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Downtown Charlotte with frontage on the belt freeway

Index to Projects in Charlotte, NC

Charlotte, North Carolina

Gross Area
702,000 s/f

City of Charlotte

Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority

Charlotte Convention Center

Lauth Property Group


Sustainable Design
LEED Silver certified
(NASCAR Tower)

Time Frame
Planning: 3/06

Construction: 1/07

NASCAR Tower completed 5/09

Hall of Fame
Opening: 5/11/10

NASCAR Hall of Fame

Charlotte, North Carolina
Hall of Fame completed 2010
NASCAR Tower completed 2009


Lead Designer: Yvonne Szeto




Hall of fame and museum


Click on image to enlarge

In approaching the challenge of designing a Hall of Fame for NASCAR, we sought to capture the essential spirit of NASCAR and its sport in architectural form. In exploring the possibilities for expressing speed and spectacle, we were drawn to the arena of action, the racecourse, where fans and race teams come together each raceweek for the spectacle of raceday. Curving, sloped forms are evocative not only of the dynamic and changing sinuous shape of the racetrack but also of the perception of speed, which is at the heart of the NASCAR spectacle.

An important part of our design strategy was to locate NASCAR Hall of Fame Plaza, a sweeping forecourt that welcomes visitors to the Hall of Fame, on the northern edge of the site, poised toward the pedestrian traffic and energy of uptown Charlotte.

The Hall of Fame consists of four basic elements. First, a large glazed oval shape forming a Great Hall serves as the symbolic core of the Hall of Fame and a primary orientation point for the visitor. Second, a rectangular volume houses visitor services, including entry and exhibit space on the upper floors. Third, an expressed Hall of Honor is situated as an iconic element within the Great Hall. Finally, a broadcast studio, serving as an origination point for a variety of radio and television broadcasts by NASCAR's media partners, enlivens the Plaza.

The results of our explorations of speed and spectacle evolved into an architectural element we call the Ribbon, which envelops the varied program elements in a form that speaks to the imagery and spirit of NASCAR. Beginning as a curved, sloping exterior wall enclosing the building, the Ribbon twists in a free span over the main entry to form a welcoming canopy. Inspired by the dynamic quality of speed, captured in a second as a blur on film, the long, thin incisions in this metal skin are analogous to the blur of a car racing past the spectator at tremendous speed. On the interior within the Great Hall, a signature element of a curved banked ramp leads the visitor from the main floor to the exhibit levels above. The ramp contains a display of race cars frozen in a moment from a race, capturing in another way the speed and spectacle that is the essence of the sport.

NASCAR Tower is a 20-story office tower anchoring the southeast corner of the full-city-block development that is the Hall of Fame Complex. Located at the intersection of the Caldwell Street freeway interchange, the tower is designed as a gateway to the city and to blend with iconic design of the Hall of Fame. The tower form follows the lead of the Hall of Fame, consisting of a curvilinear metal and glass curtainwall contrasted with a rectangular precast concrete armature. 


Major Components

175,000 s/f Hall of Fame and Museum; 100,000 s/f ballroom; 427,000 s/f NASCAR Tower; 1,000-space parking garage




The Chicago Athenaeum Museum of Architecture and Design / The European Centre for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies: American Architecture Award



McGraw Hill: Best of 2010 Awards:
Award of Excellence for Architectural Design



Ceilings & Interior Systems Construction Association:
Construction Excellence Silver Award



Walls & Ceilings:
Excellence in Design (for NASCAR Tower)



Winning competition entry


Pei Cobb Freed & Partners services

Full architectural services


Associate Architect for Hall of Fame/ballroom/parking

Little Diversified Architectural Consulting, Charlotte, North Carolina


Associate Architect for office tower

LS3P Associates Ltd., Charlotte, North Carolina


Site Observations Architect

Tobin Dudley Starr, Charlotte, North Carolina



Leslie E. Robertson Associates, R.L.L.P., New York


Mechanical / Electrical / Plumbing

Jaros Baum & Bolles, New York


Exhibit Design

Ralph Appelbaum Associates, Inc., New York



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