The true HOT BED of North Carolina politics — The State Legislative Building. Recently, we were in the vicinity for the first Redistricting Committee Meeting, which was held in an adjacent office building. We got the chance to peek into the Legislative Building when nobody was in session … the place was completely deserted. What an pleasure to explore in silence.
The State Legislative Building opened in 1963 and certainly has the feel of that era. Some things are dated perhaps, but some elements are simple and timeless. Probably the most “retro” looking appointments are the iconic circular brass chandeliers that are part wagon wheel and part food service warming lamp.
In a news article, Mike Hill, a research historian with the state Department of Natural and Cultural Resources said, “This building had many critics who derided it as a pagoda or more befitting the Hawaii legislature than North Carolina’s” — in reference to the pyramid-shaped roofs and indoor fountain complete with palm-leaf plants.
Images: 1) the terrazzo mosaic of the North Carolina State Seal, which is outside in front of the main entrance, 2) the rotunda ceiling sky lights, and 3) the rotunda fountain and brass chandelier.
The architect of The North Carolina Legislative Building was Edward Durell Stone, who also designed the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. Comparing the two buildings you can see obvious similarities in form. Although The Kennedy Center is certainly more famous, North Carolina has copper pyramids, roof gardens, and brass doors that weigh 1700 lbs each!
Plus, MORE dramas have been played out in The North Carolina Legislative Building than all of the Kennedy Center operas COMBINED.