Construction & Creation

"The whole difference between construction and creation is exactly this: that a thing constructed can only be loved after it is constructed; but a thing created is loved before it exists."
Charles Dickens

Alston Ridge Middle School

Alston Ridge Middle School

The Glasgow School of Art

Charles Rennie Mackintosch's masterpiece, "...the only art school in the world where the building is worthy of the subject...this is a work of art in which to make works of art." Sir Christopher Frayling, Educator and Writer.


Alternative Spaces for Learning

Student learning styles vary. As architects, we must provide a variety of spacial experiences that allow and foster different learning modalities. We look for opportunities to create environments that nurture diversity. In a school, we may provide space for linguistic and logical learning as part of the prescribed program, but spaces for visual, aural, physical, social, and solitary learning are also critical to students’ comprehensive education. Sometimes, these spaces can be incorporated in underutilized design areas, such as a gathering space next to a corridor, an exterior courtyard, or a seating area adjacent to a stair. Not only is it our job to meet an Owner’s expectations, but we must also provide flexible design solutions to meet needs they may not have considered.

Informal learning space

Informal learning space

A stairway can easily become an alternate learning space

A stairway can easily become an alternate learning space

Groundbreaking Celebration for Alston Ridge Middle School

IMG_4536Wake County Commissioners, Wake County School Board Members, Cary Town Council Members and many others braved the wet cold rain to celebrate the construction of WCPSS's latest Middle School Project located in western Cary, NC.  We are proud to be the architect for this exciting project and are looking forward to it's construction over the next year and a half.  The school features flexible collaborative areas, large windows for great views and daylighting, flexible courtyards for outdoor learning, and multiple colors of local brick.Courtyard-01_FotoSketcher

Baptismal Font at Duke Chapel

bwf_5481 I finally made it over to Duke Chapel to take some new photos of the baptismal font I designed when working at Eason & Farlow Design. The Gothic style font is carved from quarter-sawn white oak and features a hand hammered sterling silver basin with  an overlaid cross pattern.  Duke Chapel had never had a baptismal font until this was commissioned in the early 2000s. Our goal was for it to appear as if it had always been there, fitting in perfectly with  Julian Abele's 1932 masterpiece.

Exterior Restoration at St. Timothy's Episcopal Church has begun!

1231-elevThe brick re-pointing, roof repair and masonry restoration has begun at St. Timothy's Episcopal Church in Wilson, NC.  St. Timothy's was constructed in 1906 and is a fine example of Gothic Revival architecture with it's asymmetrical brick tower and Tudor Gothic windows.  We designed a new cast stone cross with symbol for St. Timothy to be located above the main entry.


Middle School Prototype for Wake County

Built 3 times between 2009 & 2012, this 196,000 SF middle school prototype has been designed with a compact footprint and can be flexibly oriented depending on varying site conditions. It has also been designed with sustainability in mind. All classrooms are located around the building’s perimeter and large windows are placed to take advantage of natural day lighting. 1029PLAN-200 copySouth facing glass is shaded and light shelves direct sun’s rays deep into classroom spaces. Energy efficient electrical and mechanical systems reduce energy costs. The exterior is a combination of local North Carolina brick and light weight steel panels which are made from 27% recycled content. Using the light weight metal panels above roofs and high on the buildings elevations reduces the chance for roof membrane damage during construction and has the added benefit of reducing the quantity of structural steel required to support the building’s skin, reducing use of natural resources and saving tax payer dollars.

Lumion...test driving some new rendering software

We have used a great number of rendering packages including Podium, 3Ds Max, Revit and now Lumion.  With just a few hours of testing we have gotten some really nice results and are excited about the video capabilities.  Also, the interface is really simple and intuitive.  We will update after more


work time.  PS: I really want to build this church, so if anyone is interested, please call us. :) 

St. Paul's Episcopal Church - Greenville, NC

This new church building was designed to seat 450 parishioners and house a new, concert pipe organ which was also designed to be used in conjunction with the School of Music of East Carolina University. The building’s design fits in with its residential surroundings and the smaller existing church, which was converted to a chapel, and provides a dramatic view from downtown Greenville. The exterior is matching brick, and the interior features slate floors in the Nave and Side Aisles and slate and marble in the Chancel. Exposed trusses and clerestory windows enhance the vertical feel of the interior. Custom-built Gothic furnishings in quarter-sawn white oak complete the Chancel. The font is a relocated historic piece from a church in Philadelphia with an enlarged basin in marble mosaic.

“The new building’s acoustics are suitable for the St. Paul’s choir and the East Carolina University (ECU) School of Music.

The new worship space for St. Paul’s Church, Greenville, N.C., was consecrated by the Rt. Rev. Clifton Daniel III, Bishop of East Carolina, Feb. 28. Planning for the new church began some years ago, when it became apparent that the existing building could no longer accommodate a fast-growing congregation.

When the present rector, the Rev. Canon C. Thomas Midyette III, newly designated canon theologian for the diocese, came to the parish in 1994, it was with the specific understanding that fund raising would begin immediately for the new church. Construction began in the summer of 1998. The bishop celebrated the first Eucharist in the new building on Christmas Eve. It seats more than twice the number of worshipers as the old building and is fully accessible to persons with physical handicaps.

A particular feature of the new church is the three stained glass rose windows created by artist Brenda Belfield, designer of the “Space Window” at Washington National Cathedral. Another feature is the new building’s acoustical richness. “It was designed very specifically for the acoustics,” said parish member David Crean. With a planned reverberation of some 3.5 seconds, it will be especially suited to the talents of the St. Paul’s choir and the East Carolina University (ECU) School of Music, which will use the space for an additional recital hall. ECU is collaborating in a fund-raising campaign to enable the building of a 60-rank Fisk organ for the building.”

(2000, March). New Worship Space Features Rich Acoustics. The Living Church. Retrieved from

Eason & Farlow Design, PA - Associate Architect Brad Farlow was the Design Architect & Local Architect during the Construction Phase. Atkin Olshin Lawson-Bell & Associates Tony Atkin, FAIA was the Architect-of-Record

Harnett County Courthouse

We recently returned to Harnett County to photograph the courthouse and are happy to see that it is holding up well after 15 years of service.

Few North Carolina counties have had the opportunity to construct a new courthouse on a new site.  The challenge of this project was to provide space for the clerk of court, district attorney, tax office, register of deeds, and courtrooms in a single building that would make an appropriate aesthetic statement, be affordable and be secure. The result was a new 130,561 SF building that meets all of these parameters. The layout of the courtrooms in this building carefully separate the jury, judges, attorneys, detainees, and public in a way that is unseen to the users. The design committee included representatives of all departments that would occupy the building. As designers, we guided those representatives to work cooperatively in helping us understand their needs. We offered many alternative solutions to the group and patiently built a consensus with all parties. The final product has been embraced by the citizens of Harnett County and enjoyed by those who use the building.

Beauty in a Water Tower

As I was driving past this water tower in Burlington, NC, I was reminded of the wonderful photographs of Bernd and Hilla Becher.  In the late 1950s the couple began traveling through Europe and North America to capture images of industrial architecture.  The functional beauty of these structures is often overlooked, but they managed to preserve many structures that no longer exist with their photographs.  Anyone interested in architectural typology should check out their books.  Read more HERE.