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Behind the Design: Holly Springs Town Center Project

The construction of the Holly Springs Town Center is the culmination of years of work and thoughtful planning. One of the most critical elements of that process was the project's design. The City had a strong vision for a Town Center that would not only become an exciting new destination for residents and visitors, but would also remain true to the character of Holly Springs. The following is an interview with Roger Caldwell, principal of Caldwell-Cline Architects and Designers, who was tapped as the lead architect for the project.

Q. From an architectural perspective, what was the inspiration behind this project?
A. The biggest thing that I wanted to do was create a place that is classic in a historically accurate sense, not just trendy but timeless. Many town centers and mixed-use settings have gone up over the years. The design may be what's on-trend at that moment in time, but what will it feel like in 50 years? I wanted the Holly Springs Town Center to feel like these buildings have been here forever. And in 50 years, they'll still feel that way. The real intent of the design is to be timeless.

Q. How did that come to life in the design?
A. It's classically good design that's not watered down in terms of the styling, proportions, and details that stands the test of time. You will see a lot of those design principles at work in the structures across the site. In the layout of the site itself, there's symmetry and balance. The sight lines are important and well thought out. For example, the amphitheater is on axis with City Hall. You have this long, central park space that is symmetrically flanked by the buildings on either side. People may not specifically notice those things when they are there, but it makes the place feel good, and that's what people will notice.

Q. What about the buildings themselves?
A. You have City Hall as this central icon to the site with everything built around it. It should feel as though it has been there for a long time and has grown and evolved. The buildings around City Hall should appear as if they were added on naturally over the years. We've chosen traditional materials and color palettes, with variation throughout the different structures on the site, to create that sense of a place that has grown over time.

Q. To work for the way we live now, how do you make classic design modern?
A. We are creating a classic feel with modern function. So, there are a lot of details that help to make the site work well for today while still maintaining that feel. That can be something small such as how we've incorporated areas for rideshare drop-offs. It also impacts some of the major elements of the site. For example, the parking deck will serve the site and is designed to expand over time if needed. It's convenient from an access standpoint but aesthetically hidden away. The land plan is pedestrian friendly in that it de-emphasizes the vehicle by taking it out of the experience. You can park then spend the day out of your car.

Q. What experience do you hope visitors will have?

A. I hope it's a place that feels like it's always been here and where you can spend a whole day. Start with breakfast, hang out on the green, catch a show at the amphitheater, and have dinner. It's a whole destination unto itself, and one where you can feel at home. 

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