After more than a decade of planning and three years of construction, the Wilkinson Building on Duke University’s West Campus officially opened to students in January 2021.
With more than 150,000 square feet of space spread across five floors, the new building expands the Pratt School of Engineering’s education space by 50 percent. But rather than simply offer standard classrooms and office spaces to Duke engineers, the Wilkinson Building was designed to specifically encourage collaboration among students, staff and faculty in the four engineering departments, and across the university as a whole.
Inside the building, this is especially evident in the research neighborhoods, which span the top three floors and place interdisciplinary faculty together to work on common topics including innovations in human health; environmental health; and advanced computing and intelligent systems.
Throughout the rest of the building, large, bright gathering spaces provide spots for students to work and chat, and four active-learning classrooms equipped with entire walls of whiteboards and moveable furniture give professors maximum flexibility for teaching, allowing for both traditional lectures and hands-on, team-based lessons.
But for Eric Richardson and Paul Fearis, some of the most exciting collaborative spaces in the Wilkinson Building are the sprawling design labs on the first floor.