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CNU31: Charlotte, NC. Brevard Court and Latta Arcade

A quick walk from the CNU events, and nestled within Uptown, are Brevard Court and Latta Arcade. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, these two connected urban spaces are some of Uptown Charlotte's most significant intact early 20th-century commercial landmarks still in place.

Originally constructed between 1851 and 1924 (with multiple facelifts during this period), the two-story art deco Latta Arcade features rows of retail shops, restaurants, and offices under a skylit roof (similar to Nickels Arcade in Ann Arbor). In the case of Latta, the skylit roof was originally designed to provide natural light for grading cotton. Cotton mills were a large part of Charlotte’s growth, and Brevard Court was an open-air trading post for cotton and textiles to be traded from the local mills.

Latta Arcade's pedestrian passageway leads to Brevard Court, an open-air, light-filled brick courtyard that extends to Church Street and terminates into Romare Bearden Park. The outdoor space, commonly referred to as the French Quarter (because of the restaurant of the same name that anchors it), includes a variety of shops and restaurants with outdoor seating.

With a width of approximately 20 feet and two-story buildings defining the "street" edges, these spaces are small and compact, making for great pedestrian spaces. This vertical-to-horizontal relationship (width of space to height of walls) provides a nearly perfect spatial enclosure and proportion. Additionally, the edges of the spaces are permeable - with clear glass storefronts and many doors. This permeability provides for a great shopping experience that beckons patrons to continue their journey and to linger within the space.

The addition of entourage items, like pedestrian-scaled projecting signs, movable tables and chairs, and awnings add to the human scale of the space.

On a weekday afternoon, both spaces were full of a diverse set of people - strolling, exploring, eating lunch, having coffee, or just enjoying one another's company. These are healthy urban shopping streets that provide diverse uses and compelling placemaking.

Latta Arcade with plenty of storefronts, movable seating, pedestrian-scaled projecting signs, and simple durable materials and construction.

Brevard Court facing the entrance to Latta Arcade. Simple durable materials, correct proportions, and pedestrian-scaled details set the stage for a lovable place.

Brevard Court facing Romare Bearden Park entrance.

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