Integrating into the Environment

Live Oak Bank

The building’s form and concept were inspired by live oak trees, which filter light through their leaves and branches as they provide shelter. The design roots the building into its environment so that, at [Founder James S. “Chip” Mahan III]’s request, it “sits lightly on the land.” The exterior materials are authentic to eastern North Carolina, including the cypress siding that will gradually turn from rich brown to silvery grey as the building weathers. To highlight the beauty of this material, the architects specified a clear sealant rather than a stain. The high-performance glass gently reflects the trees and coastal sky, and dark grey window frames almost seem to disappear to showcase spectacular views. Layered spaces such as shaded terraces, balconies, walkways, and decks further soften the boundaries between the interior and the landscape. Even the landscaping materials such as mulch pathways integrate with the natural site.

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