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Duke University, West Union Hall

Duke University, West Union Hall

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Durham, NC
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Grimshaw Architects

Duke’s 125,000 sf historic West Union was renovated to introduce state of the art cooking, dining and gathering spaces for students and faculty. The 1920 Gothic style building was comprised of numerous segmented areas with low floor to floor heights. As part of the renovation, the central core of the building was replaced with an open atrium volume, comprised largely of glass, to house distributed platform cooking and seating areas. The program also includes an extended-hours student center, a pub and faculty dining spaces. New MEP systems were designed to work with the architecture. The basement was excavated and lowered to accommodate electrical switchgear, and custom VAV energy recovery air handling systems, located there to accommodate large glass skylights. MEP distribution was integrated with the architecture to minimize sight lines at the new glass, and custom diffusers were designed for ornate spaces. Over 100,000 cfm of kitchen hood grease exhaust was routed through the buildings to accommodate distributed, state of the art cooking platforms. The central atrium includes a 19-fan, 310,000 CFM smoke exhaust system designed via a computational fluid dynamics (CFD) model of the atrium architecture. CFD analysis was also utilized to inform envelope and HVAC distribution design to maximize thermal comfort in key architectural areas. Switchboard transformers were kept below 112.5 kVA to limit arc flash hazard in the distribution.