Reviving Olmsted's Spirit on a Contemporary Campus 
{"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

LocationStanford, California, United States
ClientStanford University
Size8,180 acres (all land); 2,616 acres (main campus)

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 corridor to extend the road to link to the surrounding cities. The plan provides new housing and shopping to serve the University community. After Olmsted, the formal center of the university lost much of its clarity, and what had once been a rural context became more and more urban. It was only after the Loma Pieta earthquake and the appointment of David Neuman as campus architect that the university established campus-wide principles for restoring the campus. In addition to providing master planning for larger complexes and landscape architecture for specific buildings, SWA’s work has concentrated on all the pieces of a campus that help people circulate and gather: streets, pedestrian malls and spaces, bicycle routes, and wayfinding. Olmsted used plant material to create a play between formal and informal, ornamental and native. SWA uses the California-based plant palette as a backbone, while introducing something new for each project. The focus has not been on revisiting the old, but rather re-creating the original vision for the twenty-first century. As an example, Stanford’s athletic facilities were never addressed or even envisioned by Olmsted, but grew as a series of leftover spaces on the campus. SWA began a master plan that provided a framework for 22 individual projects under the Department of Athletics, Physical Education, and Recreation (DAPER). Using a grid that differs from that of the rest of the campus and thus distinguishes the old from the new, SWA created a new arrival plaza for cars, a pedestrian entry, parking, and track and field venues. They also rebuilt the key north-south axis through the area, a critical link with Olmsted’s original plan.

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...

Cañada College Kinesiology & Wellness

In collaboration with ELS, SWA designed a new landmark for Canada College, the Kinesiology & Wellness Center.  The project replaced a windowless 1960s-era gym building and outdoor asphalt yard with the glassy new building and infinity pool deck on this hilltop campus with fantastic views.  The project also created a new campus arrival and ceremonial overlo...

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...

Medgar Evers College

This new quad provides a unifying pedestrian connection between Bedford and Franklin Avenues and between existing and new campus buildings, finally providing the campus with a cohesive identity and sense of place. With the dramatic transformation of a parking lot into more campus green space comes the opportunity to integrate a series of sustainability strateg...

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...

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...

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...

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...