Rethinking a suburban model to establish campus places
About the project
West Virginia University was embarking on a major $250 million expansion for the Evansdale campus – a suburban campus with few pedestrian connections and no traditional campus places establishing identity. Recognizing the need for a master plan to organize many building projects, WVU asked Strada to develop a campus master plan in an expedited timeframe. Using a collaborative, charette process, we rapidly developed a comprehensive plan to address all aspects of campus development: buildings, landscapes, transportation, utilities, infrastructure and sustainability.
The master plan is guided by the following principles:
- Establish a sense of place that reflects the history and character of West Virginia’s mountains, rivers and forests.
- Focus on planning strategies that create a set of precincts and spatially defined outdoor spaces, in order to create a set of linked pedestrian campus places with the character of a traditional campus.
- Create a pedestrian core to the campus by pushing parking to the exterior of a ring road system.
- Build a vocabulary of academic architecture that expresses the solidity and importance of the institution and creates a monumental presence for key buildings.
- Accept the architectural diversity of the existing buildings, but use new buildings and renovations to advance humanistic design based in placemaking principles and traditional architecture.
- Use durable, local and natural materials as much as possible for new building projects that draw on local character and building techniques.
- Use elements of the local (topography, plants, water) and distant landscape views to unify the campus.
- Develop sustainability goals for the campus that set high standards for building performance, water management and sustainable landscapes.