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City by Design an architectural perspective of charlotte

Foreword by Hugh L. McColl Jr. Entertainer Eddie Cantor once said, “It takes 20 years to make an overnight success.” When I survey the evolution of Charlotte’s Center City and the surrounding area, Cantor’s comment frequently comes to mind.

Fifty years ago I moved to this city to begin my banking career. The Liberty Life building—now the home of SunTrust—on South Tryon Street was the tallest building in North and South Carolina. Completed in 1927, the building still stands at 20 stories. At that time, most of the other banks in town were housed in low-rise buildings.

Today, Bank of America Corporate Center crowns the city’s skyline as it stands 60 stories high, making it the tallest building between Atlanta and Philadelphia. Filled with dozens of tall buildings that easily surpass Liberty Life’s 20 floors, Charlotte’s skyline is indicative of the region’s progress.

As cranes pepper Center City, bringing the visions of architects and developers as well as community and corporate leaders to life, a newcomer could be fooled into thinking the city’s growth is a recent phenomenon. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Charlotte has been fortunate to have visionary leaders who believed in the city’s future and were smart enough to figure out a way to get there. A.G. Odell Jr., a prized architect who founded Odell Associates and was a champion of urban planning, was one such visionary.

Time Warner Cable Arena, Ellerbe Becket, page 32

Alpha Mill, Crosland, page 86

In the mid-1960s Odell developed a comprehensive plan to remake Center City. In it he advocated the creation of a square at the intersection of Trade and Tryon streets in addition to a business district, an arts district, a governmental district, residential housing and the construction of a convention/civic center.

When John Belk was mayor in the early 1970s, he pushed for the development of the square in Center City. That push inspired NCNB—now Bank of America—to build a 40-story glass tower and the city to build the Charlotte Civic Center that Odell envisioned and also designed. Later on, First Union—now Wells Fargo—followed suit with a 32-story skyscraper.

Prior to becoming president of NCNB in 1974, I traveled the globe running the bank’s international and national divisions. During my travels, I became enamored with the cities of the world and made mental notes of what captivated me about those cities. When my focus shifted to Charlotte in the mid-1970s, I used that knowledge while working with Harvey Gantt on a committee dedicated to updating Odell’s plan. Gantt, a prominent Charlotte architect who would serve as the city’s mayor in the 1980s, had a master’s in city planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and later designed the city’s controversial transportation center.

Gateway Lofts, David Furman Architecture, page 60

Through our work I realized quickly that Charlotte was fortunate because it had an inner belt loop that clearly defined Center City. It is approximately one mile in each direction from the square to the belt loop, which lent itself to good planning, as it allowed the city a four-square-mile central business district.

I was interested in all of this because being in a leadership position at the bank, I was convinced that if you wanted to attract good people, you had to have a city that was fun to live in. I spent the next 30 to 40 years trying to make that happen.

Today as I look at Charlotte, I’m proud of the city we’ve become. A healthy economy has allowed architects and developers to express themselves along our skyline in a meaningful way. The pages in City by Design Charlotte are a testament to that. With the implementation of rapid transit throughout our city and the region, the continuation of remarkable development is a given.

For years, leaders in our community have visited other cities to see what they did right and, more importantly, what they did wrong. Perhaps the biggest compliment of our progress is the fact that other cities are now visiting us to see how good planning can indeed render overnight success.

Courtside and TradeMark, David Furman Architecture, page 42

Metropolitan, Colonial Properties Trust, Pappas Properties, Collett & Associates, page 64

Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture, Wells Fargo & Company, page 172

Introduction Each day we pass by hundreds of buildings—a mélange of old and new works of architecture—that we likely take for granted, not for lack of interest but because life’s frenetic pace often prohibits asking why, how, when and through whose creativity did the built environment around us come to fruition. Yet it is these very structures, unassuming or prominently placed, that create the brilliantly complex urban and suburban landscapes where our lives unfold.

