The Duke Energy Center is a 786 ft tall, 48-floor (54 floors including mechanical floors) skyscraper in Charlotte, North Carolina. When completed in 2010, it was the largest building in Charlotte (in square footage), second tallest building in Charlotte, 63rd tallest building in the United States, and the tallest in the world to use precast double tees. The building is named for its anchor tenant, Duke Energy, and both the tower and the adjacent cultural arts campus are owned by Wells Fargo.
Originally, the building was to be known as the Wachovia Corporate Center. Wachovia was to occupy 450000 sqft of the 1500000 soft tower but this did not happen and, instead, the building was occupied and named by Duke Energy.
The project was announced in spring of 2004, and official renderings were not released until December 6, 2006. In the original petition to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Planning Commission, the building was going to be built on a 1.29 acre parcel next to 400 South Tryon, with a height of 510 ft and 34 floors. The site preparation began with the demolition of a Firestone Tire dealership in February 2006, and on February 28, 2006, the excavation and blasting of a 100 ft-deep hole for the below-grade parking garage began. Over 600,000 pounds of explosives were used during its excavation and it took just over 60,000 dump truck loads to remove all of the excavated material from the site, some of which was used in the construction of a third runway at Charlotte-Douglas International Airport.
The building was constructed by Batson-Cook Construction. The building core is constructed with poured-in-place concrete while the floor structures utilize precast double tees, a structural method typically seen in parking decks. These double tees span between the poured-in-place core and perimeter systems. The concrete used for the building is 18,000 pounds per square inch.
It is the tallest building in the Levine Center for the Arts (formerly the Wells Fargo Cultural Campus) and the largest building in Charlotte with a 250,000 sqft footprint. The complex includes a 46-floor condominium tower, the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture, the Mint Museum Uptown, the Knight Theater, the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, and a History Museum. The building has achieved LEED Platinum status by including water-saving plumbing devices, a water storage system that will treat rainwater to be used for cooling tower make-up water, and a green roof. Rock that was blasted for the parking structure is being recycled by hauling it to a local quarry, where it will be crushed for gravel.
The facade of the structure is illuminated by hundreds of programmable color changing LED and metal halide luminaires with design work by Gabler-Youngston Architectural Lighting Design. The facade lighting system provides various shows and effects. Highly visible over the east corner of Bank of America Stadium, the lighting show is used during key moments of sporting events played. For example, if the Carolina Panthers are playing it may light up blue. For the 2011 ACC Championship game, the building displayed orange and purple lighting for Clemson University and orange and maroon for Virginia Tech.
Originally, Wake Forest University had planned to locate the Charlotte campus of its Babcock Graduate School of Management in the tower, occupying approximately 25,000 sqft. However, Wake Forest pulled out of the project after the purchase of Wachovia by Wells Fargo.
Cover photo by Duke Energy licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0