BUILDING HISTORY: Bauhaus Building

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Submitted: Thu, 09/12/2013 - 2:32am
Updated: Thu, 09/12/2013 - 5:05pm

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) – It is the only building of this style in Wilmington. Now it is simply known as the 320 Building.

”The Bauhaus style building was constructed for the Tide Water Power Company of Wilmington,” Joe Sheppard of the New Hanover County Library Special Collections explained. “The company was a trolley system here that ran trains all over and a lot of people used it to go out to the beach. In 1949 construction for this structure began. It was completed in 1951 and the Tidewater Company moved in, in that year.”

It was quite a building when it was built at Fourth and Chestnut Streets, and part of a proud style.

”The structure is a German style imported, it began in the 1920’s by Walter Gropius. Walter was influential with the German government in the 1930’s under Adolph Hitler.” Sheppard said. “The structure fits the symmetrical style of architecture. The building is very even with smooth sides and then you have features placed on.”

One of these features is the open awnings above the windows, the louvers block the sun, eliminating the need for curtains. But the Trolley business would not last forever.

”After the Tidewater company moved out the building became a county building. It was used  for government center offices as well as County Commissioner offices.” Sheppard told us.

Instead of tearing the building down County Commissioners voted last year  to renovate the building at a cost of $9.8 million. It will take about another year before the building will be ready.

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