Imagine being afforded the rare opportunity to gaze inside the walls and around the perimeter of these buildings that are equal parts mysterious, familiar and alluring. Imagine meeting their creators and discovering the forward-thinking design savvy behind the selection of each material, the placement of each door and window, the sculptural use of both classical and contemporary architectural forms. Now turn the page—commence an invigorating journey that is sure to ignite your appreciation or renew your passion for Charlotte’s architectural fabric.

You will immediately discern City by Design Charlotte as unique among architectural collections. Indeed, it boasts vibrant photographs of stimulating designs, melded with insightful editorial, yet it does not endeavor to present merely the tallest, widest, newest, oldest or greenest buildings. More precisely, it is a rich, diverse collection of the city’s best—from landmark skyscrapers that define Charlotte’s majestic skyline to smaller, thoughtfully designed edifices of some of the suburbs’ best-kept secrets. It is a regional compilation of masterfully conceived structures considered preeminent by the locally based architects and developers who have turned intangible ideas into built realities that will be enjoyed for generations to come.

Mercedes-Benz of South Charlotte, Fryday & Doyne, page 122

Chapter One - Built to Play and Stay

Chapter Two - Urban Living

Chapter Three - City Projects

Chapter Four - Industry Leaders

Chapter Five - Sustaining Growth

Chapter Six - City Futures

Piedmont Town Center Ls3p Associates Ltd.

Conveniently located near Interstate 77, the SouthPark area of Charlotte has long been known for offering some of the best office space and shopping in the region. Because of its convenience and proximity to the area’s most affluent neighborhoods, it comes as no surprise that Neiman Marcus selected SouthPark mall for its first and only location in the Carolinas.

LS3P ASSOCIATES LTD has designed much of the SouthPark area’s growth, as the architectural firm redesigned and expanded SouthPark mall as well as master planned and designed Phillips Place and Morrocroft, two venerable mixed-use developments that continue to thrive. As the firm has pioneered mixed-use models throughout the area, it altered these principles to create Piedmont Town Center, a higher density mixed-use project that is more of an urban hub.

FACING PAGE: In the evenings, street life at Piedmont Town Center focuses on the central piazza with its concentration of restaurants at the main roundabout and signature fountain. Photograph by Gerin Choiniere

Developed by Crescent Resources LLC and Lincoln Harris, Piedmont Town Center is a masterplanned,

as a central roundabout of the project. Accented with intricate, multicolored brickwork, the piazza is

mixed-use urban development located on 12 acres of prime SouthPark real estate. It features 415,000

reminiscent of a sunburst and serves as the perfect centering point.

square feet of office space, 90,000 square feet of street-level retail and restaurants, 179 luxurious condominium units, a YMCA and two 1,000-car parking structures.

Brio Tuscan Grille, Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse, The Oceanaire Seafood Room and Dolcetto Wine Bar all offer outdoor seating on the piazza, making it a wonderful place to socialize and people

Led by architect Jim Williams, the design team at LS3P wanted Piedmont Town Center to be more than

watch. In addition, Brio features a lovely dining terrace, while the 15,000-square-foot Del Frisco’s space

just another mixed-use development; they wanted it to be a gathering place similar to an urban square

features a 5,000-square-foot subterranean wine cellar that can be reached by an escalator.

in Europe. One of the ways they accomplished this was by designing a piazza crowned with a fountain

While the buildings are traditional in nature, they feature large expanses of glass and several different finishes of a high-grade architectural precast. The residential buildings are designed to recall individual buildings on a streetscape. Despite the variety of materials used throughout the project, there is a consistent cast-stone base on all the buildings that unifies the project.

As SouthPark continues to evolve into even more of an urban hub, Piedmont Town Center’s integrated design offers the perfect live, work and play atmosphere that so many people desire in today’s hectic world.

