Garland Jones Building Loses its Marbles

Garland Jones Building Loses its Marbles

Coming Down

April, 08, 2009, by Jedidiah

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The day that some of us have been dreading for a while is finally here. The Garland Jones Building in downtown Raleigh is, as of today, finally being deconstructed. Demolition on the exterior has officially begun. Luckily, they are doing it in stages to preserve the marble and blue glass panels that make it an icon to many locals. I think that most of these panels (both marble and glass) are going to be reused in some way.

The parking deck beside of the building is completely rubble and the Garland Jones looks to be next over the coming weeks.
The building has stirred a lot of controversy in the past, but this is a sad day indeed for architecture lovers in the area. History erased.

Read Jon Zellweger’s Garland Jones Building Essay

Listen to Jon Zellweger discuss the building with Frank Stasio on The State of Things.

Read More

Architecture, Other posts by Jedidiah.


Garland Jones


  • Bill
    04/08 04:47 PM

    If they give me the marble and the blue panels, I will build a house that looks like a smaller version of that building.  No joke.

  • Betsy
    04/08 05:47 PM

    Quite sad.  Would have made a beautiful loft or condo conversion with ‘petites commerces’ on the first floor. 

    Another lost opportunity ... another loss in a long string of architectural losses for Raleigh.

  • r
    04/08 05:48 PM

    How can we sit back and let them dismantle this lovely building!?

  • WiseOne
    04/08 06:12 PM

    Would of been nice to see them reuse the panels at the new art museum addition. Maybe if they were green panels.

  • smitty
    04/08 09:51 PM

    That really sucks.  They should keep the clock for something, maybe put it on the Capitol.

  • Micah
    04/09 01:00 AM

    That time/temp marquee is the only thing about that building that I think looks awful, cheap, and out of place.

  • mgd
    04/09 12:12 PM

    I also think that building looks awful.  What is going to be build in its place?

  • Sallie
    04/09 01:02 PM

    NOTHING is going there - not for the longest time. The new courthouse was SUPPOSED to replace the site, but since Wake County is $20 million over budget, for this year alone, we’ll have yet another gaping hole in our central business district for a long, lonnnnnng time. Why the hell we keep letting government incessantly destroy our city’s footprint is completely beyond me - and we’re paying them to do it! Raleigh Historic District’s Commission, the City (I mean you Meeker), Preservation NC, Dan Becker totally and thoroughly SUCK A$$.

  • Micah
    04/09 02:08 PM

    mgd, if your “also” was in response to my post, i should have worded my thought better; i think the building is beautiful, the time/temp marquee is certainly not.

  • T-Plain
    04/09 02:27 PM

    I have no love for that building, but I don’t get why they’d spend the money to tear it down if money’s the reason its replacement is on hold.

  • mgd
    04/09 02:35 PM

    Its probably the good old governments Ide If you dont use all of your funds this year then you get less funds next year.  Which is completely insane!

  • MMI
    04/09 02:42 PM







  • this is your wonderland
    04/09 02:47 PM

    I would have chained myself to it to prevent bulldozers from demolishing it! Beautiful modernism destroyed. But as Piscasso once said, destruction is a form of creationism - so maybe we can be optimistic about whats to come!

  • smitty
    04/09 08:53 PM

    Why does the new police station have to be right smack downtown?  Why not put it a few blocks out of DT where land is ‘cheap’?

  • Betsy
    04/09 10:13 PM

    Because in Raleigh, we put the art museums out in the country, and the dead-space police processing facilities downtown.

  • Betsy
    04/09 10:15 PM

    Sallie—you said “Why the hell we keep letting government incessantly destroy our city’s footprint is completely beyond me”—amen sister.  Channeling Jane Jacobs, you are.

    I swear if the City, County, State and Fed gov’ts would just get their foot off downtown Raleigh’s neck, it wouldn’t even NEED a ‘revitalization program.’

  • Jenn
    04/10 08:30 AM

    Last time I was downtown (First Friday) it looked like the construction workers (or someone) were just punching holes in random panels…are they really going to preserve them?

  • Raleigh Boy
    04/11 01:45 AM

    Jenn, I can tell you first hand those blue glass panels are not that difficult to remove without damaging them. All it takes is the proper tools, a three-man team and permission from the construction super. Wish we’d got more. Anybody wantonly smashing them out will be spending a lot of time in purgatory! btw—GJOB is now in lockdown—interior access is denied to all.

  • Jon Zellweger
    04/11 10:43 AM

    My first interest in finding a means to reuse the building came almost 3 years ago.  By that time, I quickly learned, the County Commissioners had decided behind closed doors that the building would be torn down with the expansion of the Courthouse/Justice Center.  That decision had been made several years before my attention was drawn. 

    The earliest public acknowledgement of the building’s demolition was in a N&O article, if I recall correctly, in 2005.  If we’re going to maintain important contributions to Raleigh’s architectural heritage the citizens have to take a longer view and become active earlier.  In this case, letters to the County Commissioners in 2005 perhaps could have perhaps influenced their thinking.

    I strongly encourage a wider, non-professional (i.e. not architects and planners) interest in our cities finer buildings.  I’m not a die-hard preservationist, but do believe that certain buildings, when doing things well in encouraging a healthy urban environment should be candidates for adaptive reuse. 

    This was a classic example of a building behaving extremely well in the City that could have easily and relatively inexpensively been transformed to overcome the tide of prejudice against the outdated blue panels.

  • mgd
    04/11 11:10 AM

    I wonder if this was the same conversation people had about the build(ings) that were demolished to erect this one…

    The new building will be a lot greener than this one could have been.

  • jon zellweger
    04/11 01:15 PM

    One of the most misunderstood realities is that new “green” architecture is more sustainable than old construction. That fact is that to reuse a structure is more ecologically sustainable because its already there. The embodied energy in those materials and at associated costs to transport them to the site and install them are paid for. A new structure would literally have to be a net-zero energy consumer to rival the existing building.

  • jz
    04/11 01:41 PM

    horrible.  i typed that last comment from my phone.  just so there’s no misunderstanding:

        One of the most misunderstood realities is that reuse of existing buildings is more sustainable than new “green” architecture. The fact is that to reuse a structure IS more ecologically sustainable because its already there. The embodied energy in those materials and the associated costs to transport them to the site and install them are paid for.
        A new structure would literally have to be a net-zero energy consumer to rival the existing building.  Technology for to achieve that level of performance doesn’t yet exist.

  • Sallie
    04/11 11:42 PM

    JZ -

    Hear, hear. I get SO sick and tired of people throwing out the ignorant “green” argument when it’s at the expense of a perfectly wonderful building. Preservation is the ultimate greening - the ultimate recycling! Maybe they’re retaining some marble, and some of the glass panels that haven’t already been smashed by jacka$$es with tiny doo-wads, but the overwhelming majority of that building will end up dumped in the landfill…not to mention, as you said, the embodied energy of all the new materials for the piece of crap that will replace the site in God-knows-how-many-years-down-the-road - and how, in any way, is that green/environmentally responsible?!?! Think you can’t make an existing/older/historic building green?? I HIGHLY encourage you to peek in at the Heilig-Levine Building, Cherokee Investment’s Office, at Wilmington and Hargett. It’s the first building in the state to be certified LEED Platinum - one of only 61 in the world - and the building was built in 1870! Believe me, the two worlds CAN exists, and can do so quite remarkably.

  • JRD
    04/13 08:32 PM

    Hate to see it go.  Hopefully they’ll have extra time to improve the design.

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