Duke University Environment Hall: Nicholas School of the Environment


Durham, NC / United States



Total Square Footage

72,000 GSF


Faculty & Departmental Offices, Classrooms, Computational Dry Labs, Reading Room & Environmental Art Gallery


LEED-NC 2.2 Platinum Certified

As one of the world’s premier schools for the study of environmental science and policy, the Nicholas School of the Environment attempts to understand the Earth, its inhabitants and the environment as an integrated whole by addressing the critical issues of climate change, energy, water quality, ecosystem management and conservation and human and environmental health. Environment Hall, the School’s new front door, mirrors this mission by employing low-energy sustainable building systems aimed at reducing the project’s environmental impact and serving as a teaching tool for the School and its community. This is reflected by the project goal of LEED Platinum Certification with a targeted energy reduction of 40% over the baseline ASHRAE 90.1 (2004) building.

Environment Hall includes faculty and departmental offices, advanced computing laboratories and classrooms, a reading room and environmental art gallery all wrapped in a high-performance exterior envelope specifically tuned to the site. A thermal corridor along the south utilizes a relaxed temperature strategy to further insulate the program and reduce overall energy consumption.


Photography: © Warren Jagger Photography


  • 2015NC Chapter: American Society of Landscape Architects Award
  • 2015SCUP/AIA-CAE Excellence in Architecture: New Building, Merit Award
  • 2014ABC Excellence in Construction, Merit Award
  • 2014Boston Society of Architects, Honor Award for Design Excellence