Renowned philanthropist and art collector Raymond Nasher graduated from this institution of higher education in 1943 and has been worried about the cultural situation there ever since. The university museum was founded in 1969, and its modest collections were housed in a rebuilt laboratory building.
Nasher conceived of building a new complex for him more than 15 years ago, but he had to wait ten years for a long-term biological experiment to end on the meadow he had chosen to build.
The Vignoli building develops the theme of merging with nature: five buildings are located around a glazed courtyard with an area of 1200 sq. m, from where views of the surrounding forests open. This "atrium" will be used for installations and as a venue for social events. It opens the entrances to three pavilions-galleries with a total area of 1300 sq. m, to the auditorium for 170 people in the fourth building and to the administrative premises in the fifth. Concrete, glass, green slate, oak and beech wood were used in the construction.
This museum, which will exhibit, along with its own collections, part of the Nasher collection, will complement the Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas, designed by Renzo Piano in 2003.
The Duke University Museum was worth $ 23 million, 10 of which was invested by Raymond Nasher.