Landscape Architect & Specifier News

JAN 2017

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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January 2017 73 Texas A&M University is one of the nation's largest premier research institutions of higher education. One of the newest additions is the campus in Killeen, Texas, which was carved out of 672 acres of undeveloped land owned by the US Army at Fort Hood. Army training activities were limited in recent years and the land was isolated from the rest of the post. With this in mind, the Army transferred the property to the University in exchange for in-kind use of classroom space and joint educational services for soldiers. The campus is in the middle of an ecologically sensitive site that includes a 370-acre rare bird habitat, a major creek corridor, and large stands of native live oaks that the university wanted to protect. The site had experienced years of drought that made landscape watering a challenge. The property is classic central Texas ranchland: mature live oaks, exposed limestone outcrops, and meandering creeks. It boasts dramatic vistas from topographic high points, including Knob Hill, a large volcanic cone-shaped hill that the university kept undeveloped as a campus icon. Instead of the usual campus design of large quads and manicured lawns, the team opted for a different approach: prioritizing environmental function and preservation of sensitive habitat, echoing the native landscape, capturing and reusing gray water for irrigation, and low maintenance. Although these principles are widely practiced in landscape architecture, they are not commonly used on university campuses. The design team contemplated if it was possible to create a campus void of green mown quads and neatly maintained flowerbeds that students expect, and instead replace it with grass that is mown only once a year, flowerbeds that look like meadows, and a campus where it's hard to tell the middle from the outer wooded edges. The Texas A&M University system took a leap of faith trusting the team to design and deliver an alternative campus landscape. The landscape architecture team from Jacobs Advance Planning Group worked with the architects and the university to create a master plan for the campus and the final design of phase one, which included the design and construction of the main entrance. Sustainable design principles are woven throughout the campus. The design preserves native vegetation and wildlife habitat, respects site topography, withstands severe drought conditions, and requires low maintenance. Prioritizing environmental function and preservation of sensitive habitat… The newest addition to the Texas A&M University system is the Central Texas Campus in Killeen. The 672-acre property was transferred to the university from the US Army at Fort Hood in exchange for in-kind classroom use. The new campus includes a 370-acre rare bird habitat and large groups of native live oaks, ecological factors taken into consideration by the landscape architecture team from Jacobs, Inc. PHOTO: VISUAL IMPACT COMMUNICATION/JEFF BUHNER by Randy Sorensen, FASLA Landscape Architecture by Jacobs Advance Planning Group Better Campus Environment A [

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