Duke University Abel West Quad - Durham, NC

The Abel West Quad is the functional and ceremonial heart of Duke University. Used for daily social and recreational activities as well as periodic large events, the Quad needed a landscape restoration to return it to a quality befitting its historic significance. Working under Reed Hilderbrand, JBC was hired for restoration of the lawns and agronomic systems.

A significant challenge was of preservation of the historic oak trees, many of which had reached maturity, were starting to die out due to a combination of old age and soil compaction. Extensive work to the soils has improved the planting medium for both the lawns and planting beds and will create a favorable ecological environment for the roots of the oak trees enhancing the tree canopy that will shape the space for future generations. The comprehensive renewal included innovative new infrastructure to manage stormwater and nourish soil biology.



  • Duke University | Durham, NC

  • Reed Hilderbrand | Cambridge, MA

Site Features 

  • Preservation of historic landscape environs

  • Low-impact soil amending

  • Legacy trees + supporting vegetation

  • Environmental sensitivity

  • Precision landscape subdrainage



EXCELLENCE IN LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE HONOR AWARD - Duke University West Campus, Raleigh, North Carolina Society for College & University Planning