We were commissioned by Duke University to create the Duke Central Campus Master Plan for 200+ acres at the heart of the campus. The large site includes a series of ca. 1970 garden-style student apartments, various residential structures that are either vacant or converted to non-residential uses and several large parking lots serving the adjacent Medical Center.
The site is bordered by the historic Sarah P. Duke gardens to the south, Georgian-styled East Campus and Gotchi-styled west campus.
The Duke Central Campus Master Plan establishes an urban village for the University, accommodating a variety of housing types for undergraduates, graduates, faculty, and University staff. Shifting this population to Central Campus lessens dependence on cars, and encourages more walking and usage of the existing on-campus transit systems.


Focus on Place for Pedestrians

While not a LEED recognized prerequisite or credit, one of the main goals of the Development Plan is to promote pedestrian travel between Duke’s East and West Campuses. The configuration of the Plan establishes approximately 1.6 miles of “edge condition” where buildings will front onto one of three forested hollows of the Sarah Duke Gardens, taking advantage of both shade and cooler ambient temperatures.

At a larger scale, the pedestrian-first approach was baked into the Duke University Central Campus Master Plan through the development of black sizes that were scaled at o the human, rather than the automobile. The site is planned as a collection of public places that both provide a central focus and identity for particular neighborhoods as well as create a series of interim destinations for cross-campus travelers.

Transit Integration

Building upon an earlier transit study by Martin Alexiou Bryson which identified a number of routes for and comparisons of various mass transit technologies (people-mover systems, rapid bus systems and lightrail transit), we DMSAS studied the incorporation of two such formats into the Master Plan; at-grade bus-type and grade-separated automated type (monorail or lightrail). The Plan allowed for these system types to be implemented either as phases, in conjunction with each other or singularly. While an at-grade system would operate within the newly developed Main Street right-of-way, most likely sharing a conventional traffic lane, the grade-separated system utilizes a service street with stations provided adjacent to the larger public spaces and parking garages.