The Rainbow Building on North West Street in Raleigh is a stunning example of respecting a building’s history and beauty, while also preparing the structure for new use. The 1940s warehouse building was the original home to Rainbow Upholstery and Furniture Company. The brainchild of founder Delores Powell Glenn, Rainbow Upholstery offered training and support to women who were transitioning back into society after incarceration. Though the mission inside the building was one of hope, the building itself was an anchor in a forgotten area of Raleigh that over the years was lined with neglected buildings bordering the train tracks. The revitalization of this building has led a renaissance in this corridor of the city that now connects to the profound transformation of the North West and Peace Streets intersection. Careful consideration was given during the project to retain original building details when at all possible. For example, huge swaths of the original flooring were restored and kept, complete with an iron singe mark left by a worker who dropped their tool years ago. Windows were lengthened to welcome in light and the 22,000 square foot space was modified to accommodate a handful of tenants. Now it is an integral mixed-use space in that part of town, donning its refurbished rainbow mural to draw passerby attention. This building was part of the West Street redevelopment project that was given a Downtown Raleigh Alliance Imprint Award, deemed a project that has had a profound effect on the shape of the city.

Maurer Architecture
22,000 Square Feet
2020 Downtown Raleigh Alliance Imprint Award
Photo Credit
Katie Bailey