For the Commercial Rehabilitation of the Occidental Building, 1001 Wade Avenue, Raleigh
The Occidental Life Building was constructed in 1955 as the home office for the Occidental life Insurance Company. Designed by the architectural firm of Kemp, Bunch, and Jackson from Jacksonville, Florida, with Leif Valand as the associate architect in Raleigh, it is one of the first, and perhaps the finest, International style office building in Raleigh.
Due to its prominent location and grand stature, the building has become a landmark for many people around the Cameron Village and Raleigh area. After almost being demolished to make room for a new mixed-use development, the building was sold to Occidental Plaza LLC. One of the new owners had fallen in love with the building a few years earlier and had wanted to see the building preserved.
Occidental Plaza LLC hired Weeks Turner Architecture for the rehabilitation. Along with the owner, they were committed to preserving and recalling the original character of the building. The Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation guided the work and the project received Federal and State tax credits.
Many of the original building elements such as the limestone and Roman brick façade were cleaned and repaired. The original building entrance, which had been enclosed to create additional office several decades before, was reopened. This allowed the rectangular-stacked Roman brick columns on the front of the building to once again become a prominent feature as originally designed.
The main entrance lobby had been narrowed into a hall by the addition of offices along one of its walls. These offices were removed to expose the original travertine and mahogany wall finishes. These features, along with the terrazzo floors, were restored.
A tiled wall in the original employee cafeteria was made a prominent feature in the reception area for Coldwell Banker’s corporate offices, which now occupy that space.
New elements were required, such as updating the restrooms, replacing the existing ceilings and window sills. Great care was taken to choose materials and designs that would compliment the original design and style of the building.
The Board of Directors of Capital Area Preservation is pleased to present a 2007 Anthemion Award to Oberlin Capital Acquisitions, LLC, Weeks Turner Architecture and Clancy & Theys Construction Company for the Commercial Rehabilitation of the Occidental Building.