Duke Water Reclamation Pond

2010 - 2015

To reduce reliance on potable water, Duke University engaged NBW to design a stormwater re-use pond to supply its chilled water plant. Capturing stormwater runoff from 265 acres, more than half of which is impervious surface, the pond will reduce the campus’ use of potable water by roughly 200 million gallons per year. Located between Towerview Road and Circuit Drive, the pond was originally envisioned in Duke’s 1924 master plan by the Olmsted Brothers.

The NBW design features a pavilion, boardwalk, nearly mile long walking path and amphitheater with lawn seating, overlook, and a bridge. It combines functional infrastructure with beautiful and engaging civic spaces.

Through careful grading the project saved as many trees as possible and used site harvested timber for structures, decking, and handrails as well as hardwood mulch for paths and around plantings.

Working with McAdams Civil Engineers, Duke Facilities Management and the Duke University Campus Landscape Architect, NBW developed a pond edge planting palette that will allow the pond water level to fluctuate depending on rainfall and demand while maintaining a lush, vegetated edge, increasing water quality and wildlife habitat around the pond. A native plant palette with species ranging from emergents to upland, care was taken to create a sustainable landscape that is flexible, educational and beautiful.

Collaborators: Mark Hough - University Landscape Architect, Duke Facilities Management, McAdams Company