“The lines are all Mr. Trumbauer’s, but the shadows are all mine.”
- Julian Abele
Buildings, not speeches, are Abele’s legacy.
Julian Francis Abele (April 30, 1881 – April 23, 1950) was a prominent African-American architect, and chief designer in the offices of Horace Trumbauer. He was the primary designer of the West Campus of Duke University (1924–54). He contributed to the design of more than 400 buildings, including the Widener Memorial Library at Harvard University (1912–15), the Central Branch of the Free Library of Philadelphia (1918–27), and the Philadelphia Museum of Art (1914–28).
In the Documenting Julian Abele's Contributions video series, members of the Duke and Durham community explore how Abele played a central role in designing Duke’s campus and left a lasting legacy.
To recognize the contributions of Julian Abele, the university has named the main quadrangle encompassing the original academic and residential buildings Abele Quad. Abele Quad goes from the steps leading up to Clocktower Quad to the steps leading up to Davison Quad, and north to the Chapel Quad. More than 30 buildings and spaces designed by Abele are now part of Abele Quad, including West Union, the Perkins and Rubenstein Libraries, the West Campus residence halls and the Allen Building.
“Julian Abele brought the idea of Duke University to life. It is an astonishing fact that, in the deepest days of racial segregation, a black architect designed the beauty of this campus. Now, everyone who lives, works, studies and visits the heart of Duke’s campus will be reminded of Abele’s role in its creation.” —President Richard H. Brodhead
Quad Dedication Brings Julian Abele 'Out of the Shadows'
Duke Names West Campus Quad in Honor of Julian Abele
President Brodhead's Message to the Duke Community on Julian Abele
Julian Abele's Quiet Contributions to Duke's Campus
Stones, Bricks, and Faces: Mystery of the Master Builder
Out of the Shadows
Susan Tifft (T '73) in Smithsonian Magazine