DUKE BRIDGE PAVILION
DUKE UNIVERSITY, DURHAM, NORTH CAROLINA
AREA: 8,000 SF
PROGRAM: PEDESTRIAN BRIDGE, OUTDOOR PAVILION
DURATION: SPRING 2014–SUMMER 2016
CONSTRUCTION COST: $3,500,000
AWARDS: 2017 NEW YORK STATE AIA DESIGN CITATION AWARD, 2016 NORTH CAROLINA AIA DESIGN HONOR AWARD
ARCHITECT: ARCHITECTURE OPERATIONS D.P.C., REID FREEMAN, PARTNER IN CHARGE
Situated in the heart of Duke’s Campus, the Bridge Pavilion is a multi-functional piece of infrastructure that defines the circulation experience in the West Union District of the Durham campus. The conceptual approach to the Bridge Pavilion is to create a dynamic structure that enhances wayfinding while providing an informal social and cultural node for students and faculty. The structure not only acts as a physical bridge, but also incorporates a beer garden, seating and lounge spaces, and materiality that enhances site perception and user experience. The Bridge Pavilion is the result of a cross-disciplinary and collaborative process that successfully embodies both contemplative self-reflection and exuberant exchange.
In the pavilion, the reflective surface of the structural concrete slab soffit is achieved using custom formwork. The mirror finish of the polished stainless steel columns captures views of the adjacent landscape and surrounding student activity to heighten the dynamic presence of nature and light within. Strategic vertical planes of etched glass subtly define rooms and enclosure while maintaining an accessible and welcoming atmosphere. The glass moderates outdoor conditions and collects and displays light and color from the adjacent landscape.
The thin concrete structure is supported with slender mirrored stainless steel columns and one shear wall. The underside of the bridge acts as the pavilion ceiling with coffers that remove mass and add structural efficiency. The ceiling visually references the waffle slab and skylight system of the nearby Bryan Center, a student services building at the terminus of the bridge’s axis.
At the center of selected coffers is a void occupied by a prismatic glass. In a synthesis of the forest canopy, the prismatic glass lenses gather, display the sky dome, project light to fill the bridge deck’s shadows, and flicker as students pass by above. Students traversing the bridge become aware of activity below transmitted through the cast lenses, and projected onto the lightly etched surface of the glass pavers flush with the deck. Figures, colors and movement are essentially embedded in the bridge.