Originally the site of a Ford Factory that employed five hundred Charlotte residents and assembled 60,032 vehicles throughout its life, the future Camp North End recognizes its industrial history and sets the course to become a hub of technology, art, and innovation. Nelson Byrd Woltz is currently working on 9.5 acres of the 76 acre site that will form the core of Camp North End. With stints as a warehouse for the U.S. Army, manufacturing site during the Cold War, and storage for Eckered Pharmacy, Camp North End will welcome the public for the first time in over 100 years. The proposed design reimagines the spaces between the factory buildings as a mixed-use neighborhood center. Weaving the former industrial infrastructure with the new development, the design captures and preserves the urban industrial feeling of the space while creating inviting human-scale landscapes.
The centerpiece, ‘Ford Green’ reclaims a 3-acre disused loading dock for a new park. Plantings in this dynamic new landscape pay homage to the Eastern Pine Savanna. The Pine trees act as beacons to help visitors find their way around the site. Several streetscapes are being designed in light of woonerf design principles to promote pedestrian circulation and safety by managing vehicle speeds. A ribbon of Piedmont Prairie plantings will also thread along old rail lines and service lanes connecting smaller peripheral pocket parks to Ford Green. In contrast to these new green spaces, several urban plazas will function as hubs for day-to-day gathering and events. Connected through existing buildings, these plazas will encourage visitors to open doors and explore the internal vastness and skeletal structures of the buildings. The bones and history of the site are celebrated and referenced in the design. A series of ‘porches’ are tucked into former internal loading docks to encourage interaction with the historical buildings while providing sheltered moments of retreat.