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Duke University Sculpture Park

Duke University Sculpture Park Durham, North Carolina

Project timeline: 2015-
Client: Duke University
Scope: Vision Plan, Feasibility Plan, Full Services Phase 1A
Size: 140 acres
Phase 1A Budget: $2,500,000
Anticipated Total Budget: $30,000,000
With: West 8 urban design & landscape architecture, p.c.
Claire Agre, Principal & Senior Landscape Architect

DUKE UNIVERSITY’S 8,000-acre campus is renowned on many levels—its breathtaking neo-gothic architecture, the Olmsted brothers’ splendid landscape plan, and an edenic setting within the greater matrix of the Duke Forest. Campus life swings between East and West, with the Olmsted brothers’ Campus Drive as the meandering link between. The Duke Sculpture Plan addresses that link, envisioning a world-class Sculpture Park set amidst 140 acres of beautiful creeks, valleys, and forests that unite Duke’s two campuses.

At the heart of the Sculpture Park lies the Nasher Museum of Art, a world-class art museum on the Hilltop. The new design vision uses the building’s interior courtyard and five gallery layout to transform its glazed corners into gracious museum entrances. Phase 1A will create a new foyer for the Museum, connecting the Ruby and Campus Drive directly to the Nasher for the first time. New outdoor rooms are opportunities for Duke’s fledgling sculpture collection, and the new square sets up a contemporary design language for the Arts Campus and an opportunity to expand the Nasher’s programming and special events.

In the future, an undulating slope on the east side will replace parking, with whimsical pathways winding down the hill. This void carved out of the pine forest provides a new terrain for sculpture and a new vantage point on the museum. Outdated culverts below Campus Drive are replaced by timeless bridges and valleys are opened up to allow more functional stream ecology and the chance to traverse the landscape for the first time amidst sculpture and nature that is specifically of Duke University.

Culturalclaire agre