Architect Milton Small came to Raleigh, NC in 1948 under the persuasion of Henry Kamphoefner, the influential Chair of the College of Design at NC State University at that time. Small was born in Oklahoma where he received his engineering and architecture degrees. He also studied at the Illinois Institute of Technology under Mies van der Rohe, who clearly made an impression on his future work.
Small, who embraced the International Style, designed many notable buildings. The Northwestern Mutual Insurance building in Raleigh was for commissioned by an insurance company in the 1960’s. The design features floor to ceiling glass with the steel structure expressed on the exterior creating a surrounding terrace. The building was so widely recognized for design excellence and made the cover of the New York Times in 1965. The Insurance company was so pleased they asked Small to build another version in Chicago.
Sadly this post does not have a happy ending. As of last month, this building was purchased by the Bank of North Carolina who have plans to destroy the building within weeks to replace it with the unremarkable red brick building shown below.