The Murphey School building, built in 1916 and home to one of the first integrated schools in Raleigh, is located adjacent to the historic Oakwood District. The building has served as a 48-unit affordable housing complex for seniors since 1990 with the former auditorium dedicated to the Burning Coal Community Theater. The renovations were born out of HagerSmith Design’s desire to find a community design project for a donation of services with the potential to incorporate sustainable elements.The Downtown Housing Improvement Corporation (DHIC) offered two under-utilized outdoor spaces at Murphey School.
A series of design charrettes ensued. First, a focus group with residents was held, followed by a design charrette with design professionals, DHIC, a NC State graduate landscape architecture studio, and local municipal leaders. HagerSmith was hired to produce design development and construction documents for the two outdoor spaces, incorporating those ideas, as well as landscape renovations along the Person and Polk Street facades.
Design highlights include creating attractive and inviting outdoor spaces while utilizing a low-maintenance and diverse plant palette. The design also incorporated raised planters to serve as a community vegetable garden.