Green Square Complex

Raleigh, North Carolina, USA

The Nature Research Center is an interactive space filled with natural light and opportunities for hands-on learning.

Green Square Complex is a two-block, mixed-use sustainable development project that unites North Carolina’s Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences in the heart of downtown. The Complex promotes stewardship by example and provides experiential learning opportunities focused on current scientific research and the environmental issues affecting daily lives 

A primary function of the Nature Research Center (NRC) is to highlight environmental and scientific research, using state-of-the-art media, exhibits and laboratories to demonstrate the process of scientific discovery, for public education and entertainment. As an extension of the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, NRC features numerous hands-on and interactive exhibits, media presentations, and research and teaching laboratories on earth sciences, genomics, paleontology and astronomy.

A key feature of the Complex is the Daily Planet, a four-story tall dome projection environment with the capacity for movie projections and video feeds from local and national TV stations. The Daily Planet also serves as a focal point for the visitor, anchoring the laboratories and gallery spaces located on all four levels of the facility. 

Award-Winning Design

  • Merit Award, Gold Nugget Awards, Pacific Coast Builders Conference, 2013
  • Sir Walter Raleigh for Community Appearance, Raleigh City Council, 2012
  • Green Design Award, Environmental Awards, City of Raleigh 2012

USGBC LEED Platinum-Certified

Sustainable design strategies include:

  • 10,000-square-foot green roof
  • Rain water retention and grey water filtration systems
  • High performance exterior envelope materials including glazing and thermal insulation
  • Exterior louvers to control solar heat gain and facilitate daylighting
  • Incorporation of locally-quarried stone and locally-recycled steel
  • Raised-floor system with a low velocity HVAC system

Meticulous Planning

Fentress Architects worked closely with the staff, curators and scientists of the Museum of Natural Sciences, and with the offices of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to establish the programmatic space requirements, complete the master plan and develop the architectural design for the entire complex. Fentress Architects also plays a key role in coordinating the exhibit design for the Nature Research Center.