Water Reclamation Pond, Rubenstein Arts Center Win National Design Awards

Water Reclamation Pond
Duke's water reclamation pond. Photo by Mark Hough, Duke’s university landscape architect.

In only five years, the 12-acre Duke Water Reclamation Pond has won the praise of community members for its beauty and for reducing Duke’s need for city water by about 100 million gallons annually. Now it has also won the praise of the Society for College and University Planning (SCUP), which has given it the group’s highest honor for excellence in landscape architecture design.

Designed by Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects, the pond and surrounding trails is used for academic purposes by researchers and students and recreationally by pedestrians, runners and bicyclists. The property off of Science Drive also serves as a stormwater management pond, collecting storm water from 265 acres of West Campus. This water runs through the pond, reducing sediment, nitrogen and other pollutants, and then carried to a nearby chiller plant. The result is Duke reduces its reliance on municipal resources.

“What makes SCUP awards especially meaningful is that they are given equally to the university and consulting designers,” said Mark Hough, university landscape architect. “A core team from the Facilities Management Department was involved in the project from its beginning in 2010 all the way through construction. This award recognizes the great collaboration that went into making the pond both an ecologically sustainable stormwater feature and a beautiful landscape for Duke’s campus.”

The pond wasn’t Duke’s only SCUP award winner for 2020. The Rubenstein Arts Center also received honorable mention in the New Building category.