- Project Name
- NCCU 24/7 Collaborative Research and Learning Center
- Evoke Studio Architecture
- North Carolina Central University
- Project Types
- Project Scope
- New Construction
- 5,000 sq. feet
- Shared by
- Madeleine D'Angelo
- Project Status
- On the Boards/In Progress
This project appeared in the April 2021 issue of ARCHITECT.
Located in the center of Durham, N.C., North Carolina Central University, a historically Black institution, has grown dramatically since its founding in 1910, and today is home to more than 8,000 graduate and undergraduate students. Hoping to provide that student body with a flexible study space that would knit the campus into its residential surroundings, NCCU chancellor Johnson Akinleye charged the local firm Evoke Studio Architecture with designing a 24/7 Collaborative Learning and Research Center. The commission builds on an existing relationship between the university and the firm, which renovated NCCU’s Broadcast Studio, a high-tech digital communication hub, in 2019.
The new center will be located at the well-trafficked intersection of Fayetteville and E. Lawson streets at the northwest corner of the campus, making the building a university anchor and a bridge between the school and the local community. “It’s strategically located in a place where the students who are off campus can get to it quickly and safely,” says Evoke co-founding principal Teri Canada, AIA.
Approximately 5,000 square feet, the design offers a mix of study areas, multipurpose rooms, retail space, and an open, collaborative lounge that flows into a spacious outdoor plaza along Fayetteville Street. Shaded under the center’s upward sloping roof, the outdoor space blurs the divide between indoor and outdoor work areas, nearly doubling the project’s usable space, and becomes an inviting, porchlike entry to the building. The roof’s soaring form nods to both the site’s residential history and the school’s mascot. “[The university is] proud of the idea of the eagle and what it means,” says Evoke co-founding principal Edwin Harris, AIA. “So we [wanted to] create something that’s uplifting, that evokes a light, airy feeling.”
When night falls, the building will emit a gentle glow, thanks to Evoke’s decision to wrap it in perforated metal cladding. “At nighttime, it’s got to glow,” Harris says. “It’s got a presence. But it’s not domineering. It’s not going to blind the residential neighbors.”
With construction scheduled for the beginning of 2022, Evoke plans to finalize the design by the end of 2021, staying closely aligned to NCCU’s aims of bettering “not only the student body, but also the environment, the community, and the professions that each student chooses,” Harris says. “These buildings are basically mechanisms to help them in college and really empower whatever [profession] that is. That’s what this building is.”
Project: North Carolina Central University (NCCU) 24/7 Collaborative Research and Learning Center, Durham, N.C.
Client/Owner: North Carolina Central University
Architect: Evoke Studio Architecture, Durham, N.C. Teri Canada, AIA (Project Manager), Edwin Harris, AIA (Lead Designer), Billy Askey, AIA (Lead Project Architect), Brittany Eaker-Kirkland, AIA, Parker Yingling, Jessica Weiner, Meredith Layman (Design Team)
Structural Engineer: Mike M. Simpson, P.E. - MMSA Inc.
Mechanical Engineer: Jeff Roberts, P.E. - McVeigh & Mangum Engineering Inc.
Electrical Engineer: Ervin Kulenica, PE - McVeigh & Mangum Engineering Inc.
Plumbing Engineer: Josh Anderson, PE - McVeigh & Mangum Engineering Inc.
Civil Engineer: Juhann Waller, P.E.- JC Waller & Associates, PC
Landscape Architect: Eric Davis, PLA – Surface 678
Cost Estimating: Palacio
A/V + Security: Steve Thorburn, P.E. – Thorburn Associates
Size in Square Feet: Approximately 5,000 SF