ABOVE LEFT: Large terraces provide ample space for gathering and outdoor dining in front of the buildings on the central piazza. Photograph by Stanley Capps ABOVE RIGHT: The façades of residential and retail buildings along Piedmont Row are articulated to read as a series of individual buildings, concealing the project’s large parking structure. Photograph by Gerin Choiniere FACING PAGE: Gas lanterns adorn the retail façades along Piedmont Row, in homage to Piedmont Natural Gas, whose corporate headquarters was the project’s first tenant. Photograph by Gerin Choiniere

Charlotte Convention Center The FWA Group, Architects

In the early 1990s downtown Charlotte was on the brink of a boom as the business leaders of the city worked together to create a renaissance in the area. One of the key buildings involved in the evolution of the Queen City’s downtown was the Charlotte Convention Center, which opened in 1995. Designed by The FWA Group in conjunction with its associate architect, Thompson, Ventulett & Stainback of Atlanta, the Charlotte Convention Center delivered the city into a new era with its state-of-the-art amenities and timeless design.

During the design process, architect Scott Ferebee, along with members of the local building committee, visited eight new facilities of similar size across the United States. The architectural team also held two meetings in Charlotte where they invited association executives, delivery companies and show managers in an effort to learn what they wanted in a convention center. After taking all of this data into account, the team designed a contemporary facility featuring bold structural elements as well as an abundance of natural light. FACING PAGE: The main public entrance of the Charlotte Convention Center faces College Street. Photograph by Rick Alexander and Associates, Inc.

ABOVE left: The main concourse reveals an interesting contrast between floor and ceiling. Photograph by Rick Alexander and Associates, Inc. ABOVE right: Large glass panels offer views to the outdoor function area off the main ballroom. Photograph by Rick Alexander and Associates, Inc. FACING PAGE: Tranquility is the theme of the landscaped courtyard off the main concourse. Photograph by Rick Alexander and Associates, Inc.

The site of the convention center was challenging from the beginning because of an existing building on the property that could not be obtained. Therefore, the site dictated that the facility be built in an L shape, with the main public entrance and concourse at mid level between the two primary levels—exhibit hall and meeting spaces. An arched canopy serves as the signature piece of the building as it highlights the main public entrance, which leads into a lightinfused atrium that exudes an airy and open feel. Currently, the facility offers the largest ballroom in town, as it provides seats for 4,900 in a theater arrangement, 3,000 banquet style and 2,500 in a classroom setting. A portion of the 277,000-square-foot exhibit space was designed with an even larger free-span area to serve gatherings requiring up to 8,500 seats.

One of the most ingenious aspects of the facility is its back-of-house system, which allows for services to be brought to the ballroom, meeting rooms and exhibit hall out of sight of the public. In addition, the loading docks of the facility are concealed directly underneath the main entry level, allowing direct gradelevel access to the main exhibit hall.

The convention center is also designed to accommodate light rail as Charlotte is in the process of adding that mode of transportation to its offerings. By punching a glass-lined tube through the facility, architect Steve McCall and The FWA Group were able to design a system that would safely and efficiently transport people to and from the facility.

As a world-class financial center, the city needed the new Charlotte Convention Center to encourage downtown growth. By having this caliber of facility, Charlotte will continue to attract high-profile conventions and events, as well as national shows and exhibits.

Charlotte•Douglas International Airport Parking Deck The Wilson Group LS3P ASSOCIATES LTD.

It has been more than 70 years since Charlotte opened a municipal airport. In that time, the hub has undergone numerous expansions to facilitate the volume of travelers that fly through the Queen City everyday. Located five miles from downtown, Charlotte•Douglas International Airport now provides more than 500 daily departures to 120 non-stop destinations. With that in mind, it is no surprise that the airport opted to increase its parking offerings to better serve its clients.

