Landscape Architect & Specifier News

FEB 2016

LASN is a photographically oriented, professional journal featuring topics of concern and state-of-the-art projects designed or influenced by registered Landscape Architects.

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46 Landscape Architect and Specifier News The town of Mansfield lies approximately 25 miles east of Hartford, Conn. The University of Connecticut was established there in 1881 at Storrs Village, one of 19 small villages that make up the town. The rural setting was perfect for an agricultural school. By the late 1990s, UConn had diversified and grown to over 20,000 students, but the commercial strip across from campus lacked a sense of place or community; it was composed of mostly one-story buildings and parking lots. The town's two-lane highway, Storrs Road/Route 195, was dangerous for pedestrians and bicyclists, and acted as a barrier between town and campus. Planning Context Within this context, the town and UConn began a collaborative design to envision a walkable, mixed-use town center, with pedestrian-oriented streets and public spaces integrated into a series of small neighborhoods. Ground floor retail and commercial spaces would open onto landscaped sidewalks and intimate streets with a variety of residence types above and in adjacent neighborhoods. After years of planning, the Mansfield Downtown Partnership (MDP) was formed and Storrs Center, a public-private partnership that leveraged $200 million in private investment with $25 million in public funds, began implementation. The heart of the Storrs Center development is Mansfield Town Square. The project fronts Storrs Road, across from UConn's School of Fine Arts complex, E.O. Smith Regional High School and Mansfield Town Hall. New buildings containing ground floor retail with high-density housing on the upper floors surround the square on three sides. The half-acre site is the nexus of pedestrian movement from all directions, and its design became a carefully choreographed composition of hardscape, softscape and placemaking elements. The budget for the square was $1.75 million, sourced from a variety of public and private contributions. Design The square was designed to accommodate informal social activity, cross-circulation and events. Its striking design makes a strong visual statement about the value of shared public space. By day, the site is Project Team Client: Town of Mansfield, Matthew Hart, Manager Mansfield Downtown Partnership, Cynthia Van Zelm, Executive Director Storrs Center Developer: Leyland Alliance & EdR Landscape Architect: Kent + Frost, Brian Kent, PLA, lead designer Chad Frost, PLA / Tim Magee / Elisa Magee / Andrea Fossa Structural Engineer: e2, Scott Erricson Electrical Engineer: Acorn, Mark Gendron / Rajesh Karki Landscape Contractor: Mountain View Landscapes, Scott Moore / Nic Brown Pavilion & Light Pylon Fabrication/Installation: XTX Associates, Stephen Pazdar Trellis Fabrication: Swift Innovations, Wade Swift Electrical Contractor: Eastern Electric, David Pallanck "Weaving Shuttle" Sculptor: David Boyajian Products Pavers: Unilock Series 3000 and Eco-Priora Tree Grates: IronSmith paver grate Stage and Pylon Lighting: Philips Color Kinetics Accent Lighting: B-K Lighting Polycarbonate Roof: 3form Koda XT Steps and Lawn Curb: Granite Industries of Vermont

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