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A Fitting Name for New Gross Hall Space: 'The Foundry'

Evoking the energetic spirit of industry and entrepreneurship, the new “maker space” in the lower level of Gross Hall has been named The Foundry: The Design Foundry @ Duke.

The Foundry

The name was selected from 174 naming ideas submitted by 121 students, faculty and staff during a campus-wide contest.

“There were many, many creative submissions – some even came attached with prototyped logo art,” said George Truskey, senior associate dean for research at the Pratt School of Engineering and leader of The Foundry’s steering committee. “But, for the committee, ‘The Foundry’ summed up in a word the design-build spirit of this innovative new space.”

The 7,600-square-foot facility, open to all Duke students, will include an optics lab and light machine shop, workbenches, team meeting spaces, and dedicated project rooms that can be reserved for short-term and long-term project needs. Construction will be completed this summer.

Nick CairaKyle BradburyGeorge BernardSponsors of The Foundry include Pratt, Duke Innovation & Entrepreneurship, the Nicholas School of the Environment, the Department of Physics, the Information Initiative at Duke, the Innovation Co-Lab, and the Duke University Energy Initiative.

‘The Foundry’ name was such a good idea that three different contestants submitted it independently. The committee named them all winners and gave each a grand prize of $100 in Duke Stores credit and priority space scheduling in The Foundry next semester. The winners are:

  • George Bernard, a freshman in the Pratt School of Engineering
  • Nick Caira, a first-year PhD student studying under David R. Smith in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • Kyle Bradbury, managing director of the Energy Data Analytics Lab at the Duke University Energy Initiative

For Bernard, who plans on studying electrical engineering and computer science, the creative spark was his experience working at a blacksmith’s forge during high school.

And for Caira, who is also Duke men’s crew coach, said the word foundry came to him almost immediately after reading a description of the new space.

Bradbury, who holds an MS in electrical engineering from Duke, said “design foundry” epitomized the hard work and creative energy needed to move an idea from conception to reality.

“To me, the space was not only about engineering but also about ideas that connect with design, including business and the arts,” Bradbury said. “It will truly be a design foundry.”

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