When world-renowned architect Rafael Viñoly was commissioned to design a major new center for the arts at Duke University, he set about creating his first museum in North America and the first stand-alone museum in Duke’s eighty-year history. The resulting 65,000-square-foot building has changed the cultural landscape of the university and indeed the Southeast.
This book documents the genesis and design of the new museum, which opened on October 2, 2005. The building is named in honor of the family of Raymond D. Nasher, an internationally prominent art collector who graduated from Duke in 1943.
The landmark building takes its place among Viñoly’s other distinguished designs, including the new home for jazz at Lincoln Center in New York and expansion projects for the Cleveland Museum of Art, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., and the Brooklyn Children’s Museum in New York. Among his other cultural projects are the Tokyo International Forum and the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts in Philadelphia. He is designing the new Tampa Museum of Art and a new museum in the city of Colchester, England. He was part of the team that created the runner-up design for the new World Trade Center site in New York City.
The brilliant core of the Nasher at Duke is a 13,000-square-foot glass and steel canopy rising to a height of 45 feet above the central gallery space. The faceted roof soars above the irregular pentagonal great hall, where five concrete pavilions fan out at different angles. The pavilions will house three large gallery spaces, an auditorium, offices, university and community classrooms, a museum shop, and a café with outdoor seating overlooking a sculpture garden. Set in the forest on Duke’s campus, the museum’s full-height glass walls and green slate floor connect the pavilions and further blur the division between building and nature.
With an essay by art historian Annabel Jane Wharton, a design statement by museum architect Rafael Viñoly, a foreword by museum namesake Raymond D. Nasher, and photos by Brad Feinknopf and Jerry Blow, this book documents the building that will become a cornerstone for cultural activities for the university and the public.