For the Adaptive Re-use of the Old Apex Town Hall (Halle Cultural Arts Center of Apex) at 237 North Salem Street, Apex
This adaptive re-use project transformed a much-loved, but underutilized, Apex Historic Landmark into a community gathering place which now houses gallery, performance, and meeting spaces for residents and visitors. Located at the juncture of two main arteries at the edge of downtown, the modestly-scaled building welcomes visitors into the town and complements the thriving mix of restaurants, boutiques, and offices already in the area.
Since construction in 1912 as a farmer’s market/jail/mayor’s office/auditorium, the Old Town Hall has anchored the well-preserved main street in the small south section of downtown. The ground floor had been progressively altered over the years for a number of different uses, culminating in an unremarkable 1970s office upfit. The upper floor auditorium hosted numerous sock hops, weekend matinees, and community meetings until it was abandoned in the 1970s, largely unchanged from its original appearance.
The community’s desire to preserve its collective memory of the building while providing the numerous ancillary spaces required to support a full-service multi-purpose gathering and performance space led to the design of two modest additions and a series of smaller interventions within the existing structure. At the main street a diminutive nine-foot-wide addition, inserted into a narrow slot of open space between the Hall and the adjacent building, contains all of the vertical circulation and storage for the facility, providing ample egress for the auditorium without compromising its already modest footprint. By day, the simple glass facade recedes from the street; after dark, it frames views of the activity inside for passersby on the street. At the rear of the building, a second addition houses support spaces for the building. Viewed from the main street, this addition defers to the original structure.
The Halle Cultural Arts Center makes possible an efficient, contemporary use of an older building while preserving those portions and features which are significant to its historic, architectural, and cultural values for present and future generations to use and enjoy.
The Board of Directors of Capital Area Preservation is pleased to present a 2008 Anthemion Award to the Town of Apex; Clearscapes, PA; Progressive Contracting, Inc.; Lysaght & Associates; and Sigma Engineered Solutions for the Adaptive Re-use of the Halle Cultural Arts Center, Apex.