In 2003 construction began on the first half of what would ultimately be a 6,000-car parking facility, increasing the airport’s customer parking capacity by 13 percent. Charlotte’s The Wilson Group/LS3P ASSOCIATES LTD. team designed the parking deck with an understanding that the city of Charlotte wanted to make a progressive statement about its airport. As this daily parking facility is the first thing that travelers see when they drive to the airport, it was important that the structure resist convention. FACING PAGE: The central plaza looks toward the FAA tower and main terminal from an elevated vehicular bridge. Photograph by Stanley Capps

To accomplish a modern yet refreshing look, the architectural team incorporated non-conventional

of walls and hiding places, while the elevators and stairwells are encased in glass. A simple circulation

materials into the two-million-square-foot parking facility. Consisting of two five-story halves, the parking

system allows drivers to transfer floors via a helical ramp system, making navigation of the facility much

deck utilizes perforated stainless steel for its skin. Aesthetically pleasing and relatively inexpensive, the

less difficult.

steel is supported off the concrete structure with hot-dipped galvanized bowstring trusses, which create a curved outer face. The exterior’s design exudes the idea of lightness as it subtly recalls the image of an airplane wing.

Positively received by travelers, the parking facility has been successful in giving the airport a forwardlooking, technological appearance. The structure won the 2006 North Carolina AIA Honor Award in addition to a national lighting Award of Merit from International Association of Lighting Designers. Most

During the day the stainless steel reflects the sun and is semi-transparent as vehicles can be seen through

importantly, the facility has made a statement at Charlotte•Douglas International Airport that reflects the

its perforations. At night, blue theatrical lighting illuminates from the interior resulting in a glowing effect.

forward-thinking attitude of Charlotte.

Another important aspect of the parking facility’s design is safety. By providing extra height to each floor, drivers don’t feel the seclusion of a traditional parking deck. In addition, the ceilings are painted white to reflect the light and provide a brighter atmosphere. The open structural system has a minimum amount

ABOVE LEFT: The main entry approach reveals the curved outer face. Photograph by Stanley Capps ABOVE RIGHT: At the pedestrian level, the central plaza exposes its structure. Photograph by Stanley Capps FACING PAGE: From the north, the bus canopy brushes against the stair and elevator towers. Photograph by Stanley Capps

EpiCentre The Ghazi Company

For 15 years The Ghazi Company has strived to be on the cutting edge of real-estate development. No project illustrates this more than EpiCentre, a state-of-the-art mixed-use development led by Afshin Ghazi, George Cornelson, Shawn Wilfong and Seth Wilfong that will alter the face of uptown Charlotte and further invigorate an already rapidly growing market.

Located on the site of Charlotte’s former convention center, EpiCentre makes its home on one of the largest city blocks in America’s second-largest banking city. As the first component was completed in December 2007 and the final phase, residential, is scheduled to be completed in 2010, EpiCentre will be the second-tallest building in uptown Charlotte, behind only the Bank of America Corporate Center. With more than 50 stories, it will also be one of the East Coast’s tallest residential towers, complete with more than 400 luxurious residential units and 60,000 square feet of office space.

FACING PAGE: The Central Plaza will be not only a contrast in venues but a contrast in colors. Rendering by Risden McElroy

The idea behind EpiCentre was to create a full 24/7 mixed-use development in an urban setting, as the development will include everything from a CVS, dry cleaner, newsstand and a Bank of America branch to high-end steak houses and lounges. In addition, EpiCentre will fill one of uptown’s most-talked-about voids—lack of movie theaters—as a megaplex motion picture theater is part of the plan.

Sitting diagonally opposite from both Bank of America’s and Wachovia’s headquarters, EpiCentre is located on a site where people are constantly circulating. In addition to residents and guests from the development’s hotel component, a new W Aloft brand concept with 175 rooms, the complex will attract guests from the nearby Ritz-Carlton, which was announced shortly after The Ghazi Company announced EpiCentre.

