Duke University-West Campus Union
Durham, N.C.    
Award of Merit

Owner: Duke University Facilities Management
Lead Design Firm: Grimshaw Architects
General Contractor: Skanska USA
Civil Engineer: Stewart Consulting Engineers
Structural Engineer: Buro Happold Consulting Engineers
MEP Engineer: Vanderweil Engineers

Renovations to Duke University’s West Campus Student Union, originally built in 1928, delivered a building that blends the school’s traditional Gothic look with a contemporary design.

Skanska restored the existing structure’s legacy spaces to their original architectural significance while demolishing the building’s core and replacing it with a new open atrium space. This space supports the facility’s organic food-centered dining program.

Renovations created a central core of nine dining venues, while multipurpose spaces at every level accommodate gatherings for dining and student activities.

The university’s aggressive schedule proved the project’s biggest challenge. Multiple design phase revisions resulted in a net setback of 14 months for the design deliverables.

Despite this, the construction schedule was only shifted by eight months, challenging Grimshaw and Skanska to absorb the additional six months. As a result, the team shifted to a fast-track delivery process, breaking out 10 design packages that were issued between fall 2013—when demolition began—and late 2014, at final issuance of construction documents.

Skanska procured multiple scopes to expedite the schedule, including design-assist packages for components such as the glass facade.

Midway through construction, Duke requested that Skanska complete the pub venue ahead of March Madness. The team resequenced work to support this milestone and successfully opened the pub six months early.

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