Home to All Things TIP: the Power House

Sunday, October 30, 2016
Power House, Durham NC

TIP has been at our current location for a few years now. But for those who don’t work here, you may not know much about what it is, let alone where it is. So, if you’ve been wondering where the magic happens, where Duke TIP incubates its ideas, where the mythical Main Office is housed: this article is for you.

Duke TIP is housed in the Power House, a historic building in the West Village district near downtown in Durham, NC. So far, the Power House has been a very suitable home for us, offering more space and even a little unintended symbolism.

Interior of Duke TIP's Power House

Built in 1926, the first things you would probably notice about the Power House are its distinctively-Durham brick exterior and enormous factory windows. (Also, it kind of resembles an oversized set of stair steps.) In any other city it might stick out like a sore thumb, but here, in the heart of what was once a tobacco manufacturing center, it serves as a reminder of the rich history of the Bull City.

Our previous location at the Bevan building near Duke’s East Campus had about 16,000 square feet. Moving to the newly-renovated Power House building gave TIP 27,000 square feet, which includes lots of office space and more multi-purpose rooms than before. But the move entailed a lot more than trucks and moving boxes.

In late 2013, crews began to examine the Power House building before diving into the restoration and preservation process on its exterior. They broke apart and replaced old stone with new, gave the exterior some extensive cleaning, restored and re-caulked windows, and replaced sections of roofing. All of these efforts were meant to make the Power House look brand new, while staying true to its original look. (On the outside, that is. The inside looks much different!)

Making the move has given TIP staff more than just some breathing room. We were able to strategically place our workspaces in order to allow for better communication and collaboration. And with more multipurpose rooms, it’s easier to accommodate our guests and host larger meetings.

While the tangible benefits are pretty obvious, there is something cool about our new location that may not immediately jump out at you. Chew on this for a minute:

For decades the Power House provided resources, in the form of electricity, to the booming city of Durham. Without this energy source to support its growth and development, the city may not have ever reached its full potential. Sound familiar? Yes, we like the symbolism, too!