WTF Classical Additions to Modernist Building on Hillsborough Street

WTF Classical Additions to Modernist Building on Hillsborough Street

July, 16, 2012, by Jedidiah

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Photo by Maggie Kirsch

Hillsborough Street continues to undergo changes, from a new streetscape to added bike lanes and now this atrocity. We aren't completely sure what to think about the fact that the modern building that currently houses The Alley has these new classical rails and cornice at the Western end of the building.

There is ongoing construction and it sounds like a restaurant (possibly with the same owner as Melvin's) may replace the Design Gallery Salon and this could be a second floor balcony area. While the hope is that this silly classical rail is temporary, the classical cornice, which is attached and connects two of the modern concrete panels, says otherwise. 

Goodnight, Raleigh! has a great history of the building and while we know that Cameron Village is capable of destroying modernism and replacing it with classicism, this is quite outrageous and ridiculous. Surely someone who has any authoriy whatsoever can show the owners that this is hideous, out of place (both architecturally and chronologically) and completely unneccessary. Sure, we'd love a new restaurant or other retail spot to replace the currently empty salon, but show some class, not classicism, in the year 2012, please. 


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  • Lloyd
    07/16 02:09 PM

    This is a another NR prank right?  That’s photoshopped yeah?

  • Spuds McKenzie
    07/16 02:26 PM

    Rip all of those panels down.  Please!

  • Darryl
    07/16 02:38 PM

    If we were to pause for a minute, one might realize that the “classical” addition to Western Lanes is more than just a stylistic facade treatment, what it really is (and more importantly), is a window. I agree with the author that the contrast between the styles is somewhat unguided, but if you are going to be outraged by architectural malfeasance, then save your steam for something monumental, and take a closer look and consider not what this addition (or subtraction rather) to Western Lanes looks like, but what it does. For the first time in 20+ years, Hillsborough Street is worth looking out onto from an adjacent enterprise. The trend has already started as a result of the Hillsborough Street redesign, the Bazaar-turned-Chipotle on the corner of Chamberlain Street, the bay doors of Five O’ Clock Sports Bar and most recently the renovation of Two Guys Pizza. Yes, these enterprises are collegiate at best, but what is more important is the big picture: large public investment is paying off for business owners and locals. The evidence is palpable in the reinvestment on Hillsborough Street. Western Lanes is just another sleeping building, finally cracking an eyelid to the activity below. Buildings should look out onto streets, and people should be able to see inside buildings from those streets. These are simple rules of good urban form that increase social connectivity, as well as business transactions. Raleigh’s design issues are not stylistic, they are formal. A banister detail is minuscule compared to the connectivity of pedestrian networks, safe bike routes, transit options, traffic-calming, and places to sit and rest; the list goes on. Yes, design is about small-scale and large-scale, but New Raleigh needs to save the hyperbole, and if there is anything we should embellish it is the success that is happening right under our noses.

  • Squirrel Baby
    07/16 02:53 PM

    ^^ Waaaay too long, brah ^^

    I’m usually a fan of gutting/remodeling atrocious 20th century modernist buildings, but this is an abortion of architecture and design. Rip the panels off.

    On Twitter: @Squirrelchat

  • Julie
    07/16 02:54 PM

    Looks like a budget issue to me…they said “we need a railing” and went out and bought one, not even thinking for a moment about the modernist design elements or anything but cost and safety.

  • Elena
    07/16 02:56 PM

    I was there last Tuesday to bowl and drink and the hole was there. I ordered my PBR (as a good New Raleigh reader would) and noticed that there was the balmy draft to my left and upon turning my head saw a huge section of the wall missing and just left open to the elements.  I asked the bartender what the deal was and they said the Owner did it and they were unsure of his plans. That bar area does need some natural sunlight but yeah that railing is way out of place. It’s clearly a work in progress, Here’s hoping they kept their receipt.

  • matt
    07/16 03:31 PM

    atrocious. disgraceful. unfortunately, not surprising. why is it that people think they just throw a Hampton Inn cornice on everything and it’ll look nice? this is just dumb.

  • kd
    07/16 04:01 PM

    i saw this last week when i passed by and could hardly keep driving straight trying to see what in the world they were doing! 

    window idea = potentially good. 
    plan execution = horribly awful.


  • erv
    07/16 04:23 PM

    I was there for my bday a while back (I’m a man! I’m 30!) and a guy working there (in charge?) claimed a balcony was going in over the summer. It’s kind of balcony-ish. I’m sure there will be all kinds of shoutrage, but hey, a balcony at an establishment on Hillsborough with reasonably priced beers? Who doesn’t like people watching? I’m for it.

    Also, windows = welcoming.

  • Bradley
    07/17 10:31 AM

    Those panels are disgusting and also block the original windows on those buildings. Why are people so obsessed with modernism? Sorry but when modernism looks like that its just plain ugly to look at.

    I prefer the railings over those slabs of crappy “modernism” any day. Modernism makes me think of the 50’s, 60’s, & 70’s and in those era’s Raleigh was obsessed with actually tearing down amazing buildings like the Old Courthouse and the Raleigh Baptist College. I am not sad to see ugly repressive building and designs fade.

  • CarnifeX
    07/17 11:42 AM

    Hahaha. Thats awesome.

    This silliness is worth pointing out. Probably not worth reworking it since the building is an eyesore anyway, but it’s pretty funny to see.

    Sad trombone.

  • BIll
    07/17 12:47 PM

    People associate bowling alleys with the 1950’s.  It would have been easy to remove those panels, or all the panels, and make the building look cool.  Windows are great.  Balconies are great.  Fake Roman columns and fake greco is bullshit.  I agree with the commenter who called this an abortion.

  • stonehenge
    07/17 12:51 PM


  • Magnum P.U.
    07/17 02:58 PM

    Reuniti on ice is nice!

  • Chris M.
    07/17 03:19 PM

    “Those panels are disgusting and also block the original windows on those buildings.”

    No, they don’t.  The building was designed to look that way.  It was built in 1960 in a modernist style (read the linked goodnight raleigh articles for more).  And I think that we can all agree that, love or hate modernism, the juxtaposition of these elements is jarring and simply absurd.

  • ClueTrail
    07/17 03:19 PM

    My first reaction was the same as Lloyd’s, “That must be photoshopped!”

  • GB
    07/17 03:51 PM

    Anyone call the owner/developer?

  • Brayan
    08/09 12:51 AM

    I meant my post, not the article. I agree it has some nice ponits, though in some ways the “boringness” of the things has more to do with their dissemination (media, web pages, journals, etc) than the things themselves.

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