By creating a central entertainment hub, EpiCentre will help smooth out uptown’s fragmented entertainment district. Visitors can choose their own adventure, whether enjoying a meal at Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar or having a romantic conversation at PJ’s Coffee and Wine Bar. Feeling a little more active? Strike City Lanes, a high-end lounge/bowling alley, will also be a tenant.

Other restaurants slated to join EpiCentre are Belle Vita Italian, Flying Biscuit, The Fudgery, Cold Stone Creamery, Jason’s Deli and Shane’s Rib Shack.

Another fresh component of the development is retail, as the city has long wanted a resurgence in uptown shopping. With retailers such as CVS, Revolution, an AT&T concept store and a handful of small retailers, EpiCentre is sure to prove to Charlotte that uptown is a viable shopping district.

With every project The Ghazi Company undertakes, it likes to base the development’s architecture on its surroundings and also on what the market demands. While modern in nature, EpiCentre exudes a noticeably contemporary appearance yet also looks as if it has been sitting on its three-acre site for years. The first, second and third floors in all five of the buildings are interconnected and vertically connected so that people can easily navigate the complex through a series of escalators, elevators, stairs and bridges.

Top RIGHT: At the corner of Trade Street and College Street, EpiCentre will function well for heavy walking traffic. Rendering by Risden McElroy Bottom RIGHT: EpiCentre is set conveniently at College Street and Trade Street. Photograph courtesy of The Ghazi Company Facing Page: At bird’s-eye, the Central Plaza lies in the valley of downtown. Rendering by Risden McElroy

European-scaled streets featuring various façades invite people to stay and play, while a Megatron Screen with a Times Square quality hangs in the center of the project energizing the atmosphere even more. It is estimated that EpiCentre will draw eight to 10 million visitors yearly from the surrounding area and beyond.

Although the two-million-square-foot structure is not complete, it is obvious that EpiCentre has rejuvenated the College Street corridor of uptown, which for so long has acted as the little brother to Tryon Street. Accessible by Charlotte’s new light rail system, EpiCentre will be a destination for everyone in the Charlotte area far into the future.

ABOVE: EpiCentre’s first tenant is open for business. Photograph courtesy of The Ghazi Company Right: The European-style street of EpiCentre is completed with striped awnings and unique façades. Photograph courtesy of The Ghazi Company Facing Page top: EpiCentre is featured along a European-style street. Rendering by Risden McElroy Facing Page bottom: With a staircase leading to the plaza, EpiCentre has convenient access from Trade Street. Rendering by Risden McElroy

28th Row Studio Fusion, pa

Charlotte’s North Davidson Arts District (NoDa) is a burgeoning community within minutes of uptown. With strong roots in the textile industry, many buildings and homes from NoDa’s heritage as a textile district have been restored and renovated to add to the neighborhood’s eclectic character.

The neighborhood’s industrial past inspired the design at 28th Row, a mixed-use development located between 27th and 28th streets, for Benchmark Realty, which includes Ty Matthews, Greg Godley and Chris Hanson. Veering away from Charlotte’s history of traditional architecture, Studio Fusion designed the project with a contemporary and edgy feel that resembles an old warehouse that had been converted into residential property.

ABove: The exterior front elevation of Building C shows careful layering. Rendering by Richa Graphics Facing Page: The exterior common courtyard is defined by multiple residential buildings. Rendering by Richa Graphics

Comprised of six buildings, 28th Row features a tumbled industrial brick and a corrugated metal panel system on its exterior. The project also features exterior punctuated balconies with an abundance of exposed steel bracketing.

The interiors of the loft-style condominiums, 184 units to be exact, offer stained concrete floors and exposed ceilings, which add to the industrial ambience. The guiding principle of Studio Fusion’s team throughout the design process was to give the project as much character as possible by using carefully selected materials.

With one- and two-bedroom units, 13 retail/office spaces and a restaurant, complete with a mezzanine, 28th Row offers residents the best in urban living. In the residential units, which range in size from 800 to 1,200 square feet, the open floorplan allows natural light to come in throughout the day.

