James Madison University
Create Safe Environments for the Arts.
The renovated and enlarged Duke Hall houses traditional Studio Arts and Art History programs. It is the University's flagship arts building. It establishes a functional home for the study and practice of arts and realigns them with contemporary art making practices. Creating safe learning environments that inspire arts exploration was central to GUND's design approach. The addition houses some of the program’s more intense studio needs in space constructed to meet their specific environmental requirements. Particularly important was locating programs to optimize ventilation and other safety initiatives.
Urban context was a vital consideration in the design.
The building serves as a gateway to the University from its host community and is in the midst of the campus’ historic “Bluestone District.” Its own bluestone façades make it compatible with surrounding buildings, and yet, it establishes its own presence, especially at night when the new clerestory windows are lit and the umbrella trusses are visible. The additions carry this material vocabulary forward. In contrast to the original building, the new addition animates Grace Street to the north with playful glazing patterns.
A light filled space becomes a community asset.
One of the biggest design moves was carving out the central portion of the building for a dramatic light-filled atrium and gallery space. “Umbrella” trusses are designed as a nod to the building’s mid-20th Century design roots. New clerestory windows bring light into the center of the building and serve as a beacon, announcing the many activities taking place inside. The atrium has become a favorite place on campus for receptions, exhibitions and informal gatherings. This light-filled space with its comfortable and easily rearranged furnishings makes it flexible for any number of special events.
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