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G. Milton Small and Associates Office Building
The Small and Associates Office Building is one of the best examples of the work of architect G. Milton Small, one of North Carolina’s leading modernist architects. After leasing several office spaces throughout the 1950s and early 1960s, Small built a permanent office space for his firm. The building, which appears to float in the trees, became known to friends and community members as “Milton’s tree house.” Located approximately two and a half miles west of downtown Raleigh, the office sits on a boundary between a commercial district and North Carolina State University’s campus to the south and a residential neighborhood to the north.
Small studied under Mies van der Rohe at the Illinois Institute of Technology, and the building incorporates a number of Miesian elements, such as the clear definition of base, body, and cornice; inverted articulation of the corners; and a clear structural grid that can be read by the exposed steel columns. The facade follows the repetitive structure with sheets of glass and metal panels set in an aluminum curtain-wall frame. The roof, which cantilevers on all four sides, has tongue-and-groove fir boards on the soffit of the overhanging cornice. The one-story structure is raised on steel columns that are set into concrete bases. The elevated building hovers over the majority of the site, allowing for a gravel parking lot and a koi pond to fit underneath. To enter, one must use concrete stepping stones to cross the koi pond before arriving at a steel staircase that ascends into the building. The underside of the structure is clad in tongue-and-groove fir boards that match the soffit.
The interior is laid out in a rational manner. The drafting room is situated along the entire north facade and is lit by a band of windows. Exposed white steel trusses carry the roof above. The middle portion contains the associates’ offices as well as service areas; it has three square, plastic bubble skylights that provide natural light. The southeastern corner houses the principal’s office, which overlooks Brooks Avenue and the university campus beyond.
The building is now occupied by a branding firm. It is visible from the street.
Black, David R. “Economy and Flair Highlight Six Architects' Own Offices.” Architectural Record(December 1, 1969): 116.
Black, David R., “G. Milton Small and Associates Office Building,” Wake County, North Carolina. National Register of Historic Places Registration Form, 1994. National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, Washington, D.C.
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