28th Row’s contemporary kitchens utilize solid wood cabinets, granite countertops and stainless-steel appliances to further perpetuate the industrial style. In addition, all of the fixtures in the residential spaces are brushed nickel. A dropped soffit in the kitchen area defines the space as it simultaneously adds a cozy factor.

Studio Fusion worked with a team of professionals, including Structures Inc.— structural engineer, Allied Engineering—mechanical/electrical and plumbing engineer, and ColeJenest & Stone—civil engineer, to make 28th Row a reality. The critical mass of the project in conjunction with an existing 58,000-square-foot warehouse building from NoDa’s former life prove that the new and the old can blend together seamlessly with good design. The project has been positively received since its inception. Doug Smith, a writer for The Charlotte Observer,

hailed 28th Row as one of the top 10 projects of 2006 that will change the region, as it is being developed along Charlotte’s new light rail system.

Above: At night Buildings A and B will offer interesting contrasts in structure. Rendering by Richa Graphics Facing page TOP: An illustrative site plan of the project shows six new, mixed-use buildings flanking the existing building. Rendering by Studio Fusion, pa

As the first development in NoDa of this density, 28th Row has expedited growth in the area so much so that Studio Fusion is now also working on another mixed-use development nearby. 28th Row is simply another example of how Studio Fusion’s combination of vision, talent and integrity continues to deliver great design to its clients and to the Charlotte region.

facing page BOTTOM: A typical exterior elevation utilizes a mixed palette of industrial brick, corrugated metal panels and exposed steel bracketing. Rendering by Studio Fusion, pa

Bechtler Museum of Modern Art Wells Fargo & Company

Though the Bechtler family is from Switzerland, their ties to North Carolina date back to the 1830s when the first United States gold dollar coins were minted at the Bechtler Mint in Rutherfordton. Now through the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, the family’s name and generosity will forever be tied to Charlotte.

The family’s art collection began with Hans and Elizabeth Bechtler, a couple who forged many friendships with some of the greatest modern and contemporary artists of the 20th century and who believed that everyone should be able to enjoy fine art regardless of their station in life.

Hans and Elizabeth’s son Andreas, who lives in Charlotte, carried on the family’s appreciation of art, as did his sister Dany Bucher, and uncle, the late Walter Bechtler, and his two sons Thomas and Ruedi. Andreas’ collection now has more than 1,200 pieces, including works by Edgar Degas, Alberto Facing Page: The Bechtler Museum of Modern Art will feature the sculpture The Fire Bird by Niki de Saint Phalle at its entrance. Rendering courtesy of the Andreas H. Bechtler Arts Foundation

Giacometti, Barbara Hepworth, Marino Marini, Pablo Picasso, Jean Tinquely, Andy Warhol and many others. In addition, the Bechtlers were able to retain significant correspondence and photographs that provide great insight to their personal relationships with the artists and to the collection itself.

With the opening of the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art at the Wells Fargo Cultural Campus, the Queen City and all of its visitors will have the opportunity not only to enjoy this dynamic art collection, but also to experience a building like it has never before seen.

Designed by world-renowned Swiss architect Mario Botta, the 35,000-squarefoot museum features a cantilevered fourth floor. Andreas selected Mario for the project because of his close relationship to the Bechtler family and to the artists displayed throughout the museum. The fact that Mario designed the Tinguely Museum in Switzerland and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art was also integral.

From the beginning of the design process Andreas knew that he wanted the museum to be a piece of art in itself, free of opulence and pretentiousness. Mario took Andreas’ thoughts on directness, quality and simplicity and created a contemporary, intimate space that intrigues and invigorates.

