Bringing Science and People Together, Green Square Complex Celebrates Opening

Raleigh, North Carolina (April 30, 2012) – Science just got a bit more awesome. The newly- opened Green Square Complex project creates an experiential environment where the public can learn about environmental issues affecting everyday life through interacting with actual scientists and their ongoing research projects.

A two-block, multi-use sustainable development, the Green Square Complex is the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ (NC DENR)  downtown Raleigh complex, which brings together its staff in a new headquarters and expands the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences with the Nature Research Center. These components are joined by two skyway pedestrian bridges. The space physically expresses the mission of NC DENR to protect, conserve and teach about regional and global ecosystems, energy use, and sustainable strategies.

View Project

Design for People

A primary function of the NRC is to educate the public about environmental and scientific research, using state-of-the-art media, exhibits and laboratories to demonstrate the process of scientific discovery. The new facility features numerous hands-on exhibits,  interactive media presentations, and research and teaching laboratories on earth sciences, genomics, paleontology and astronomy. A key feature is the Daily Planet, a four-story tall sphere projection environment that serves as a focal point for the visitor, anchoring the laboratories and gallery spaces located on all four levels of the facility.

Sustainable Features

The project isn’t only good for the mind, but for the earth as well. Designed to achieve LEED Gold certification, the project boasts a 10,000-square-foot green roof and maximizes daylighting by having far fewer interior walls and more windows than the typical office building. Water conservation is achieved through constructed cisterns that capture rainwater. Stormwater runoff, North Carolina's number one cause of water pollution, was eliminated. The project also utilized locally-quarried stone and locally-recycled steel. The DENR Office Building has high performance glazing, sunshades at the south facing curtainwall and upgraded perimeter glass stairs that encourage floor to floor communication without needing to use elevators. The building also has a raised floor system with a low velocity HVAC system.

Fast Facts | Green Square Complex

Completion: April 2012
DENR Office building: 146,250 square feet
Nature Research Center: 105,000 square feet (including 10,000 square feet of labs)
Parking Structure: 120,000 square feet
Cost: $126 million
Expected Annual Visitors to NRC: 900,000
Architects: Fentress Architects in association with O’Brien Atkins Associates (Architect of Record)