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'Social center of gravity': Brodhead Center wins architecture award

<p>West Union, now officially named the Brodhead Center, undergoing renovations in 2016.</p>

West Union, now officially named the Brodhead Center, undergoing renovations in 2016.

Duke’s building architecture just keeps winning awards.

The Brodhead Center received the top national award from the Society for College and University Planning for its integration of multi-purpose spaces—its sixth SCUP award.  

Dubbed with the Jury’s Choice Award for Outstanding Achievement in Integrated Planning and Design, the Brodhead Center combines “academic, residential and social spaces”—restoring dining areas to their place as a “cornerstone of student activity,” said a SCUP write-up

“We are very proud that Duke has long been known as a leader in architecture and design,” wrote Michael Schoenfeld, vice president for public affairs and government relations, in an email to The Chronicle. “The Brodhead Center has set a new standard for student life that many other campuses will seek to emulate.”

The write-up explained that there was “a shift in student attitudes toward health and dining,” inclining Duke to reinforce the connection between academic, residential and social spaces.

The Brodhead Center is now “at the intersection of all three environments,” said the write-up. The building, formerly named West Union, reopened its doors in 2016 after renovations that transformed it into a hub for dining and campus life.

Including a variety of restaurants, the Brodhead Center offers the community a variety of eateries, along with conference rooms and lounge spaces. SCUP wrote that the building preserves Duke’s classic architectural style.

“[The Brodhead Center] has fulfilled its goal, becoming an innovative and thoughtful addition to the Duke campus and a new social center of gravity for the student,” said Duke Staff Architect William McGraw on the website.

This is not the first time the SCUP has commended Duke for its architecture. The organization recognized the West Campus Plaza in 2010 for “Excellence in Landscape Architecture and General Design” and gave the same award to the “West Campus Precinct” in 2018. 

Duke has won five other awards from SCUP, according to a news release, for buildings such as Environmental Hall (now Grainger Hall), the East Campus Steam Plant and Baldwin Auditorium. 

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