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School of Nursing and Interprofessional Education Center 

Duke University
Two buildings with one dynamic vision advance nursing and interprofessional health education.
Exterior view of Duke University’s School of Nursing, phase I and II
Durham, NC
School of Nursing: 116,800 GSF 
Interprofessional Education Center: 102,000 GSF 
School of Nursing: LEED Silver 
Interprofessional Education Center: LEED Gold 
Nursing School, 2014; Interprofessional Education Center, 2019

The Duke University Medical Center has long been admired for its celebrated programs and community of distinguished scholars and clinicians. Ayers Saint Gross was commissioned to design a new facility for the School of Nursing with the goal of uniting programs previously spread across campus into a single, iconic building with the potential for future expansion. A meteoric growth of the school’s enrollment necessitated an addition just five years after the first phase opened. The expansion integrated state-of-the-art simulation spaces and a virtual hospital. Ayers Saint Gross continued to work with the university to design a facility for the Department of Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy, connecting it to the existing complex. The holistic vision for the School of Nursing and Interprofessional Education Center affirms Duke University’s place as a national leader in interdisciplinary nursing education.

The architecture recalls the collegiategothic vernacular of Duke’s historic campus. A two-story commons space engages the courtyard and wooded area beyond – a respite from the dense urban medical center. This new heart for the School of Nursing provides meaningful space for students, faculty, and staff to collaborate and share common experiences. 

The design celebrates the wooded site and vigorous canopy of trees. Two curved stoneseat walls bracket the terrace and hold the grade while walkways weave through the preserved trees from three sides. To reduce site disturbance, the team employed sustainability strategies to protect existing vegetation, introduce irrigation systems, reduce the development footprint where possible, and incorporate native plants.  

Learning spaces are designed to be flexible, adaptable, and equipped with the latest technology. Large classrooms are paired with smaller seminar rooms to accommodate different teaching and learning styles and curricular requirements. Clinical learning spaces include new skills labs and simulation space, while breakout rooms and formal and informal study spaces offer students more opportunities for study and collaboration. 

The Interprofessional Education Center connects to the School of Nursing via a skybridge on multiple levels, bringing together three different programs within the medical center – Physical Therapy/Occupational Therapy, School of Nursing, and the Department of Orthopedic Surgery.

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