Lots of things spring to mind when you think of North Carolina’s Triangle: beer, college football, barbecue, and other awesome staples.

Something that might not? Architecture.

North Carolina’s rich history in academics and tobacco defined the early infrastructure of the Triangle, while modern biotech and finance companies shape the modern skylines. Our buildings both new and old are capsules of different historical periods. Today we’d like to look at some – but certainly not all – of the most significant.

The Old Well, UNC Chapel Hill

A symbol so recognizable that it is often used as a logo, UNC’s Old Well is inseparable from the university’s image. In keeping with academia’s idealization of the past, the well’s signature dome was modeled after Versailles’ “Temple of Love,” itself borne of the same neo-classical architecture that inspired the Jefferson Memorial.

The Old Well served as an actual well in UNC’s early days. Despite being decommissioned in the late 1800s, students still drink from its fountain today for good luck on exams.

Red Hat Tower, Downtown Raleigh

With the amphitheater right next door, DTR’s Red Hat Tower gets a ton of traffic from locals and visitors alike. The glassy, monolithic building was originally built in 2004 as the HQ for Progress Energy. When Duke snatched them up, Red Hat happily took the space and transformed it into a miniature Bay Area nerd paradise.

Inside, employees enjoy awesome views of downtown, an open floor plan, and a “core” of red-painted rooms in the same position on every floor. Like some of our own construction in Briar Chapel, the Red Hat Tower is LEED certified.

American Tobacco, Downtown Durham

American Tobacco is a case study of historic upfitting, one of Bold Construction’s signature services.

The sprawling complex of 14 brick buildings sits in the heart of downtown, once the center of the now-defunct American Tobacco Company. Here, leaves from Eastern North Carolina were dried, processed, and sold to a very needy public.

As smoking fell out of favor, so too did the factories, which closed in the late 80s. They sat dormant for over a decade, before being reopened in 2004 as a mixed-use shopping, residential, and office complex. The campus is a beautiful juxtaposition of exposed brick, water, glass, and greenery, usually bustling with activity as a central part of downtown Durham.

Hill Building, Downtown Durham

If you think the Hill Building looks like a miniature Empire State Building, you’d be on the right track: it was built by the same architects. The Art Deco stylings lend an upscale touch to a downtown dominated by rugged brick buildings.

The Hill building has housed a number of similarly upscale companies over the years, mostly banks. It is now the site of the 21c Museum Hotel, catering to roughly the same demographic.


Feeling inspired and looking to spruce up your old property? With LEED experience and extensive commercial projects under our belt, Bold Construction can help! Contact us today and leave your mark on the Triangle.