Duke University collaborated with Clark Nexsen to transform the East Campus Union into a premier dining and social center for the 21st century freshman. Originally constructed in 1927, the historic facility is the heart of Duke’s East Campus and an integral structure in the first year resident experience. Drawing from precedents of New York and Chicago’s Eatily, as well as others, the facility blends modern interventions with the historic fabric of the building.
The expanded main servery alleviates the formerly congested offerings, extending into the North Dining Hall and generating mezzanine seating above the new Durham Market station. The remaining servery area was transformed through new finishes, an herb wall installation, and enhanced menu offerings designed to showcase the university’s healthy dining options. Existing skylights were reopened to maximize natural daylight into the space.
New specialized dining rooms on the basement and second floor levels complement Duke’s Focus Program, which organizes cluster courses around interdisciplinary themes. The basement level is also home for Trinity Café, providing the essential “go-to” location for students who want to study, grab a quick bite, meet a friend, or catch an open mic show.
Offering multiple dining options, the transformed East Campus Union reflects Duke’s commitment to maintaining an innovative, cutting-edge collegiate dining program.