Modern Architecture on Cox Avenue in Raleigh

Harwell Hamilton Harris Office / Residence on Cox Ave.

The lighting was nice this evening so I got inspired to shoot some pictures of the modern architecture down the street from where I live. The LA transplant, apprentice of Neutra and Schlindler, admirer of Frank Lloyd Wright, and one time NCSU architecture professor, Architect Harwell Hamilton Harris built his office and residence on Cox Avenue across Pullen Park from the School of Design (now College of Design) at NC State, and lived there until his death. I toured the office back when structural engineer T.C. Howard worked out of the building with his firm Synergetics, Inc.. The old models of his collaborations with Buckminster Fuller were placed about, illustrating the tensegrity principles, and harkening back to an important time in Raleigh and North Carolina history where big structural ideas were the driving force behind the designs of  Fuller, Catalano, Nowicki, and others.

Modern addition to Pullen Memorial Baptist Church

It’s been a few years since the Dixon Weinstein Architects addition was built along Cox Ave behind the Pullen Memorial Baptist Church which fronts Hillsborough Street. I’m a believer that there can be a dialogue between older building and newer; additions don’t have to “blend in” by matching materials and details, but can rather work as complementary structures on many levels. I also like how the accessibility ramp is integrated as part of the side entry plaza of the site. I applaud the vision of the church congregation for supporting this addition and Dixon Weinstein Architects for realizing what is probably the boldest example of semi-public modern architecture in Raleigh in recent years.

Pullen Memorial Baptist Church Addition

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3 Responses to Modern Architecture on Cox Avenue in Raleigh

  1. Thought you might like to know that T. C. Howard of Synergetics, Inc is both an architect and an engineer. The models in the office were his original designs and not any collaborations with Bucky. Buckminster Fuller did not design any of the Synergetics, Inc domes. They were all T. C. Howard’s original designs. Thomas C. Howard was the principal designer, architect, engineer and owner of Synergetics, Inc from 1955 until 2006 when T. C. retired and sold this building.

    • Vincent says:

      From my research, which includes the Synergetics facebook page which I believe you (Katrina Howard Fairley) created, Fuller along with others, including TC Howard, James Fitzgibbon, and J. Forrest Barnwell, were all owners of Synergetics from 1955 until 1958, when Fuller sold his shares. TC had partners until 1968 when he became sole owner. As a company, all owners should be given credit for the work produced. I’m not trying to take anything away from TC Howard, as I know he was a large part of the design team for the geodesic domes and other structures…but to say that Buckminster Fuller did not “design” any of the domes seems misleading. To me the design process goes from conception all the way to construction, and it seems that everyone in the company was part of that process. I think to say that it was a collaborative effort with all the members of Synergetics, Inc. would be most accurate.

  2. JZ says:

    It takes a strong will to establish a facade like HHH did. Powerful. A great place for the neighborhood to project movies for community gathering in the summer perhaps as well!

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