Charlottetown Terrace, Project of the Year: Apartment Renovation
Tim Buchman, Architectural & Fine Art Photography Charlottetown Terrace, Project of the Year: Apartment Renovation

The city of Charlotte, N.C., set a goal several years ago to revitalize its midtown. While the rest of the town went to work to make this happen, the aging Charlottetown Terrace, an 11-story high-rise built in 1977 as a public housing project, sat as an eyesore in the center of town. But instead of selling off the five-acre parcel to a market-rate developer, the Charlotte Housing Authority (CHA) decided to maintain ownership and ensure that the revitalized midtown area had mixed-income housing to offer.

A $1 million grant from the city of Charlotte’s Housing Trust Fund in 2009 made the renovations the Terrace desperately needed possible. It also received a $6.2 million HUD grant. And to supplement those funds, the CHA put $5.66 million of its own money into the project.

Since the funds came in, the Terrace has been transformed by a total gut-rehab. One hundred eighty–plus units have been reduced to 161 units, all reserved for very low-income, handicapped adults. All units have been modernized, and there have been full-system upgrades (mechanical, plumbing, electrical, fire, and full elevator modernization), complete interior upgrades, and fixes to windows and other exterior elements.

Most importantly, the design team introduced a new, high-efficiency HVAC system into an existing concrete structure by creating vertical architectural elements on the façade. These “mechanical columns” both disguise the refrigerant lines and help update the exterior of the building. Energy consumption for the building has been reduced by 33 percent since the new system was installed. —