Goodnight Raleigh - a look at the art, architecture, history, and people of the city at night

The Most Beautiful Building Lights Up

At 8:45 Thursday night, a crowd gathered to see the most beautiful building in Raleigh have one side illuminated by thirteen hundred LEDs funded by Cree to create the most awe inspiring piece of public art to grace an urban area.

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Gyre – The Moving Spiral Of History

Gyre is a simple yet impressive and surreal set of rings created by Thomas Sayre of Clearscapes. Back in April I photographed the prototype of these rings, although I didn’t know it at the time. During the day, the rings are something to behold. At night, it is almost magical.
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The Most Beautiful Building In Raleigh

Even in an incomplete state without the lighting, it is something truly fascinating. Currently without backlighting, colors still roll and move across the surface like the reflection of a bird flying over water. Once the illumination switch is flipped, Raleigh will have one of the most awe inspiring pieces of public art that is part of an urban landscape.

If you have not been keeping up with new developments in the area, this is the Shimmer Wall, an enormous piece of art on one side of the Convention Center covering an entire city block. It was designed and is being assembled by Clearscapes, an architectural and design firm located downtown.

“We wanted a wall that would be dynamic, that would move, that would shine,” said Thomas Sayre, principal with the Raleigh architectural firm Clearscapes.”So all afternoon, every afternoon, this surface gets bathed in light.”

The idea is to take thousands of steel strips, maybe more than a million, each about the size of a shirt pocket. Half would be buffed shiny, the others would be dull, dimpled metal. They would hang on rods along an entire side of the convention center, covering a city block.

When the wind blows, they would swing, creating a wavy, glimmering image, reflecting sunshine during the day, and letting light show between their cracks at night.

Sayre said the shimmery strips would be spaced to form a larger picture. Light and dark tiles would function like the ones and zeroes of binary code — a nod to the region’s tech sector.

“Part of our job is to think, ‘How can this be an interesting wall?’ ” Sayre said. “I hope when you go home and your kids say, ‘How was the convention, Mom?’ you can say, ‘There’s this really cool thing out front.’ ”

News & Obsever, 2005

To see convention center construction at various stages of progress, check out the façade in Janurary, the entire convention center (from a viewpoint now blocked by construction), and at a distance from the Boylan Avenue bridge (second photo).

Note: These images were taken the day before completion. Head over to New Raleigh to see images of it now that it is complete as well as a time lapse video of construction.


Discuss Raleigh

  • Recent Comments:

    • Kendra Mueller: Just what a piece now that is timely! Thank you a lot for this a good post. I saw that your...
    • Macias Natasha: The material of yours is really worth the time I’ve spent it. The last time I’ve seen...
    • Jill Pegram: My husband and I went on our first date there in November of 1971. We celebrated our 45th wedding...
    • Retaining walls: Great to see this project get started. Does anyone have an estimated date on when it will be...
    • Kathy (Medusa): Wow … who’d a thought after all these years. Craziest formative years in the late...
    • Surge: It’s good to know live mixing is still alive and well at wknc. Good to see folks are still at it since I...
    • Big Don Ho: I was born at Rex Hospital (the old one on St Mary’s Street) in 1950. The radio towers on top of...
    • ornaments: Merry Christmas!! thank you for all of the ideas that you have mentioned in that post! Happy New Year!!!!


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