1700 Glenwood sits prominently at Raleigh’s Five Points intersection, on the corner of Fairview and West Whitaker. It was built in 1964 for a progressive mechanized dry cleaner, designed to display the machinery and cleaning process in its large, elevated glass expanses. The current owners purchased the building in 1979 and launched a new and quickly evolving business, Audio Buys, which sold and repaired audio video and computer equipment. In 2007, the shop closed and with it, left a high-profile vacancy at a bustling intersection.
After sitting vacant for a number of years, the owners decided to undertake a renovation, with a specific commitment towards sustainability and an energy-efficient future. A proactive architectural solution was employed, using new insulated glazing, long-lasting zinc siding and a custom shade system to increase energy efficiency. The building now shades its interior space from glare and reduces summer heat gain by more than 70%. Through this transformation, the building is not only far more energy efficient but is a highly desirable space, ready to be leased by the next generation of tenants.
Aesthetic strategies of layering, depth, shadow, and structural articulation not only reference the architectural detail of the adjacent church but also create a deep framework for the shading system that screens the glass. The result is a dialogue between two buildings that serve as icons of the neighborhood. The renovation focuses on revitalizing the building, in terms of efficiency and aesthetics, to be an up-to-date and iconic piece of architecture, deeply rooted in and sensitive to its surroundings, and a positive example for the future, where reuse is a key part of sustainability.