Page B1.1 . 15 May 2002                     
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    Garage Turns to Science

    by William Lebovich

    For 68 years, the industrially functional, but aesthetically minimal one-story brick Clark & Sorrell Garage in downtown Durham, North Carolina served the automotive repair needs of drivers of Fords and other American cars. Before it closed in 2000, the garage was the city's oldest automotive repair shop.

    Just as Durham has changed over those decades, becoming known as the "City of Medicine," so has this building at 323 Foster Street, now on the National Register of Historic Places.

    In 2002 the former garage reopened as the Triangle Biotechnology Center, a research and development facility for small medical and scientific start-up companies. Not only has the function become "high-tech," so has the interior aesthetic. With traces of the garage's interior still visible, the center is clean, bright, and flexible enough to house all manner of scientific endeavors.

    Less has changed on the outside. With the stepped parapet of the front facade being the only architectural detailing, the former garage was most notable for its central bay roll-up door, once suitable for driving cars in and out. This door was flanked by large banks of metal casement windows on the left illuminating the former repair bays and on the right lighting the former shop manager's office.   >>>

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    ArchWeek Image

    The historic Clark & Sorrell Garage in downtown Durham, North Carolina was recently cleaned up and given a new life.
    Photo: Michael Traister

    ArchWeek Image

    In stark contrast to the original industrial facility, clean white lab spaces support small but growing biotechnology companies.
    Photo: Michael Traister

     

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