in light of what we are gaining. In this case, I’m optimistic that what we are gaining at this site will be a huge benefit to our city and its architectural legacy.


Fair enough. 401 didn’t stand out in my eye, but I heard several people say it was good, and certainly the replacement is pretty generic although it does have residential over retail so the use is good. I had a bit of a beef with 401 though, because it was part of what ate into Oberlin village, itself displacing important history (at least 4 houses, one of which was an elegant 2 story). I imagine the City building ended up less awesome due to a tight municipal budget.


Modernism, to which I am personally actually architecturally aligned, follows the mantra that form follows function. Modern, with a capitalized M is different from modern with a lower case m. I’m talking about the capitalized “Modern” here. I just wanted to make that clear. Theoretically, a Modernist should not be offended if the function no longer served its purpose, and a new function shapes a future form. For example, 1950s Modern kitchens looked the way that they did because they utilized the latest technology (appliances) and non-ornamented cabinetry as their foundation. They were designed with the very best available to suit the activities associated with storing, preparing, serving & cleaning up food. Any ornamentation of that period was often related to other things that were deemed Modern, like the Space Age. Use of these objects today is fun and kitschy, but they are not necessarily what a Modernist would use today under today’s circumstances. They’d look to the very best of today’s technologies, systems, etc., while not veering for their design mantra.
In any case, if we were interested in honoring Milton Small with this new campus, we would do so by honoring the principles that guided his designs throughout his career. We would let form follow function, and we’d be cautious about the overuse of materials for their own sake, or to just “break up the facade”, or some other silly reason like that.


I might be in the minority here, but I really like 401 Oberlin (assuming this is the same building we’re discussing). It’s far more elegant than most apartment buildings recently built, and the architectural stylings are quite unique for the area. My only complaint is its bulk and sheer size.

I can’t say quite the same for the other new apartment buildings recently constructed in Cameron Village. This is a step above.


The facade work is different for sure and not all bad. My opinion is partly colored by watching it be built…the sheer volume of wood seemed like the most of any of the apartment buildings downtown and it seems super tall due to the declining grade. It feels like the building will torque right off the pedestal as there is no concrete core to attach the wood to or horizontal bracing…just lag bolted to the concrete floor.


If it’s engineered and built to withstand sheering and act as a unit, fixing it down to the earth is all it needs.


Indeed. I never took anything past statics, dynamics and materials. It also bothers me that the king studs on the lowest wooden floor are the same width as those on the top floor. They certainly aren’t carrying the same load…
I’ve broken yellow pine ( I think thats what a standard stud is…?) in a testing environment before and it didn’t handle torque or compression well (did fine under tensile stress).


I went to the session today over at the convention center and there really wasn’t anything new that we’ve discussed or looked in to here on the community. They had posters up taken straight out of the most recent report.

From my conversation with someone there, the focus here is phase 1 which includes the old police HQ corner. (southeast portion of the block)

The southwest portion will be phase 2 and still has a lot of open questions. As phase 1 gives us 5-10 years worth of growth capacity, how much more should be built on phase 2? This piece is still in the future.

Now phase 3, the northern half of the block is wide open and while not in scope right now could become something sooner if there’s the direction from council to do so. This is supposed to be the mixed-use portion and if the current parking deck comes down, a public-private kind of thing could done to benefit private development here (city still owns the land) so that the southern buildings benefit as well. (like parking)

Next step is to pick the design firm to work on the details of the first tower.


While I understand the process and hope they submit, I’m kinda bummed that SOM isn’t seeing this whole thing through. Would have been really impressive for our city to act so boldly.


Any more news on city hall?

I just notice that Richmond has a square box 19-story city hall. Though it makes sense given how similar these cities are. You know we have a Cary, they have a Carytown. They have BRT, we will have BRT. lol


Ever since the original massings came out, I figured we’d end up with something like Richmond. I wouldn’t hate it if all our government offices looked a bit like this.


Yeah but you can say Raleigh is afraid to think outside the box.


Richmond’s isn’t unattractive. At least it’s not sitting on a parking pedestal.


I’m optimistic we’ll end up with something far more progressive than this, if the masterplan is anything to go off of. Although the form of the tower is a box, the urban condition and the spatial complexity of the proposal is really quite forward-thinking and will be a game-changer for Raleigh’s public buildings.

It all really hinges on which architect is chosen for the job. The RFQ deadline for the design team was January 14; not sure when they announce the shortlist.


The is the rendering of what was proposed about a decade ago when the city council voted it down in the late stages. Would we be happy with this today?