The Architecture of George Watts Carr, Sr.

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watts carr

The Offices of George Watts Carr, his son, and grandson were located on the 17th floor of Hill building from the time of its completion in 1937 until early 2013. Photo courtesy of RWCarr Architects.

In October of 2012, I had the opportunity to visit the 17th floor of the Hill Building (later CCB Tower, now 21C). It was a veritable treasure trove. This space, accessed only by stairs from the 16th floor, housed one of Durham’s most prolific architecture firms, that started by Durham native, George Watts Carr, Sr., for 75 years.
I didn’t know much about Carr’s work prior to this visit, but I soon learned what an incredible mark he left upon the City. After starting his own firm in 1926, Carr was associated with many of the initial buildings at NC Central University, Camp Lejeune, as well as churches, elementary schools, and other downtown buildings. Most notably, he associated with the developers of Durham’s first residential subdivisions, Forest Hills and Hope Valley, where he designed many of the initial residences. His buildings-down to the very details-are regarded as some of the finest residential, religious, educational and commercial buildings in Durham.
The idea for this year’s home tour grew out of that first visit. Fascinated that a 3-generation firm, (now run by Carr’s grandson Edgar), still existed and had operated out of the same space for three-quarters of a century, I was enthralled by the drawings, renderings, and photographs their collection contains.

 

Please join us this coming weekend for a view inside seven of the most notable homes designed by Carr. Original drawings and photographs will also be on display.