Moore Square, a four acre square, is one of five original squares established by William Christmas’ 1792 plan for the capitol of North Carolina, self-described as the “City of Oaks”. Deeply loved by the citizens of Raleigh and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Moore Square is a civic treasure that has fallen into disrepair and is in need of improvements to accommodate the new thriving urban life of downtown Raleigh.
This proposal for Moore Square builds upon its most unique and significant characteristics, but expands its spatial, experiential and programmatic range by introducing a landform which serves the site as a social and ecological generator energizing and organizing the site into visually and functionally distinct spaces that accommodate a wider range of uses than the square offers today. The square becomes multidimensional, offering prospect, large expanses of open lawn, and places for refuge and recreation. Visiting Moore Square becomes and exploratory journey of unfolding views and diverse opportunities. Sustainable practices such as collecting storm water within the native shrub and understory perimeter that is collected and recycled from swales, enrich the habitat in the interpreted natural area and ensure this design benefits the ecosystem and establishes a contemplative zone for reading and bird-watching.
In the new Moore Square, people will feel welcome, safe and excited to explore the various programmatically enhanced spaces. It becomes a civic theatre. The new park’s edges, lawn and subtle slopes animate the historic oak perimeter, protected by and invigorated with a successional planting strategy. Intensified activity throughout the square reveals an iconic destination emblematic of Raleigh’s vitality. Moore Square’s significance as an ethnographic cultural landscape was generated by civic use. Imagining its continued use in the 21st century, by expanding the possibilities for engaging social interaction, honors this historic
Elevated Ground | Raleigh USA | Christopher Counts Studio
Master Plan Design Team |
Christopher Counts Studio | Lead Designer and Prime Consultant
Elizabeth K. Meyer | Historical Landscape Consultant
Frank Harmon Architect | Pavilion Architect
The John R. McAdams Company | Civil Engineer
The Natural Learning Initiative (NCSU) | Children’s Play Consultant
Cynthia Rice Landscape Architecture and Planning | Consulting Landscape Architect
Integrated Water Strategies | Storm Water Consultant
The F.A. Bartlett Tree Expert Company | Arborist
Capital Building Consultants | Cost Estimator