That authorization marked an historic event for AIA North Carolina, and the culmination of over 2 years worth of work. The planning process for new AIA NC offices began with a broad look at the issue in the Chapter’s 5-year long-range plan. From there, the Facilities Task Force was created to analyze the current state of AIA North Carolina’s facilities and whether the current facilities met the Chapter’s present and long-term membership needs. The Executive Board concluded in October of 2005 that new facilities would be needed to take the Chapter into the future. Following the 2005 effort, a new task force was convened to study the options available for new office facilities.
AIA North Carolina’s Headquarters were previously located at 115 West Morgan Street, in the historic City of Raleigh Water Tower. The tower’s long history dates back to 1887 when the tower was built by the Raleigh Water Works, a private business with the franchise to supply Raleigh with its water. The two-story brick building to the rear of the Tower was the maintenance shop for the water works. By 1937, the water supply offered by the Tower was inadequate and the tank was removed. The tower was abandoned. The property was sold to a Raleigh architect, William Henly Deitrick, in May of 1938. Mr. Deitrick converted the space into his offices, and created the courtyard that now exists between the two buildings.
In 1963, Mr. Deitrick deeded the property to the North Carolina Chapter of the American Institute of Architects in perpetuity with restrictive covenants on the preservation of the exterior. In addition, he retained the right to maintain a personal office space in the tower until his death in 1974. The Tower required many improvements during the 1980s, such as weather proofing, roof repairs, window and door replacement, extensive interior refinishing, and repainting. The interior renovation began in 1992 and was completed in 1994. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and has been designated by the Raleigh Historic Sites Commission as a Raleigh Landmark. It is the intent of AIA North Carolina leadership to find a proper steward for the property – one who will honor and protect Mr. Deitrick’s gift – as they relocate offices to new space.
On January 23, 2008, more than 400 people, including AIA members, public visitors, invited guests, 3 AIA National Presidents and students gathered in the Fletcher Opera Theater in Raleigh to see the results of the unprecedented Design Competition for the New AIA North Carolina Headquarters.
This competition began in November, 2007, and came to a dramatic conclusion when those who were on hand watched the nationally-acclaimed panel of jurors as they announced the following winners for the design of a new landmark building to be constructed at the corner of Peace and Wilmington Streets in downtown Raleigh:
First Place: Frank Harmon Architect (Raleigh)
Second Place: Pearce, Brinkley, Cease + Lee, P.A. (Raleigh)
Third Place: Kenneth E. Hobgood, Architects (Raleigh)
Merit citations were also awarded to: LS3P (Wilmington); Mathews Architecture, P.A (Asheville), and Angerio Design, PLLC (Raleigh).
“The new building will be our testament to sustainable architecture, the built environment, and the role of architects in this endeavor,” says Walt Teague FAIA, from Greensboro and the new facilities project director. The building will be designed to meet both LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) standards as well as the AIA’s COTE (Committee on the Environment) goals, which include regional connectivity strategies, land use and site ecology, sustainable materials and methods of construction, reduced water usage, and increased energy efficiency.
In describing his design, Harmon explained that the building and landscape are designed as one interlocking, interdependent system, deferring to the natural topography and reusing every shovelful of earth. The innovative parking garden functions as open green space for Chapter and community events and eliminates storm water runoff. The design strategies employed in the new facility will hopefully represent a new model for development throughout the community.
“AIA North Carolina has just completed an historic event, which could not have been done without the tireless and countless hours of effort given graciously by dedicated members,” notes Wayne Camas, AIA. Crawford agrees, noting that Frank Harmon will be designing a building that symbolizes AIA NC’s $4.5M investment in North Carolina - and creating the new home that will represent all that architects contribute to their communities. “We have a lot of work to do…and a lot to be proud of! We want to congratulate all 48 firms that submitted entries and shared their vision for an important new development in the Capital City!”
The official groundbreaking ceremony took place on December 9, 2010. It took one year to complete the project, and the official grand opening took place on March 17, 2012.