Central Planning

June 1, 2008
Future view: Development along Campus Drive corridor provides practical, environmental, and aesthetic advantages.

Future view: Development along Campus Drive corridor provides practical, environmental, and aesthetic advantages. Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects

When administrators first began thinking about redesigning Duke's Central Campus, they focused on the area near Erwin Road where the Central Campus apartments now stand. But after an extensive review of how the university can best meet student needs and serve the campus community in future decades, Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects (PCPA), the firm hired to create a master plan for the development, has presented a new concept.
According to the new plan, the majority of the Central Campus expansion will take place along Campus Drive, near two prominent landmarks, the Nasher Museum of Art and the Sarah P. Duke Gardens.

To come up with the plan, which administrators estimate will take fifty to seventy-five years to fully implement, PCPA analyzed existing terrain, transit routes, and other issues, and concluded that expansion along Campus Drive provides many practical, environmental, and aesthetic advantages.

The new plan retains many of the features of the earlier plan. The development will include residences for as many as 1,400 undergraduate students, graduate students, and visiting faculty members. Composed mainly of apartments, with some suites and dorms, it will "encourage intergenerational interaction," President Richard H. Brodhead says.

Academically, the plan identifies space for the arts, humanities, international programs, and other purposes. These include the John Hope Franklin Center for Interdisciplinary and International Studies; international services; the language, literature, and cultural anthropology departments; visual and performing arts programs and theater spaces; a library resource center that focuses on the visual arts; classrooms and study rooms; and one or more centers for alumni, career planning, and visitors.

"This new design will bring together programs that have been distributed across campus to provide opportunities for new synergies and interdisciplinary learning," says Provost Peter Lange.

The plan also calls for dining, social, and recreational amenities placed strategically along campus travel routes used by students. It takes advantage of existing bus routes and, given its location on the main thoroughfare between East and West, may create a friendlier environment for bicyclists and pedestrians.

"We want Duke to be a model of sustainability, and one way to do that is to make it easier for our students and others to walk or bike to where they are going," says Tallman Trask III, Duke's executive vice president.
"We are planning this expansion with a high degree of environmental sensitivity," Trask adds. In constructing the buildings, planners will aim for LEED certification. They will also make efforts to build on previously disturbed land and protect natural areas, he says.

Unlike earlier proposals, the plan does not require immediate demolition of existing Central Campus apartments that serve about 1,000 students. The apartments will be phased out as construction proceeds. Duke officials foresee medical and research-related offices and facilities being built in the space currently occupied by the apartments, down the road from Duke Hospital.