Centerbrook Design Wins Project of the Year

Centerbrook Architects designed a new entry complex for Duke University that creates a modern front door to the storied Gothic Revival campus. The project received a Project of the Year award from the Connecticut Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA).

The Karsh Alumni and Visitors Center, which opened in 2019, was conceived as a pedestrian village within woodlands, in keeping with the University’s sustainable mission. Of its design, the AIA jury said, "The architecture, the use of materials, and the description of the space are the things that you really gravitate towards. The fitting into the Duke campus is significant with the use of stone and Gothic references."

The Center connects to nearby admissions offices. Its three buildings, the largest of which is a 20,000-square-foot events pavilion, provide a striking backdrop for on-campus events. A cloistered central court unites the pavilions while expanding occupancy for large celebrations.

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“Our goal was to make a contemporary but distinctively Duke welcome for visitors, old and new. Since they include prospective families as well as alumni, it needs to reflect Duke’s memorable past as well as its promising future. We’re honored that the AIA recognized that challenging balance with this award.” Mark Simon, FAIA, Principal in Charge

The Center also earned plaudits from the Chicago Athenaeum Museum of Architecture and Design and an Outstanding Design award from American School & University Magazine (AS&U). In its special citation for exceptional merit, the AS&U jury made mention of the pavilion’s curved glulam trusses. “The rhythmic flow of the wooden arches that you see through the glass is absolutely breathtaking,” the jury wrote.

Centerbrook Architects & Planners was conceived in 1975 as a community of architects working together to advance place-making and the craft of building. A collaborative firm with an exceptional history of building, Centerbrook is known for inventive design solutions that are emblematic of its clients. Centerbrook’s designs have won more than 380 awards, including the Architecture Firm Award, a distinction held by only 40 active firms nationwide.