Government/Institutional – Honorable Mention

Duke University East Campus Union

Durham, NC

Clark Nexsen

Chris Brasier, Shann Rushing, Jennifer Attride, Julie Leary, Cathleen Campbell


Duke University’s East Campus Union is a historic facility at the heart of Duke’s East Campus, and integral to the first year resident experience. Duke’s directive was to transform East Campus Union into a premier dining and social center for 21st century freshmen. To become the East Campus social hub once again, the union had to be re-imagined as a multifunctional facility with activity throughout the day, rather than only during the meal rush.
Formerly congested service lines were alleviated by expanding the servery into the North Dining Hall. Creation of a new mezzanine provided additional seating capacity, which was necessary due to a more efficient food service layout and increased thruput.
Selective wall demolition uncovered historic windows and reopened skylights helped to maximize natural daylight and brighten renovated spaces. Study and meeting spaces provide today’s students with a variety of choices to accommodate their academic pursuits. Trinity Café is the essential “go-to” location for music or open mic night. These spaces are instrumental in maintaining energy and life into the evening.
Modern interventions revitalize the union, but remain sensitive to the historic fabric of the building. A living wall embodies healthy dining options and general wellbeing and is the focal point for the servery.
The union elevates function beyond a traditional dining hall by creating welcoming, engaging spaces for students to gather, study, and collaborate – as well as dine. East Campus Union now personifies Duke University’s innovative, cutting-edge, collegiate dining program and exceptional social experience.

Judges Comments:

“Ceiling is the hero in this design; integrated with mezzanine stair & lighting.”

(Leslie Vollbrecht)