James Madison University, Duke Hall Renovation/Expansion

Harrisonburg, Virginia

  • FIRM

    GUND Partnership


    James Madison University

  • AREA

    120,500 sq.ft.





The challenge was to update a visual and performing arts center, built in the mid-1960s, that no longer functioned efficiently for either discipline. The solution was to retrofit the building into a completely new visual arts complex comprising the studio arts, art history and design. The project involved a complex program of multiple studio arts disciplines ADDITIONAL INFORMATIONASSOCIATED FIRMClark Nexsen (Architect of Record); GUND Partnership was Design ArchitectCOST PER SQ FT$270.00CITATIONAdaptive Reuse CitationFEATURED IN2015 Architectural PortfolioSUB CATEGORYAdaptive Reuse painting, sculpture, metalworking, printmaking and textiles, among others, and the technical and safety retrofitting required for such spaces.

The overriding theme was light: bringing light into the building, the galleries, the public spaces, the studios and the classrooms. One of the bigger design moves was carving out the central portion of the building for a dramatic light-filled atrium and gallery space. “Umbrella” trusses, a nod to the building’s mid-20th-century design roots, support clerestory windows that not only bring light into the building but also serve as a beacon for the building to announce to the university community the many offerings taking place within. In this same spirit, the building serves as a gateway to the university from its host community.