Duke University

Alice M. Baldwin Auditorium Renewal

Durham, North Carolina

As part of a larger campus initiative for the arts, we were retained by the University to work with the School of Music to transform Baldwin Auditorium into an acoustically superior room for music, while retaining its iconic presence on the East Campus. Striving to incorporate key features of the building’s historic 1927 Georgian architecture, yet provide a contemporary concert hall, we carefully “inserted” a new, intimately shaped room into the original volume of space, preserving the room’s symmetry while accenting the long forgotten classical dome. Our approach included replacing the existing balcony with a new “wrap around” configuration, re-raking the floor, extending the stage, adding a new permanent orchestra shell and introducing a large acoustical canopy. By reducing the interior of the room, we were able to expand the lobby, encircling the auditorium on both sides. The large windows, once a feature of the room, now provide an abundance of light for the new side lobbies.

Project Data

42,200 sf

Program & Highlights

725-seat concert hall
Expanded lobby


2015 SCUP/AIA-CAE Excellence in Architecture-Building Addition, Renovation or Adaptive Reuse

2014 Building Design + Construction Silver Reconstruction Award

2014 ENR Southeast Best Renovation/Renovation Project

2014 Lumen Award of Merit

2014 Illuminating Engineering Society of North America Illumination Award of Merit

2014 Associated Builders & Contractors Excellence in Construction Award

2013 Associated Builders & Contractors Excellence in Construction Award for Renovation, North Carolina

“Baldwin Auditorium at Duke University," livedesignonline.com, April 4, 2014

Carolyn Heinze, "Architecture, Acoustic, and Audio Complement Each Other at Duke University Auditorium," AVNetwork, October 22, 2013

Ganapathee, Shanen, "Baldwin auditorium reopens to fanfare," The Chronicle, September 15, 2013

Jeffrey Rossman, "As Good as It Gets: The Reopening of Baldwin Auditorium," CVNC, Online Arts Journal in North Carolina, September 14, 2013

Cliff Bellamy, "Duke to open renovated Baldwin Auditorium," The Herald Sun, August 1, 2013

“Of all the buildings I’ve had an opportunity to oversee both here at Duke as well as at the University of Washington, this is the building I’m most proud of.”
— Tallman Traske, Executive Vice-President, Duke University

The auditorium before renovation
View from the auditorium stage before renovation

Structural Engineer: Gardner & McDaniel PA
Civil Engineer: John R. McAdams Company
MEP: RMF Engineering, Inc.
Construction Management: LeChase Construction Services, LLC
Theater: Theatre Consultants Collaborative, LLC
Acoustics: Jaffe Holden Acoustics, Inc.
Lighting: Cline Bettridge Bernstein Lighting Design, Inc.
Landscape Architect: Surface 678
Photographer: Christopher Payne