Landscape Architect & Specifier News

JUN 2015

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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June 2015 51 Located in the heart of the Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) campus in Fort Myers is a central yet underused space that has been transformed into an iconic forum, harmoniously celebrating form and function. Completed in the fall of 2014, the newly renovated four acre 'Great Lawn' serves as an anchor for a multiple phase campus revitalization effort, sparked by steady growth in enrollments (student body of 13,429 undergrads and 1018 graduate students) following 'Dunk City's' 2013 NCAA basketball run to the 'Sweet 16'. Upon becoming more visible in the national landscape of college campuses, the university is planning for expansion, and creating iconic spaces that will enhance quality of life on campus and entice students to live and learn on Florida's beautiful southwest Gulf Coast. Analysis The 'Great Lawn' project started with an in-depth study of not only the immediate area for the green space, but also an assessment of the major east-west spine and periphery spaces along the axis that link the heart of the campus. The analysis included onsite observations, site user interviews, student/faculty meetings, environmental and geographical context studies. This evaluation allowed the design team, the university and respective stakeholder groups to understand and respond sensitively to the site's context, environmental characteristics and functional capacities. The university's most highly used academic buildings, library and dining facilities surround the site. Prior to the final design, the site was characterized by poor grading, lack of shade, undefined circulation and low-performance, vague functionality. To many of the stakeholders this space was seen as a weedy field. Design Resonating with the university's mission for sustainability, the design focus was to use the natural environment to create a functional, memorable space. Elliptical pathways of cobbled pavers and a laurel oak colonnade anchor the Great Lawn. The overriding geometry provides a sense of formality, while alleviating circulation congestion and reserving passive green space. The native laurel oaks

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