Working with Mike Murray and David Wagner of Charlotte’s Wagner Murray Architects, Mario has been engaged in every detail of the building from the hardware for the display banners to the furniture for the reception area. To further strengthen the museum’s connection to North Carolina, the exterior of the building will be clad in terracotta blocks designed by Mario. Hung side by side, thousands of 20-by-12-inch blocks pay homage to the state’s clay heritage. The result is an incredible addition to the architectural language of Charlotte’s Center City.

above left: The main exhibition gallery, on the fourth floor, allows interactive movement. Rendering courtesy of the Andreas H. Bechtler Arts Foundation above right: The Bechtler Museum of Modern Art opens its setback façade to Tryon Street. Rendering courtesy of the Andreas H. Bechtler Arts Foundation FACING PAGE: The atrium and reception area will exhibit interesting volumes of space. Rendering courtesy of the Andreas H. Bechtler Arts Foundation

Knight Theater Wells Fargo & Company

It is no secret that Charlotteans love to be entertained. Whether it is a national tour of Wicked , Beethoven with the Charlotte Symphony, or The Marriage of Figaro , courtesy of Opera Carolina, residents of the Queen City frequently quench their cultural urges through live performances.

Although the North Carolina Blumenthal Performing Arts Center offers a variety of facilities, including the Belk Theater with 2,100 seats, Booth Playhouse with 434 seats, Duke Energy Theatre with 182 seats, McGlohon Theatre with 700 seats and Ovens Auditorium with more than 2,400 seats, a piece of Charlotte’s cultural facilities puzzle was missing. There needed to be a space that offered intimacy and capacity—1,177 seats to be exact. Enter Knight Theater, a state-of-the-art performance space in the heart of the Wells Fargo Cultural Campus.

Facing Page: The playful serpentine form of the Knight Theater lobby entrance, in combination with a digital art display, adds visual excitement to the downtown streetscape. Rendering by Spine 3D

Serving as the primary venue for North Carolina Dance Theatre, the 75,000-squarefoot Knight Theater will be capable of supporting a variety of performances such as film presentations, lectures, musical theater, opera, orchestral music, popular music, touring productions and more. The experience of audience members at Knight Theater will be enhanced by their close proximity to the performers, whether they are actors, dancers or musicians. With a background noise rating of NC-20, performances will not be interrupted by common traffic noises associated with Center City.

Named after John S. and James L. Knight through a designated $5 million gift from the Knight Foundation, the Knight Theater was designed by Atlanta’s awardwinning architectural firm, Thompson, Ventulett, Stainback and Associates. Designing the theater from the inside out, the architectural team was diligent in making sure the audience chamber offered a warm and intimate atmosphere.

The exterior of the space exudes a modern feeling with wavy glass and metal detailing. A giant LED screen on the building’s exterior wall serves as a canvas for digital art as well as a portal into the theater’s activities.

Upon entering the facility, patrons will step into a spacious two-tiered lobby with a grand staircase between levels. A VIP room will adjoin the pre-function space located on the upper tier at the balcony level of the theater. Additional prefunction space will be provided by a connector leading to the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art and by space adjacent to a 300-seat auditorium located below the theater lobby and underneath the grand plaza.

Featuring 90 feet of fly space and a 40-by-100-foot stage, Knight Theater also offers an orchestra pit, two levels of seating, a warm-up room, a variety of dressing rooms, a green room, storage areas, a general office and a loading dock that will be shared with the Bechtler Museum as well as the auditorium.

With all of these amenities, both performers and patrons of all ages are sure to enjoy Knight Theater far into the future.

top Right: The interior setting has spaces that are intimate for perfect performances. Rendering by TVS bottom right: Knight Theater’s entrance is grand, modern and welcoming. Rendering by Spine 3D facing page top & Bottom: Striking and bright theater public spaces harmonize with the building’s exterior and utilize material, form and light to bring drama to the theater lobby. Renderings by Spine 3D



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City by Design Charlotte—SNIPPET  
City by Design Charlotte—SNIPPET  

Enjoyable project anecdotes and interesting design theoriesare shared by internationally renowned, forward-thinking firms, including LS3P, J...