Located within Duke’s main science precinct, Grainger Hall stands as a model for high performance campus architecture, embodying the principles of sustainability and interconnectedness that drive the Nicholas School of the Environment, a premier institution for the study of environmental science and policy. It brings together the School’s formerly dispersed faculty and weaves together a campus fabric tattered by years of sprawling expansion.
Grainger Hall: Nicholas School of the Environment
Durham, NC / United States
TOTAL SQUARE FOOTAGE
Faculty & Departmental Offices, Classrooms, Computational Dry Labs, Reading Room & Environmental Art Gallery
LEED-NC 2.2 Platinum Certified
IN THE NEWS
George E. Marsh, Jr., FAIA
Robert Pasersky, AIA
Project Manager / Architect
Andrea Love, AIA, LEED Fellow
Daniel Estes, AIA, LEED AP
Mary Gallagher, IIDA, LEED AP
Connecting and Leading the Campus
Efficiently compact, the building sets up a sequence of pedestrian-scaled exterior spaces along an important pathway connecting the University’s historic main campus to its medical campus. Facing this pathway, a network of “thermal corridors” along the south façade organizes the building’s circulation and reconciles the conflicting goals of transparency and thermal performance. Allowed to vary in temperature more widely than the principal spaces behind them, these corridors create a buffer that maintains comfort while reducing energy use. The layered organization of program allows 90% of the building’s spaces to be daylit and to enjoy views outside. This strategy establishes an architectural vocabulary for future campus development.
A Living Laboratory
Using 66% less energy than standards require, Grainger Hall is the most energy-efficient building of its type on campus. It integrates low energy, sustainable building systems to reduce environmental impact and serve as teaching tools for the School and broader community. Students and faculty actively engage with and learn how best to utilize the facility’s sustainable infrastructure. Building materials effortlessly slip between inside and outside: along the south, expansive wood plank ceilings run continuously between the two environments, providing exterior shading and improving interior acoustics. The blurring of boundaries reinforces the School’s mission to treat human society and the Earth’s environment as an integrated whole.
Photography: © Warren Jagger Photography