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The 65,000-square-foot Nasher Museum was designed by architect Rafael Viñoly and built in 2005. The centerpiece of Viñoly’s modernist design is a dramatic 13,000-square-foot glass-and-steel roof rising to a height of 45 feet above the great hall.

Five concrete pavilions fan out from a central courtyard to house three large gallery spaces, auditorium, two classrooms, shop and café. The museum presents a dynamic schedule of programs, including free Family Days, performing arts events, lectures, film series and social gatherings.


Rafael Viñoly peers into a model of the Nasher Museum. BELOW: Early sketch of the Nasher Museum by Rafael Viñoly. Photos courtesy of Rafael Viñoly Architects.
Rafael Viñoly peers into a model of the Nasher Museum. Photo courtesy of Rafael Viñoly Architects.

The Nasher Museum was Uruguayan-born Rafael Viñoly first completed art museum project in North America. He had earlier designed the new home for Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York, the Tokyo International Forum and the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts in Philadelphia. His firm was also chosen for expansion projects at the Cleveland Museum of Art; the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.; and the Brooklyn Children’s Museum. He also designed new museums for the city of Colchester, England, and the Leicester Theatre Performing Arts Centre in England. Viñoly is a fellow of the American Institute of Architects and a recipient of numerous prizes, including the AIA/New York Chapter medal of honor.

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The Making of a Museum

Raymond D. Nasher eventually convinced Duke that the site at Duke University Road and Anderson Street was perfect for a new art museum, because of its central location, easy access to the intersection of two public streets...


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The Nasher Museum is fully open to the public with free admission for all, including Thursday nights and weekends. We strongly encourage all individuals to be fully vaccinated before visiting the Nasher.