Idealized Academic Village 
{"autoplay":"true","autoplay_speed":"8000","speed":"1000","arrows":"true","dots":"false","loop":"true","nav_slide_column":5,"rtl":"false"}
{"autoplay":"true","autoplay_speed":"8000","speed":"1000","arrows":"true","dots":"false","loop":"true","nav_slide_column":5,"rtl":"false"}

DETAILS

LocationAliso Viejo, California, United States
Size103 acres

When Japan-based Soka Gakkai International, one of the world’s largest lay Buddhist organizations, decided to establish a fully accredited liberal arts university in southern Orange County, SWA joined with the architects to create a setting that expresses the goals of the new university. Soka means “to create value” and the ideal of Soka education is to foster people who continuously strive for peace and the sanctity of life. The new campus combines an image of the ideal academic village with the beauties of a Tuscan hill town. In SWA’s master plan and landscape design for the 75-acre central campus, this melding of visual ideals becomes particularly apt because it is backed by a philosophy of ecological sustainability. The design establishes a compact development envelope that minimizes site disturbance, maximizes pedestrian circulation, and reduces the impact of utility installation. It allocates more than half the site to natural areas and open space and utilizes native plants, especially native oaks. Building placement minimizes the need for ventilation systems and artificial lighting. Parking acreage is minimized and incorporates curbless edges and water-filtering swales. The designers also wanted to preserve the character of the steep hilltop setting. The buildings–predominantly stucco with tile roofs–are terraced into the hillside, oriented to views of the surrounding hills with overlooks and view terraces, and kept to no more than three stories in height. The design challenge was creating a campus that felt from the beginning as if it were complete. The university is intended for 2,500 students and includes all of the academic and cultural amenities associated with contemporary higher education.

Related Projects

Northwest Vista College

Northwest Vista College is situated in the oak covered hills west of San Antonio, with beautiful views toward the city and surrounding valley. Previously the design team completed an extensive master plan that accommodated for the expansion of the college facilities to three times its current size. The design seeks to sensitively integrate the nearly 400,000 s...

Scripps College Residence

The landscape design for the new residence hall builds on the Scripps College campus tradition of landscaped courtyards formed by buildings and circulation corridors. In doing so, the design helps to establish a new east-west axis connecting the main campus to future recreation facilities to the east. The project also improves interrelationships and connection...

Shanghai International Dance Center

Inspired by the idea of movement, this collaboration with Studios Architecture achieves an artful harmony of building with landscape, program with site. The image of a dancer in grand jete kindled the designers’ imaginations and served as the project’s organizing idea. Asia’s first professional dance complex is tucked between a freeway, a subway station...

Stanford Toyon Hall

Toyon Hall, a significant historic building originally designed by Bakewell and Brown Architects in 1922, is a three-story structure centered around a magnificent formal courtyard with arcades and arches. The purpose of the project was to preserve, maintain and enhance the building and site. SWA scope of work included evaluation of existing site conditions and...

Stanford University Terman Park

The removal of an existing building adjacent to the center of Stanford’s campus provided a unique opportunity to fashion an interim park space. The project emphasizes reuse and seeks to utilize salvaged materials as well as the existing grading and fountain as key features of the park. As a multifunctional performance and recreational space, the project ...

The Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Center for the Visual Arts

The original Stanford campus museum was damaged in an earthquake in 1989. With help from major namesake donors to the museum, significant site improvements, expansion and seismic renovation improvements were accomplished. SWA provided master plan updates and full landscape architectural services including pedestrian pathways; two major terraces for displaying ...

Stanford West Apartments

SWA has placed a special emphasis on maintaining the riparian corridor with native planting, using consideration when dealing with the archaeologically sensitive areas of the site, as well as existing recreation trails and landscape amenities such as parks and play areas. The internal street grid, architectural and landscape elements are designed to recall the...

Scripps College Residence

The landscape design for the new residence hall builds on the Scripps College campus tradition of landscaped courtyards formed by buildings and circulation corridors. In doing so, the design helps to establish a new east-west axis connecting the main campus to future recreation facilities to the east. The project also improves interrelationships and connection...