December 8, 2010 (RALEIGH, NC) – After two years of planning and waiting for financing, the North Carolina chapter of the American Institute of Architects will finally hold its official, public groundbreaking ceremony for its new headquarters building and design center on Thursday, December 9, at 11:30 a.m. The building will be constructed on an oddly shaped, previously unused lot on Peace and Wilmington streets between Peace College and the NC Government Complex.
Designed by Frank Harmon Architect PA after the firm won a professional competition for the project in 2008, the AIA NC Center for Architecture & Design will be “a modern building with a green heart,” as Frank Harmon, FAIA, likes to call it.
The building has been designed to meet LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) standards at the highest Platinum level, and AIA Committee On The Environment (COTE) goals, which include regional appropriateness and the use of regionally available materials, land use and site ecology, sustainable materials and methods of construction, reduced water usage, and increased energy efficiency.
“As we come out of the recession, we won’t be building in the same wasteful ways,” Harmon said. “With new emphasis on alternative energy and sustainable design, the AIA NC Center will show us a new way to build.”
Harmon also believes the Center will be a compelling example for responsible revitalization of the cores of towns and cities across the state, including Raleigh.
“It will demonstrate sustainable urban development and put Raleigh ‘on the map’ as a leader in this endeavor,” he noted, “from re-using every shovel of earth removed for the footprint, to the porously paved parking garden and state-of-the-art ‘green’ technology.”
Deferring to the natural topography, the new building will be situated along the edge of the property and porously paved so that the majority of the site will be park-like – a public park in an area of the city that doesn’t have one. This will provide an outdoor gathering space for AIA NC and community events and effectively expand AIA NC’s outreach program.
“One of AIA NC’s goals is to contribute to the vitality of that section of downtown by transforming an awkward, unused piece of property into a ‘people center’ that will, in turn, impact the businesses around it,” Harmon said.
Architecturally, the overriding objective of the building’s concept is “to demonstrate and encourage aesthetic and ecological integrity – to create a flagship for green architecture in North Carolina that is architecturally, environmentally, socially, and aesthetically inspiring,” Harmon said.
Construction should be completed in 10-12 months.