Landscape Architect & Specifier News

OCT 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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(Continued on page 18) 16 Landscape Architect and Specifier News California State University, Northridge (CSUN) is one of the first colleges in the Cal State University system to incorporate a wellness center that is specifically designed to contribute to student success and retention, and enhance the student life experience. The design of CSUN's Oasis Wellness Center reflects the symbiotic relationship between mind and body. The existing Student Recreation Center (SRC)—also designed by LPA—delivered physical fitness on a bold and large scale. The Oasis sought to complement the recreation center in an intimate and contemplative perspective that would address the American College Health Association's top two health impediments: stress and lack of sleep. The wellness center is to be a "learning laboratory" where students, with supervision by faculty and professional clinical staff, can find respite in spaces that address the student's out of balance health. The challenge of a remote and shady site on campus became an opportunity by creating the experience of disembarking down to the Oasis. While descending to the facility, one starts to sense the intimate scale of the project, attention to detail and density of lush planting. The contemplative gardens take advantage of the site to create "outdoor rooms" that are private in scale and immersed in nature. A multidisciplinary team facilitated a holistic approach to the site. The building and under-used landscape were collectively transformed to support the program for the project. Biophilia (the suggestion that there is an instinctive bond between humans and other living things) and an interior/exterior connection inspired the site design. A new freestanding elevator tower and convenience stair now provides universal access to the project and a visual landmark on campus. The "outdoor rooms" required shading devices due to the site's temperature and exposure. Wooden trellises, fabric umbrellas, building overhangs and tree canopies were selected so that the site could be usable year-round in the sometimes harsh climate of Northridge, Calif. For outdoor lounging, the center provides a sculpture garden, Zen garden, garden rooms, flexible yoga/meditation space and an amphitheater with fireplace to support the services offered at Oasis. h a rd s c a p e s By Richard Bienvenu, PLA/ASLA/LEED AP BD+C, LPA, Inc. Nature-Inspired Oasis at CSU Northridge Top, Left At California State University, Northridge, LPA, Inc. worked with student representatives to design the Oasis Wellness Center, which includes a sculpture garden, meditation space, and this integrally colored, cast-in-place concrete labyrinth. PHOTOS: COSTEA PHOTOGRAPHY Top, Right The concrete amphitheater and fireplace have texture and color that create an intimate retreat for small groups. Cast-in- place seatwalls provide an additional place to sit. Uplighting from BK Lighting emphasizes the mature magnolia and Japanese maple trees.

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