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Wright Brothers Memorial Visitor Center To Be Restored To Modernist Glory

A picture of the Wright Brothers National Memorial Visitor Center.
HagerSmith Design
Wright Brothers National Memorial Visitor Center

A Raleigh architecture firm will handle a $5.2 million renovation and rehabilitation of the Wright Brothers National Memorial visitors center and museum. 

David Black is the project architect for HagerSmith Design. Black says the building was built in the late 1950s in the style of the Philadelphia School of Modernism.

"It's really an extraordinary building. The architects described it as trying to represent flight in a static form. And, I think, when you look at the soaring dome, it's a pretty good effort at doing that."

Black says poor quality repairs were made on the building in the intervening decades, marring its appearance. In addition to restoring the building, he says his team will need to abate asbestos, update the HVAC and plumbing systems, and add fire sprinklers.

"For a small building, it's gonna take a lot of work," says Black.

He says they'll also add a geothermal heating and cooling system, better windows and low-flow sinks and toilets to make the building greener.

Black says the project is set to begin in October 20-16. It should take about a year to complete.

Rebecca Martinez produces podcasts at WUNC. She’s been at the station since 2013, when she produced Morning Edition and reported for newscasts and radio features. Rebecca also serves on WUNC’s Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accountability (IDEA) Committee.
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