On Tour: Durham / by Modern Richmond

We ventured south to Durham, North Carolina last weekend.  The city is one of the vertices of the Research Triangle and is home to Duke University and its fine collection of collegiate gothic architecture.  The area also boasts a large contingent of modernist homes and several exciting recent urban projects, including a thoroughly modern transportation center designed by Durham’s own Philip Freelon. The Freelon Group are also the architects of record for the new Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., which officially broke ground last week.  With all this in mind, MRT takes a closer look at this kindred former tobacco town to our south. 


Triangle Modernist Homes

Triangle Modernist Archive, Inc. is a nonprofit organization that is committed to documenting, preserving, and promoting modernist architecture in North Carolina, with a special focus on the area in and around Durham, Raleigh and Chapel Hill.  Their website is a wealth of information on more than 3800 homes, including at least 700 in the Triangle area.  You can find maps, archival photos, plans, architect profiles and more spanning decades of modern design.  Included are contemporary architects as well as classic masters.  You can even shop for your next home.

© James West

The Freelon Group

For more than 20 years, The Freelon Group has built a strong reputation for quality design work across the United States.  They have also designed a number of excellent buildings for their home community of Durham, including libraries, municipal buildings, higher education and a new downtown transporation hub.  They are also a part of the Freelon Adjaye Bond/SmithGroup team working to realize the Smithsonian's latest museum on The Mall in Washington, D.C..

© James West

The American Tobacco Historic District

Located in the heart of Durham is a large mixed use, adaptive reuse project totalling some 1,000,000 SF. The site includes the Durham Bulls Stadium, a performing arts center (see below), commercial space, residential units, restaurants and a well-executed urban promenade.  The site is a former campus of tobacco buildings (think Lucky Strike) with a history that traces back more than 100 years.

© Derek Anderson, Neil Boyd

Durham Performing Arts Center

DPAC is a new performing arts center that features prominently in downtown Durham.  Designed by Szostak Design, Inc., the center features a striking multi-story public lobby set behind a tasteful glass facade.

© Tom Arban


Other Bits

Art: Don't miss The Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University and the Ackland Art Museum at UNC-Chapel Hill

Eat and Drink: Delicious food can be had at Dos Perros and Rue Cler.  Wash it down with a local beer from Fullsteam Brewery.