clearly_HERE, Raleigh N.C.

The 2012 Inform Awards jury recognized this project by Tonic Design for its object design excellence.

For the first 14 years of its life, what is now the Audio Buys Building stood as a symbol of the future in downtown Raleigh. The sleek Modern building, originally built in the mid-’60s, housed one of the most progressive drycleaners in the country. Displayed in the mostly glass façade was a collection of mechanized machinery designed to transport, clean, and press garments in North Carolina’s capital.

Since 1979, after having sat vacant for a few years, the building acquired new owners who converted it to the Audio Buys Building. Most recently—even without a current tenant—they wanted to re-integrate the existing building as a respectable neighbor and an iconic piece of architecture, located at the city’s busy Five Points intersection. Many Raleigh residents pass by this building every day, and the owners recognized the significance of being sensitive to the building’s prominent crossroads context. They are also committed to sustainability, including energy efficiency.

The designers adopted an agressive architectural approach to resource efficiency that included:

  • New insulated glazing
  • Long-lasting zinc siding
  • A custom shading system, which not only protects interior spaces from glare, but also reduces heat gain in the summer by more than 70 percent.

    The original building.

The result of this transformation is both increased energy efficiency and a much more desirable space for the next generation of tenants.

The blended sustainable/aesthetic strategy tactically blends layering, depth, shadow, and articulation of structure to reference the architectural detail of the adjacent church while creating a framework for the system that screens the glass. The result is a dialogue between this building and its neighbors in this iconic Raleigh neighborhood.

The 2012 Inform Awards jury one honor award in Landscape Architecture, one honor award and two merit awards in Object Design, and two honor awards and one merit award in Interiors. You can read about those projects here. The jury also identified 28 projects as worthy of recognition for design excellence. will publish those projects throughout the year, and they can be seen in aggregate here.

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  1. INFORM: “Clearly _ Here: Raleigh, NC” « Tonic Design + Tonic Construction - June 6, 2012

    […] machinery designed to transport, clean, and press garments in North Carolina’s capital…READ MORE… Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. design awardsInform […]

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