Nasher Museum of Art
Nasher Museum of Art
Durham, North Carolina
The museum is composed as a series of five pavilions, each containing a specific component of the building program.
One is designed for the permanent collection, two for temporary
exhibitions, one for the auditorium for classes and community use,
and one for support services such as classrooms, and administrative
A large formal lobby, with an adjoining café, is connected by terraces to the landscape.
Our design seeks to heighten the relationship between the built form and the natural features of the site, reinforcing our conception of the museum not as a single object within the landscape, but rather as pure geometric boxes drawing the landscape into the interior via their placement and forming a viewing corridor.
The pavilions, monolithic forms with limited fenestration, are
made of humble materials in earth tones that refer to the "Duke
Stone," a warm, locally quarried stone commonly used in the older
buildings on campus.
Their placement of the pavilions, in a loose radial pattern, near the top of a gentle slope that characterizes the site, defines an irregular, pentagonal central courtyard, which is covered by a light canopy of glass and steel, and serves as the museum's lobby and sculpture gallery.
Views to the exterior are provided from this atrium space through full-height openings between the pavilions.
To further blur the division between interior and exterior, the floor surface of the lobby is extended beyond its perimeter to define the exterior entry terraces and the independent café terrace.
The design also addresses the issue of future expansion and
provides a clear plan for accommodating growth within the initial
The Nasher Museum, inaugurated on Oct. 2, 2005, will house the permanent collection of the Duke University Museum of Art and will provide high quality spaces for the presentation of a wide range of temporary exhibitions.
Facts about Nasher Museum of Art
Last updated: December 19, 2013
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