East Campus Icons: Dance and Music Epicenters Celebrate Over a Century of Service

Named after benefactor Benjamin N. Duke’s children, Mary and Angier, two iconic East Campus buildings are enjoying milestone birthdays this year.

Celebrating 125 years on campus, the Angier Buchanan Duke Gymnasium — better known as the Ark — has had a long and storied history. From the birthplace of basketball to a recreational center for the Woman’s College to the epicenter of dance at Duke, the Ark has morphed through time while remaining a space dedicated to student support.

The 1974 opening of the Mary Duke Biddle Music Building coincided with the 50th anniversary celebration of Duke University. It’s fitting in Duke’s centennial year to take a look back at the building’s first 50 years as an architectural landmark with facilities that have fueled the Department of Music’s continued growth and excellence.

Below are the unique stories of these two buildings, which epitomize the Duke family’s legacy of service to the university.