Raleigh, North Carolina

After many years of false starts and postponements, the Contemporary Art Museum (CAM) opened with a significant public celebration in April 2011. As a unique public/private partnership between the College of Design at N.C. State University and a private foundation, CAM-Raleigh has created a museum and educational facility in the Warehouse District that will benefit the entire community. Choosing to recycle a contributing structure to a National Register Historic District and, thereby leveraging the Historic Tax Credits available for projects like this, CAM has demonstrated their commitment to preservation and sustainable building practices. Remaining consistent with the National Park Service’s Rehabilitation Guidelines, they were able to introduce a bold, contemporary addition which allows this quiet warehouse to announce itself publicly as an important cultural facility.

The existing land and building, as a designated NCDENR Brownfield’s site, was remediated to overcome its environmental challenges. By maintaining a significant public open space that will be used for community events, art displays, and public gatherings, they offered back to the City an amenity far in excess of code requirements. Adopting sustainable building practices throughout its redesign, the structure demonstrates creative use of the embodied energy which exists in the historic structure, maximizes daylighting principles, and reduced the impervious surfaces on this urban site.

The completed museum demonstrates how the persistence of a small group of Raleigh citizens, over an extended timeframe, can result in an extraordinary facility that benefits the entire community.