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DUKE CORPORATE EDUCATION

Location
Durham, NC
Project Size
60,000 SF
Completed
2005
Duke Corporate Education (DCE), a leader in the field of custom executive education, commissioned Alliance to design a new headquarters in the Lucky Strike Building at the historic American Tobacco Campus in Durham. The design intent was to facilitate a productive, innovative working environment. DCE practices a collaborative, interactive experience in its teaching, but encouraging that collaboration in a building with a basement and four floors stacked above became a central challenge.

The solution? Alliance linked the floors together via two spacious open-communicating stairs between first and second, and third and fourth floors. We included a stacked “mini” atrium to overcome issues of fire separation while visibly and physically tying staff together.
The ground floor operates as the reception area and conference center for the headquarters. It features multiple conference rooms and a large café. These areas are heavily used and feature several tables, light fixtures and other elements crafted from artifacts found in the building during the restoration. Throughout the headquarters, an emphasis was placed on saving and restoring historical elements that included old sliding fire doors, wood floors, masonry, and timber columns and beams.

Much of the design concept was centered on utilizing natural light in an open plan. Perimeter lighting and corridor lighting was designed to highlight the wood and brick, bringing warmth and life to authentic materials. A feature element at the reception area is a wall made from stacked cross-sections of timber from the original building.

The central theme was to let the historic building shine through while thoughtfully integrating modern systems. Today, the DCE headquarters represents a gathering place for the entire company for annual meetings, and a connecting thread to its many worldwide offices via modern technology.