FNB Tower – Raleigh Architectural Photography

Back in downtown Raleigh, North Carolina, this time to capture new addition to the city’s growing skyline, the FNB Tower for JDavis Architects. Once again I teamed up with Myles Gelbach of Myles Per Hour Photography who performed the drone work.  Let’s start with a look at the glass FNB Tower (center in the photograph) in relation to downtown’s massing, with Charter Square immediately adjacent.

FNB Tower sits on Fayetteville Street, Raleigh’s main axis with the performing arts center on one end (pictured below) and towards North Carolina’s state capitol on the other side.

FNB Tower is mixed-use with commercial tenants and residential units.  Instead of completely relying on drone work, whenever possible carried my tripod to access adjacent buildings to shoot your standard architectural photography.  This view from a nearby hotel shows the front facade and anterior massing partially split into two, the programming of this recess or cut contained by residential rooftop amenities.

These rooftop amenities wrap around the floor plate, transitioning from inside to out, while the narrower mass above this deck continues up and is crowned by the building’s top cap.

I knew presenting the split between these two masses would be a big deal, further illustrated by the sky’s reflection in FNB Tower’s windows.  After much coordination with the downtown Marriott, timing and weather lined up in order to shoot from across the street like a sniper.


It wound up working the way I envisioned in order to present this high-rises’ design, both up close, and in capturing the entire Fayetteville Street facade.

Inside the lobby features a similar palette to the adjacent Charter Square, with white ceilings, wood paneling with metal reveals, and terrazzo floors.

Back outside, between FNB Tower and One City Plaza is an open courtyard where people can pause, eat, or simply congregate.

One of the challenges with capturing skyscrapers on the ground is presenting in such a manner to understand the scale, frame its context and surrounding, and highlighting its design without completely distorting the architecture.  It took a little bit of study, but I was able to narrow down when I wanted to show the entire building, when to compromise…


…and then when I thought a little distortion actually lent credence to understanding the architecture, such as the posterior view on Wilmington Street, with traffic dramatically zooming past the entry to JDavis’s design office.

That’s it for FNB, let’s end with Myles’ wonderful shot of sunset colors reflection of the tower.  It was an excellent building to perform a photographic case study of, both in presenting the design and context of an ever-growing downtown Raleigh

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