Proj Overview

In Durham, North Carolina sits the beautifully stunning 7-story Duke University Research Drive Parking Garage. Situated adjacent to a medical clinic in the research zone of the campus, this parking structure serves to accommodate over 1,900 spaces of parking. The structure includes 871 precast concrete pieces, with a total square footage of 694,269. Completed in early 2010, this structure has proven to be an extraordinary building for sustainability efforts.

The team kept sustainability at the forefront of this parking garage. In fact, this is the first, free-standing, single-use parking structure certified by the U.S. Green Building Council, a remarkable accomplishment. That alone demonstrates how big of a role precast concrete plays in advocating for a sustainable world.

Making Sustainability a Priority

The owner wanted a structure that would fit with the surrounding campus buildings, while also providing a more sustainable, energy-efficient building. Precast concrete proved to be the optimal building material to stay as environmentally sustainable as possible. Working alongside Walker Parking Consultants and Ratio Architects, GATE Precast Company was able to construct a parking garage that met all the requirements of the university. The flat floor design style contributes to the openness of the garage, limiting the amount of mechanical ventilation needed. GATE Precast Company fabricated precast concrete panels in a neutral color, elegantly fitting in with the surrounding buildings and environment. To reduce daytime heating and heat island effect, the team incorporated green walls and green canopies, an inclusion that proves beneficial to this day.

The design of this parking garage is one that draws attention, whether someone is viewing the structure from afar or up close. From a distance, the precast concrete spandrels and column covers create a monolithic color. However, up close, the medium-sandblast finish allows the red stone aggregate to provide a mix of color, really making the design stand out. By having the precast concrete spandrel panels on the upper levels and the terra cotta and stone material on the lower levels, the team created a façade that generates a variety of textures and colors, encompassing the overall campus aesthetic.

This unique parking structure, celebrating 15 years in 2025, continues to prove how precast concrete reaches multiple sustainable benefits while protecting life and its surrounding environment. This is a parking structure that will provide a long service life for the university and its faculty and students.


2011 PCI Design AwardsParking Structure (1000+ cars) Honorable Mention
2011 PCI Design AwardsSustainable Design Award Honorable Mention
Project Team


Duke University, Durham, N.C.

PCI-Certified Precast Concrete Producer:

GATE Precast Company, Oxford, N.C.


Ratio Architects, Indianapolis, Ind.

Precast Concrete Specialty Engineer:

ETE, Inc., Matthews, N.C.

Engineer of Record:

Walker Parking Consultants, Indianapolis, Ind.

General Contractor:

Bovis Lend Lease, Inc., Durham, N.C.

Key Project Attributes

  • This parking garage is the first, free-standing, single-use parking structure certified by the U.S. Green Building Council, earning 31 LEED® points.
  • Utilizing precast concrete contributed to several sustainability efforts, including reducing the heat island effect, shaving off time from the construction schedule, and reducing the overall carbon footprint.
  • Reclamation of rainwater was used to be more energy-conscious, which was used to sustain the landscaping onsite and the green walls and canopies of the structure.

Project/Precast Scope

  • The parking garage included more than 870 precast concrete pieces.
  • Erection of the precast concrete components began in May 2009, and was completed in September 2009. The project was officially completed in January 2010.