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 in the heart of downtown Raleigh.  Moreover, it unites North Carolina’s Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) with the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. Together, they promote:

  • stewardship by example, and
  • provide experiential learning opportunities focused on current scientific research and the environmental issues affecting daily lives. 

Additionally, the Nature Research Center serves as an extension of the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. In fact, its primary function is to highlight environmental and scientific research using state-of-the-art media, exhibits and laboratories. Furthermore, the interactive space is filled with natural light and opportunities for hands-on learning.

A key feature of the Green Square Complex is the Daily Planet. This innovative structure is a four-story tall dome projection environment that has the capability to display movie projections and video feeds from both local and national TV stations. The Daily Planet also serves as a focal point for the visitor.  In addition, it anchors 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 together with the staff, curators and scientists of the Museum of Natural Sciences.  Additionally, they collaborated with the offices of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.  The results established programmatic space requirements, completed the master plan and developed an architectural design for the entire complex. Fentress also played a key role in coordinating the exhibit design for the Nature Research Center.