NOVEL NoDa, a one-of-a-kind apartment community by Crescent Communities, is nestled in the heart of NoDa, Charlotte’s premier arts district, conveniently located at the Lynx Blue Line 36th Street Station. In an effort to stand out from competitors, Crescent Communities takes a vastly different approach in its development of apartment communities – and NOVEL NoDa is no exception. The design for the mixed-use property leans heavily on artists and eccentricities to create a space unlike any other.

The Challenge:

To create a unique space for residents, NOVEL NoDa wanted to incorporate a variety of architectural features throughout its development. Often, architectural structures use materials such as aluminum, stainless steel, glass, stone, and other natural materials that are commonly found in the exterior architectural design. The challenge, especially with a uniquely artistic vision like those in this project, was to utilize these elements in a way that maintains the integrity of the design but was still cost effective and functional in its execution.

The Solution:

LandDesign involved us early-on in the process so we could provide guidance on materials, costs, and installation for a variety of architectural features and structures for this distinctive project. Parking decks are often criticized for being too boring and beige, so NOVEL NoDa set out to change that with a 60-foot-tall, 280-foot-wide commissioned mural on the parking deck located next to the light rail station. Rite Lite Signs fabricated and installed 69 aluminum perforated infill panels for the muralist to paint on. In addition, we sprayed them with a special galvanized primer that would be receptive to the paint and help the mural withstand the test of time. Our early involvement with the architects also enabled us to minimize costs on the project by determining appropriate size and structural design for the panels.

The overhead cable trellis is another architectural feature that serves as a landmark piece of art to enhance the neighborhood’s artistic flare. Challenges for this feature related to materials, installation, and scheduling, as well as the need for electrical provisions for the future accent lighting. Rite Lite Signs’ vast experience in these areas proved effective in the creation of this we knew, based on experience, it would save time and money to complete the trellis footing installation prior to the finished grading. Since access to the site was tight, as it was sandwiched between two adjacent buildings, the placement of the footings, including the mounting heights became a challenge as well. We worked closely with the general contractor and other trades to collaborate on a solution to ensure the installation of the footings at the exact locations required.

Additionally, by collaborating closely with the architects on the precise size, location, and materials for the suspended panels at the top of the trellis, we were able to reduce the weight of the panels significantly, while still keeping the integrity of the overall design. This allowed the project to remain on schedule, while achieving perfect alignment on the trellis supports mounting. Our guidance on the materials, hardware, and fabrication process also proved integral in the development of the interior decorative ceiling features. It was a challenge to maintain the aesthetically-pleasing design while ensuring that the structure was as lightweight as possible since it is suspended from the ceiling. The aforementioned challenges were not an easy feat to overcome. The constant collaboration between all parties and Rite Lite Signs’ early-on involvement resulted in the most efficient and effective outcome, both for the client, as well as for the community.

At Rite Lite Signs, we often pride ourselves on our outside-the-box thinking as well as the craftsmanship and artistry that our fabrication specialists provide. The NOVEL NoDa project enabled us to flex our creative muscles and we are honored to have been involved on such a unique project from start to finish.