Columbia University Landscape Master Plan

Columbia University Landscape Master Plan

Softening Landscape Character, Celebrating History
{"autoplay":"true","autoplay_speed":"3000","speed":"300","arrows":"true","dots":"false","loop":"true","nav_slide_column":5,"rtl":"false"}

DETAILS

LocationNew York, New York, USA
ClientColumbia University
Size36 acres

As part of a larger development framework plan by Beyer Blinder Belle Architects, Thomas Balsley Associates was commissioned to prepare a landscape master plan for this important historical campus.

The work began with extensive historical research into the original McKim Mead & White plan and Olmsted writings as well as an assessment of current campus conditions and use patterns. When necessary, circulation has been improved, barren spaces softened, the new venues for contemporary academic social life have sprouted. Those icons of the original masterpiece work, its spatial organization, and its system of lawns, pathways, walls, stairs and distinctive herringbone brick paving have been preserved. The cherished open spaces, even some that were originally designated as building sites, have been preserved as well for the enjoyment of the students.

The harsh North and East Campus zones will be gradually transformed into softer landscape “quads” with shaded lawns and social spaces. This re-knitting of the campus landscape will be accomplished with a carefully-selected palette of materials for paving, walls, fences, stairs, hedges, balustrades and lighting. Lynden Miller perennial and annual garden displays have been added to the academic planting palette of trees, shrubs, hedges and ground covers.

These recommended interventions are in keeping with the campus historic character, yet are responsive to current and future needs. The final report provides a long-range vision for the campus environment and its streetscapes, as well as a design manual for all future site improvements and maintenance, some of which are underway.

Related Projects

Tarrant County College

To meet the growing needs of the downtown and North Main communities in Fort Worth, Texas, SWA provided the master plan and landscape design for a new college campus to add to the Tarrant County College District. Designed to be constructed in a series of phases, the project aims to provide a stimulating and rewarding environment for students and the local comm...

University of Chicago Booth School of Business

This project regenerates a spectacular, historic cliff-side waterfront site by activating it with new purpose. Working carefully to interweave layers of preservation and natural beauty, the building and landscape work together to leave a light footprint. Today, a distinctive global campus honors the history of its earlier occupation while providing inspiration...

Montclair State University Student Center and Quad

SWA/Balsley collaborated with DIG Architects and Montclair State University to reimagine the campus student center, adjacent quad, and connections to the surrounding campus. Through site analysis and project stakeholder meetings, key pedestrian and vehicular circulation routes were identified for resident students, daily commuters, and University staff. The st...

Public Safety Answering Center

The landscape is a key component of the PSAC II site. This new five hundred million dollar emergency call center is strategically located in the Bronx, New York and will facilitate emergency response for the City of New York.

An earthern grassland berm completely envelops PSAC II’s architecture and establishes a visual connection between PSAC II and the...

Stanford University Campus Planning and Projects

Over the past 20 plus years SWA has been working with Stanford University to reclaim the 100-year-old master plan vision of Leland Stanford and Frederick Law Olmsted for the campus. This series of campus improvement projects has restored the historic axis, open spaces, and landscape patterns. With Stanford Management Company, SWA designed the Sand Hill corrido...

Montclair State University Student Center and Quad

SWA/Balsley collaborated with DIG Architects and Montclair State University to reimagine the campus student center, adjacent quad, and connections to the surrounding campus. Through site analysis and project stakeholder meetings, key pedestrian and vehicular circulation routes were identified for resident students, daily commuters, and University staff. The st...

New Jersey Institute of Technology Green

This campus, like many others, has suffered from the lack of a coherent plan, rendering its campus experience to a series of passages through disconnected interstitial spaces. A key component of the landscape master plan was the identification of new building sites on campus that would shed light on a comprehensive assessment of open spaces and movement system...

Tampa Museum of Art

The new Tampa Museum of Art by Stanley Saitowitz is set within the city’s arts district whose master plan was prepared by Thomas Balsley Associates and also includes Performing Arts Center, Children’s Museum, Riverwalk, and the centerpiece Curtis Hixon Park. The museum is dramatically sited on a plinth overlooking its companion park and the Hillsborough River....

2020-01-10T23:26:10+00:00