NORTH CAROLINA CIVIL WAR HISTORY CENTER
The new North Carolina Civil War History Center will be built on the site of the former Fayetteville Arsenal . The history of the Arsenal dates back to the War of 1812, but became a player in the conclusion of the Civil War as one of Sherman’s last conquests in his march northward. The historic site is the primary driver for the location of the statewide history center which will cover the role of North Carolina and its people from before the war through Reconstruction and beyond. The historic significance of the site served as the spring board for the early conceptual design drivers for the museum.
Our design strives to create a new building that respects the significance of the site in North Carolina history as well as creating a new place to highlight the stories being told inside. With a conceptual focus of the multiple roles of North Carolina in the Civil War, as well as a desire to connect the building out into the landscape and arsenal ruins, the idea of a pavilion scheme began to take shape. Three main public areas - the main exhibits, an auditorium, and a second level elevated cafe - are all connected by a glassy circulation spine and under one large roof acting as the glue of the scheme. Stretching out into the landscape, outdoor plazas, walkways, and covered shelters encourage visitors to have a better connection with the ruins themselves.
Elevated views from the museum will allow visitors to look down on the property, gaining a more comprehensive understanding of the scale and extents of the previously existing arsenal site.
Much like the state during the Civil War, the site has been divided. A major highway was cut through the existing arsenal ruins in the 1980s and severed the site into two separate parcels of land connected by a pedestrian footbridge. Another main conceptual driver in our design was to reconnect the two pieces of the site to give visitors a way to visualize the magnitude of the original arsenal footprint. A widening of the existing footbridge is proposed to aid in "healing" the site into a more unified complex rather than two distinct parcels.