North Sciences Quadrangle commands attention, urges contemplation

Within the envelope of six large buildings surrounding the North Sciences Quadrangle on the northwest corner of campus, campus landscape designers desired to give the landscape some weight of its own, lest the buildings dominate the experience of being in the quad.

The monolithic limestone blocks are a key component to this strategy.  Their scale – both as individual stones and as a long seam of stones running throughout the site – puts the landscape on equal footing with the surrounding buildings. Local limestone was selected to reflect the material of the historic buildings both here and on other campus quads.

A central space that had a strong identity was a goal of the design.  The stacking of stones to high points at the center coupled with the vertical stones, and large flat stones for seating help create this. The rows of ginkgo along the central seam also define this space. 

Design inspiration was drawn from the beauty and strength of the long, axial views in the historic quads, as well as by the many gateways created by the surrounding architecture.  The reworking of the 57th Street entrance from a split drive entry to a single path was paramount as it realigned the approach from Gordon Center, extending the long axis between the existing quad to the south and the new North Sciences Quad.  An allee of red oak trees are planted along this entry, creating a gateway, but with trees instead of architecture.

Comfortably wide, direct connections to and between the major entrances to the quad reinforces the simplicity of the strong axial connections on other parts of campus.  The secondary circulation through the garden beds and lawns provides an opportunity to take a meandering stroll or gather in small groups amongst the trees.

-- By Kathleen Golomb, landscape planning project manager

About the North Sciences Quad

  • An underground storm water retention system holds 150,000 gallons of water which is reused for the sites irrigation needs
  • North Sciences Quad sits on 1.3 acres of land, 2/3 of which are landscaped, 1/3 paved
  • Over 150 trees are planted, including 12 different species
  • More than 30,000 perennials, groundcover, and ornamental grasses
  • More than 350 shrubs and 150 vines installed
  • More than 200 bike racks installed

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