Duke Medicine Pavilion: A Serene External Space for both Patients and Visitors

Duke University Medical Centre wanted a design that connects the three buildings on site while welcoming patients and visitors in breathtaking fashion. Perkins + Will designed an exterior space with a new elevated plaza to compliment the site's location surrounded by three buildings.


The elegant space was designed to provide spaces for gathering and short periods of relief from unrest outside the hospital walls. The architects mission was to provide a space that calms the patients and visitors through proper color selection and simplicity in terms of form and material choice.


For the sake of having a focal point in the space, the architects used a Japanese Maple tree installed on one side of the ellipse-shaped precast wall. In order to make use of the ellipse space, more gathering space has been created within the ellipse accompanied with furniture to welcome people who may want to have informal meetings within the hospital. The space is also used as an outdoor diner. Giant bamboo planters have been used to accentuate the outline of each particular space while reflecting the verticality of the buildings around.


To direct rain water, on the south end of the plaza a canopy has been created to direct water into a special band that infiltrates the drainage system. All mechanical equipment including large emergency generators is concealed underneath the ground which creates a space of beauty free from unnecessary distractions. Perkins + Will say the pavilion is now targeting LEED Gold Certification.


An elevated garden was also integrated into the plan to create a tranquil waiting zone on the third floor of the hospital. Most of the gardens plants include healing herbs to fit into context with the hospital's ideologies. To uniformly integrate the garden with the hospital, seasonal color was applied to create moments of natural calmness within the busy hospital surrounding.

Project Information

Architect: Perkins + Will
Location: Durham, North Carolina
Completion: 2013
Size: 20,000 square feet LEED Gold Certification
Awards: The Landscape Architecture Awards for Healthcare Environments, Bronze Award, 2013