For Duke University's renovation of Baldwin Auditorium—a Georgian-style building originally built in 1927—LeChase Construction Services was charged with the task of transforming the eye-catching auditorium into an acoustically superior, world-class venue.
The contractor's responsibilities for the $12.6-million project included a 27,600-sq-ft interior renovation encompassing three levels: basement, main orchestra and balcony. Renovations included M/E/P systems replacement and installation of an integrated sprinkler system, the addition of new elevators and numerous exterior improvements. To remove the potential for noise and vibration from the building, construction crews built a subterranean vault adjacent to the auditorium to isolate the mechanical equipment. Additionally, crews thorough cleaned the facility's exterior, added ramps and walkways for ADA accessibility, reconstructed an access road and upgraded the landscaping surrounding the facility's entrance.
Inside, crews made numerous changes to the nearly 90-year-old auditorium. They installed triple-layered, shaped drywall and a thicker floor for absorbing, reflecting and diffusing sound and added a stage floor that is perforated so as to evenly distribute low-velocity air to performers. Contractors also added 200 swirl diffusers beneath auditorium seats to produce an upward flow of low-velocity air.
LeChase began modifying the dome ceiling eight months prior to commencing work in the seating area. For this effort, the contractor engineered a massive scaffolding system to work high above the sloped house floor. To support the balcony extension and orchestra shell construction, crews used a compact electric crane to place massive steel columns on footings over micro-piles.
In commenting on the project, the architect noted: "LeChase exceeded expectations ... with unparalleled scheduling and contractor coordination, along with a keen attention to the final design intent."
Best Renovation/Restoration - Baldwin Auditorium Renovation and Restoration, Durham, N.C.
Contractor LeChase Construction Services, Durham, N.C.
Owner Duke University, Durham, N.C.
Lead Design Firm Pfeiffer Partners Architects, New York
Structural Engineer Gardner & McDaniel Engineers, Durham, N.C.
MEP Engineer RMF Engineers, Raleigh