Duke Alumni Center Designs Unveiled

Published on June 28th, 2017

Duke University has revealed renderings for the new Karsh Alumni and Visitors Center designed by Centerbrook Architects & Planners.

Construction will commence this summer for the Karsh Alumni and Visitors Center, which includes event and office space for the Duke Alumni Association as well as a visitor center, totaling nearly 47,000 square feet of new construction and renovations.

“We are honored to help Duke University create a new gateway to its fabled campus,” said Mark Simon, FAIA, Centerbrook principal and project architect.

Highlighting the development is an arresting new 20,200-square-foot events building with a grand dining and presentation hall, exhibits and lounges, a café, and visitor support services. Designed to be the first campus stop for returning alumni, prospective students and visitors, the building also includes a smaller meeting pavilion wing.

“The new events building is a modern adaptation of the campus’ architectural style,” Simon said. “The striking contemporary glass complements solid walls that hint at Gothic traditions with vertical fenestration, cast stone panels, and a base of locally quarried 'Duke stone,' a prominent campus characteristic. We are also recalling the original campus’s courtyard forms by gathering three buildings with arcades around a grassy celebration quad.”

The second new building in this project is a 16,900-square-foot, two-story alumni office designed for staff who support Duke’s alumni and development activities.

The renovation of the 7,400-square-foot Forlines House is the third aspect of this project. Part of the original design of Duke’s West Campus, Forlines is a two-story building clad in Duke stone. Originally constructed as a private residence for a university leader, the building most recently housed Duke’s Office of News and Communications. As part of the project, the house will be renamed Forlines House to honor the alumni association’s previous home. The renovation removes modifications implemented through the years and restores the original rooms and details on the first floor, and enhances the second floor for continued use as executive offices.

“We think this center will pretty quickly become one of the most visited places on campus,” said Sterly Wilder, Duke associate vice president of alumni affairs. “Together these buildings are going to create unparalleled opportunities for us to welcome alumni and engage them in the ongoing life of Duke.”

Duke is one of 10 higher education clients nationwide with current projects by Centerbrook.