Completion Date



Raleigh, NC


NC Department of Environmental Quality


79,400 sf

Associate Architect

Fentress Architects


1, 2, 3, 4, 7 Nick Merrick Copyright Hedrich Blessing Photography


5, 8, 9, 11 Copyright Gerlich Photography


6, 10 Copyright Jason Knowles Fentress Architects

N.C. Department of Environmental Quality
Nature Research Center

Green Square is the State of North Carolina’s premier sustainable project.

The NC Department of Environmental Quality (NCDEQ) identified the redevelopment of a two-block area in the heart of Downtown Raleigh (Jones Street – the state government corridor) as Green Square.  The redevelopment has multiple components with one being the Nature Research Center (NRC.)  The NRC is an addition to the existing NC Museum of Natural Sciences.  As the state’s watchdog agency for environmental quality, NCDEQ desired facilities which manifest this environmental stewardship mission and put research on display to the public to help inspire Citizen Scientists.

The NRC houses four research programs: earth sciences, astronomy, genomics, and paleontology.  Visitors may watch researchers at work via floor to ceiling glass windows in each lab.  The State Employees’ Credit Union Daily Planet is an exterior, four-story globe (400,000 lbs) that looks like Earth on the outside with a multimedia theater inside.

The O’Brien Atkins’ design team developed innovative strategies to showcase the buildings’ sustainable systems, materials and fixtures as integrated exhibits.  The Headquarters is LEED® Platinum certified – one of the very first State of North Carolina projects to achieve this distinction.