Monday, July 26, 2010

The American Tobacco Complex--an amazing space

The Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill area is steeped in history. That means plenty of candidates for renovation and restoration.  The American Tobacco Complex in Durham is, in my humble opinion, the BEST example of a successful project that anyone could ask for.  The old tobacco warehouses now hold an art school, WUNC (public radio)--pictured above (sorry, it's a phone shot), other businesses and lots of great restaurants.  The architecture outside is gorgeous, including water features that make the hottest days feel cooler.  The inside architecture is beyond-the-pale cool.  Industrial elements, glass walls, amazing windows.  It feels like you can see every inch of the infrastructure of the buildings and it's all like walking through an art gallery. 

My new favorite restaurant over there is Tobacco Road (although they're all good).  It sits right above the outfield of the Durham Bulls stadium.  The food is good, the design of the space is great and there must be about 30 TV sets on the walls--excellent when eating with kids.  But it's the view out the windows that's the real reason to go.  Just pure fun as it's the ballpark itself.  Probably really exciting when a game is going on, but I enjoyed just watching the grass getting watered.  You can tell I'm not a big sports fan.

The American Tobacco Complex is really the sort of place that everyone can enjoy and it doesn't have to cost a thing to visit. You can just walk around and in and out of the buildings.  If you go, you'll see.  It's an amazing space.


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