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Name That Space!

The new innovative 'maker space' in Gross Hall opens this fall, and the Duke community is invited to suggest its new name – entries due April 6.

There’s something about garages and basements that connect with creativity. It’s a well-known story how Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak built their first batch of 50 computers in a California garage. Thomas Edison's first creative space was the workbench he built in the basement of his parents’ home.

Hoping to facilitate and inspire similar innovation and entrepreneurial collaboration, Duke this fall will open an Interdisciplinary Innovation & Design Workspace in the renovated lower level of Gross Hall.

The 7,600-square-foot workspace, 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.

“As we began the planning process, student groups told us they needed more space to work on their co-curricular and entrepreneurial projects,” said George Truskey, senior associate dean for research at the Pratt School of Engineering. “We think the modular and flexible design of the workspace will immensely enrich the student experience by providing dedicated design and project space for them.”

Innovation & Design Workspace

Truskey led a planning group of faculty, staff, and students from across campus, which worked with architects from the firm of Lord, Aeck, Sargent to develop and design the workspace.

The architects surveyed 11 student teams associated with Pratt, the Nicholas School of the Environment and the Duke Energy and Innovation & Entrepreneurship initiatives. These student groups expressed a strong need for design-build space, entrepreneurial space, and room for team projects. Of particular need were spaces for fabrication and prototyping, and for project storage.

The new space continues efforts at Duke over the last several years to provide flexible creative spaces for academic and co-curricular activities – including such spaces as The Link in Perkins Library, DuHatch in the Teer Building and The Edge in Bostock Library.

With its focus on teamwork, pursuit of new ideas and entrepreneurship, the workspace also fits into the missions of other programs and projects at Duke, including the Duke Innovation and Entrepreneurship Initiative, Duke Energy Hub and Innovation Co-Lab.

We hope this new space unleashes the inventive genius in the Duke community, Truskey said.

Learn more about the Interdisciplinary Innovation & Design Workspace at

Contest details

To start the countdown to the opening of the renovated Gross Hall ‘maker space’ this fall, the Duke community is being asked to give the new space a new name.

First prize is a $100 gift certificate to Duke Stores and priority access to space reservations in the Fall 2015 semester. Two runners-up will receive priority space reservations in the fall as well.

Submit contest entries by April 6 at