“From the beginning of Camp North End, we’ve been trying to … make it successful inside its boundaries, but also ensure it has a positive impact on the community. And the Black Lives Matter movement this summer challenged us to up our game, to think more deeply about how we could make choices that respond to injustice and inequity in our society.” – Damon Hemmerdinger of Camp North End
Camp North End looks like nowhere else in Charlotte.
In a city that’s sometimes (fairly) criticized for its homogeneity of design and neighborhoods, the sprawling, mural-saturated Camp North End stands out. And not just for its size.
Developer Damon Hemmerdinger, co-president of ATCO, and his team have been deliberate in creating something special – a creative, cultural and culinary destination on 76 acres. Camp North End aspires to be more than everyone’s favorite Instagram background – although it seems to have become that. Hemmerdinger wants it to have a sense of place and have a heart.
ATCO has achieved both those goals, in part, by engaging local artists to put their mark on the place. And they’re continuing that tradition with the call for entries, which states they’re looking for a design that “will surprise and delight a visitor.”
“From the beginning of Camp North End, we’ve been trying to do our best to make it successful inside its boundaries, but also ensure it has a positive impact on the community,” he said.
“And the Black Lives Matter movement this summer challenged us to up our game, to think more deeply about how we could make choices that respond to injustice and inequity in our society. So, this was one of the ideas that came out of that.”
Here’s where you come in
“This” refers to a juried competition for emerging and aspiring Black architects, including to design the exterior elements of a new retail Pavilion at 701 Keswick Avenue. The project will include between two and five pavilions, and each pavilion is around 1,000 to 2,000 square feet. Camp North End’s goal is to give provide an opportunity for the architect selected to have a break out/ breakthrough moment in their career.
Building lessees – restaurants and retailers – are unknown at this point. Designing for mystery tenants is a challenge, but architects are accustomed to tackling challenges.
The winner of the competition will design what Hemmerdinger refers to as “the skin” of the buildings – the façade, the windows (size, location, design), the awnings, the light fixtures. “The size and the shape of the building have been decided,” he said. “It’s what the building looks like that the contest winner will determine.”
According to call for entries on Camp North End’s Facebook page, 10 finalists will be awarded $1000 each and up to five winners will get $2,000 each and the opportunity to serve as a “design architect,” with their designs “featured and credited in official renderings for Phase 2 of development.”
John Clifford of S9ARCHITECTURE is Camp North End’s design architect. In that role, he developed the overall concept for the project and set the design direction for the large building renovation projects. The architect of record, BB&M Architecture, to creates the detailed construction drawings.
What’s Your Next Step?
Ready to design the next retail/restaurant phase of Camp North End? Ready to “surprise and delight”? The first step is to register for an information session, where Hemmerdinger will share guidelines, a timeline and answer questions.
“We’ll talk about the philosophy we have around adaptive reuse,” he said. “When you’re building something new, you shouldn’t try to make it look old. Having a contrast is OK. We’ll talk about the kinds of things a tenant would care about.”
Make Your Mark by Dec. 7
To register for the competition, sign up here by Dec. 1, 2020 at 5 p.m. to attend one of two Zoom information sessions – on Dec. 2 at noon and Dec. 3 at 6 p.m.
Then, confirm your interest by Dec. 7 at 5 p.m. Submit a short statement of interest and a portfolio of up to 10 design projects. Ten individuals will be selected, by a jury, to proceed to the design phase.
PHOTO CREDIT: Main image from Mike Anthony Photos.
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