Grimshaw Architects' expansion and renovation project for Duke University's West Campus Union - photo by James Ewing. Courtesy of Grimshaw.

Grimshaw Architects’ expansion and renovation project for Duke University’s West Campus Union – All photos by James Ewing. Courtesy of Grimshaw.

WAF 2017Grimshaw Architects has added a glass box in the heart of Duke University’s West Campus Union in Durham, North Carolina. The firm’s renovation and expansion project aims to bring new life into the historic complex which was originally master planned by Horace Trumbauer, the American architect’s behind New York’s Central Park.


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Grimshaw Architects' expansion and renovation project for Duke University's West Campus Union - photo by James Ewing. Courtesy of Grimshaw.

Duke University’s New West Campus Union aims to foster social interaction and inspire healthy lifestyles by delivering state-of-the-art culinary excellence. The building aims to bring the Duke community together in an exciting environment that unites the university’s storied history with an active, communal and contemporary experience,” said at Grimshaw to Archipanic.

Grimshaw Architects' expansion and renovation project for Duke University's West Campus Union - photo by James Ewing. Courtesy of Grimshaw.

Trumbauer’s nearly hundred-year-old structure featured original stone facades tracery, gargoyles, and other decorative elements which were preserved to “frame a transparent atrium providing a focal point for the building and surrounding academic precinct”. The project was shortlisted for the 2017 World Architecture Awards.


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Grimshaw Architects' expansion and renovation project for Duke University's West Campus Union - photo by James Ewing. Courtesy of Grimshaw.

Dynamic and overlapping volumes weave together a myriad of activities that enhance the student experience while linking the historic legacy of the West Campus Union to its newfound energy. Steel and glass balconies perched in the gothic wood trusses allow fresh vantage points, and a series of glass bridges enable shortcuts that link previously isolated spaces.

Grimshaw Architects' expansion and renovation project for Duke University's West Campus Union - photo by James Ewing. Courtesy of Grimshaw.

Transparency, connectivity and craftsmanship are central features of the building’s design which invites students in from all directions and activates sightlines across the university’s complex.

The social hub offers a variety of comfortable and dynamic spaces that encourage students, faculty and alumni to congregate and interact. These student-life spaces include environments for both formal and informal study, meetings and presentations, as well as larger spaces for rehearsals and performances.

Grimshaw Architects' expansion and renovation project for Duke University's West Campus Union - photo by James Ewing. Courtesy of Grimshaw.

The West Campus Union has become the nerve centre for co-curricular activities at Duke, hosting the University’s diverse collection of clubs and organisations. Conference rooms, small group meeting areas and multi-purpose spaces are spread throughout the building to provide versatile spaces for student connection outside of their residences and classrooms.

Grimshaw Architects' expansion and renovation project for Duke University's West Campus Union - photo by James Ewing. Courtesy of Grimshaw.

The new building showcases culinary food exploration and education, housing 12 dining venues showcasing international and local cuisines, in collaboration with local vendors and food concepts. the transformation of the West Campus. Influenced by the progressive millennial student body,this new core, offset from the surrounding historic dining halls, provides an unencumbered ‘market’ experience”.

Grimshaw Architects' expansion and renovation project for Duke University's West Campus Union - photo by James Ewing. Courtesy of Grimshaw.

All photos © James Ewing Photography – Courtesy of Grimshaw.