The Duke University Board of Trustees has approved the selection of Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects as master designer for redeveloping the school’s Central Campus.
As master designer, Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects (PCPA) will develop an overall vision for the campus and its architecture that embodies an integrated academic community. The role of master designer includes placing buildings, protecting open space, developing design guidelines including those related to sustainability, and choosing key materials. The master designer will design some of the buildings and assist in identifying and choosing other architects to collaborate on the design of others.
PCPA was founded by Cesar Pelli. Among the firm’s iconic works are the Petronas Towers in Malaysia, the Pacific Design Center in Los Angeles, Reagan National Airport in Washington, D.C., and the World Financial Center and Winter Garden and the Museum of Modern Art expansion, in New York City. PCPA also has designed a series of highly regarded arts and performance spaces. The firm’s campus work includes projects at Rice, Yale, the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton and the universities of California, Illinois, Texas and Washington.
PCPA is a recipient of the national American Institute of Architects (AIA) “firm of the year” award in 1989 and Cesar Pelli received the AIA gold medal in 1995. The firm has done design work previously for Duke, creating the sports “quad” that includes the Wilson, Schwartz-Butters and Sheffield buildings plus the area known as “Krzyzewskiville.”
President Richard H. Brodhead praised the firm’s “thorough understanding of how college campuses work, their imaginative embrace of the Central Campus project and their extensive work on a variety of scales that are highly responsive to their locations.”
PCPA was selected through a process overseen by the Board of Trustees’ Buildings and Grounds Committee. Eleven firms were initially considered by the administration and the trustees, and four of the firms were interviewed on campus in May. The interview team included trustees, senior leaders, faculty, students and staff.
“We are delighted with the news and are looking forward to working with the Duke and Durham communities to plan a livable, harmonious and sustainable Central Campus,” said Cesar Pelli. “Duke is a great university that already has two wonderful campuses. To design a third will be a challenge and makes the assignment more exciting.”
Central Campus consists of about 200 acres between Duke’s East and West campuses. Its redevelopment is expected to occur in phases over a 20- to 50-year period.
Central Campus development is intended to complement East and West campuses and to better connect them both physically and programmatically.
“We hope it will create an intellectually and socially dynamic residential environment for upperclass undergraduates, graduate students and some faculty,” Brodhead said.
“Simultaneously, we want the new campus to address academic needs in arts, humanities and international programs, and to encourage collaborative learning and foster interdisciplinary research. We hope to create a distinctive campus whose quality of architecture should withstand the test of time and be equivalent to the aesthetic caliber of East and West campuses,” he said.
Redeveloping Central Campus was initially viewed as a way primarily to replace existing housing, but university programming committees in early 2005 outlined a broader vision for Phase I. Since then, a significant academic component has been added and an “academic village” has emerged -– “one that provides compelling programming while also serving as a living laboratory for sustainability,” said Executive Vice President Tallman Trask III.
Duke is committed to building only on previously disturbed land, and will give careful attention to protecting and expanding natural areas. “We are planning Central Campus with a high degree of environmental sensitivity,” Trask said.
Since 2003, Duke has required that all campus construction meets or exceeds the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System’s certification requirements. LEED Silver certification is the target for Central Campus construction. Strategies to accomplish this include green roofs, building systems designed to conserve water and energy and schemes to use and store rainwater.
In September 2006, the trustees approved the Phase I development concept plan. Elkus/Manfredi Architects assisted in the development of that plan. In January 2007, the Durham City Council unanimously approved Duke’s request to rezone the Central Campus area with a University-College designation. One month later, the trustees gave the go-ahead to search for a master architect.
“A lot of good thinking has gone into the planning of Central Campus, and it is critically important that we get the first move right. Engaging Cesar Pelli and his firm will help us to do so,” Brodhead said.
Duke officials expect the design stage to take at least six months. Infrastructure work could begin in late 2008, with Central Campus buildings beginning to open by 2010-2011.