LOCATION: Durham, NC
PROJECT SIZE: 277,000 SQ FT
PROJECT COST: $60,077,000
The new Durham County Human Services Complex houses the consolidation of the county’s Social Services, Public Health and Mental Health departments, and a new countywide meeting space. These agencies often serve the same clients, who benefit from the improvement in the delivery of Human Services through conveniently located facilities. The project, located in the East Main Street corridor of downtown Durham, represents an important first step and catalyst towards the revitalization of this underdeveloped part of downtown.
Built in two phases, the three-story, 277,000 Sq. Ft. building includes 102,000 Sq. Ft. of health and dental clinic, pharmacy, lab, administrative office and support space for the Department of Public Health. Office area, conference rooms and training rooms are provided for the Departments of Social Services and Mental Health in approximately 160,000 Sq. Ft. The 15,000 Sq. Ft. countywide use area accommodates a large 500-seat multipurpose space.
The building’s façade is intentionally brought to the edges of the block forming an “O” shaped plan with a large public courtyard at the center of the complex. All facades front their respective streets to give the building an urban presence, while the internalized courtyard becomes a “gem” within the urban setting. The plan, with its relatively narrow floor plates and main circulation facing the inner courtyard, allows for generous day-lighting and exterior views from the building.
Sustainability principles drove the design of the project. At one level, the project speaks to environmental responsibility through its planned USGBC LEED Gold certification. Additionally, the building facilitates the delivery of the crucial human services which help sustain the individuals and families who have the greatest need. The complex responds to the needs of the community not only by meeting the functional requirements of the building program, but also by providing high quality exterior and interior environments which engender civic pride.
Photography: Mark Herboth