Perkins+Will Relocating Durham Office to Landmark Downtown Tower

New studio in North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Building designed for staff well-being, creativity, collaboration

The Durham office of architecture and design firm Perkins+Will relocated from Research Triangle Park to the Legacy Tower Building at 411 West Chapel Hill Street in downtown Durham. The firm is leasing 12,000 square feet in the 12-story tower, built in 1965 as the headquarters for North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company, the oldest and largest African American-owned financial services company. Founded in 1898, North Carolina Mutual is one of the largest and most influential African American businesses in U.S. history.

“We love the idea of working in the midst of the remarkable energy and growth of downtown Durham, and are thrilled to be closer to the location of so many of our projects designed over the past quarter century,” says Zena Howard, Managing Director of the North Carolina practice of Perkins+Will. “Durham’s tradition as a welcoming, diverse, and entrepreneurial community reflects our spirit and values,” Howard noted. “In addition to our work in healthcare, higher education, and other sectors, the North Carolina Practice of Perkins+Will is known for our projects celebrating stories of African American culture, history, and perseverance. Continuing this work in the North Carolina Mutual Building offers us added inspiration as designers and storytellers.”

“Durham is where our journey began three decades ago,” notes Design Director Phil Freelon. “Moving into the heart of downtown Durham is an exciting next step in continuing to serve our clients and the community.”

The new Durham office features an open and highly-flexible environment designed to spark creativity among the firm’s 60 architects, planners, and interior designers. Employee wellness is a high priority for Durham staff, and for the entire global workforce of the company. The Durham studio is the first workplace in North Carolina to achieve Fitwel Certification, and Perkins+Will is the first U.S. company to commit to achieving Fitwel Certification for its North American and London offices. Fitwel is an evidence-based standard that promotes occupant health and productivity through an integrative approach to workplace design and operations.

“Relocating our office provided an ideal opportunity to take a holistic perspective on well-being and the entire employee experience here at Perkins+Will,” says Design Principal Kenneth Luker. “The idea is to create an environment that nurtures an exchange of diverse ideas, and continues the studio’s tradition of producing design that inspires.”

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