Why is the 1978 Courthouse Building Under Historic Review?
Durham County Courthouse (1978). Photo Source: opendurham.org
The Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) is currently grappling with the County’s proposed changes to the 1978 courthouse, located at the north east corner of Main and Mangum Streets. Though not yet 50 years old, and therefore not “historic” per national standards, the building is within the boundaries of the downtown historic district, an area over which the HPC has approval authority.
Click here to read the Herald Sun article on the December 1st HPC hearing that discussed the project and here to read Bull City Rising’s piece on the County;s proposal.
We’ll be following up in the next few weeks with our thoughts on the proposed changes to the structure,
Downtown Durham is updating its 2008 Master Plan and needs your input. This first workshop will gather input on how the community views the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats facing Downtown Durham.
Downtown Durham’s growth has been guided by the original Master Plan in 2000, and the update in 2008. The following items were recommended by the 2008 Plan rand successfully implemented:
Durham switching to a form based code
Retail market study
Downtown Open Space Study
Building on surface parking lots to increase density and walkability
The original master plan was intended to be a living document that evolves with the changes and opportunities in Durham. Today, the Plan no longer fully accounts for the current physical landscape of downtown, current
500-600 Block of Holloway Street
Durham’s best examples of Mid-Century Modern commercial design include the 1963 Jack Tar Motel, the 1968 Mutual Community Savings Bank, the 1960 Holiday Inn, and the 1966 North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company. Once seen as ‘futuristic’, many people now see these buildings as dated. However, they remain valuable pieces of the Bull City revitalization puzzle.
What’s Needed: The Mutual Community Savings Bank and the North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Building remain in use as office space, with future plans for the Mutual Community Savings Bank to include a ground-floor restaurant or design firm. We hope that these buildings can be a stronghold for citizens to embrace the recent past. The Holiday Inn and Jack Tar
Issue Background and Overview:
The South Bank building, which sits at the Five Points intersection downtown, was built in 1974. The building, which is surrounded by parking, has poor siting. Additionally, the massing of the building is inconsistent with the surrounding area. However, in a time when 70’s era buildings are being torn down without a second thought, the building is worthy of preserving.
Issue Background and Overview:
The Jack Tar Motel, colloquially known as the “Oprah Building”, was built in 1962. It sits on the edge of CCB Plaza, and it was connected via skywalk to the original Washington Duke Hotel, which was across the street. It exhibits many features of classic 1960s architecture, including the turquoise facade, flat roof, and ribbon windows. This building sits on a prime piece of downtown real estate, and PD is concerned that it will soon be threatened.