UW News

October 13, 2014

Symposium Oct. 20 will unveil draft campus landscape framework

News and Information

A campus landscape framework – meant as a starting point for planning how the UW’s outdoor environment might look in 10, 20, even 50 years – will be unveiled in draft form Oct. 20 as part of a regional symposium on campus landscape planning and design.

  • Landscape in Motion symposium
  • Monday, Oct. 20
  • 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., reception 5 to 7 p.m.
  • Regional professionals will discuss campus landscaping at universities, other institutions and corporations.

Earlier this month the American Planning Association named the UW’s Rainer Vista to its annual Great Places in America list, one of 10 public spaces on the list this year. That recognition highlights the campus landscape’s role in creating memories of place and providing a university identity.

Opportunities to take advantage of mountain and water views, possibly rethink areas of campus such as the cement wall along 15th Ave. NE, and take better advantage of underused areas of campus are among the starting points for the framework, which has been under development for two years.

The symposium is open to everyone, and those wishing to participate are asked to register by Oct. 15, however, walk-in registrants at the door are welcome.

The morning session will consider the importance of a campus investment in general. The afternoon will include a presentation about city-campus collaborations, and the discussion of the new UW framework from 3-5 p.m. The draft is expected to be available online that afternoon on the Office of the University Architect’s website.

Landscape quality is a consideration in the campus master plan, the agreement between the city and the UW about future campus development. The most recent master plan was finalized in 2003.

Pedestrians walk under cherry trees in full bloom

The UW liberal arts quad in springtime.Kathy Sauber

The landscape framework now being developed will be part of the next master plan and help guide landscape considerations for the next 20 years, although the effects could be even more long lasting, according to Kristine Kenney, university landscape architect. She led efforts on the framework with Rebecca Barnes, university architect and associate vice provost for campus and capital planning.

The framework identifies existing features to highlight, including formal quadrangles such as the Liberal Arts Quad, informal greens such as Denny Yard, wooded areas, views of the water and mountains and canopied areas such as Memorial Way. The consulting firm on the framework, Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, determined that the mosaic and variety of open spaces is what gives the UW its distinctive beauty, Kenney said.

It’s not a completed plan, but rather a way of looking at opportunities, Kenney said. Once the draft is finalized, it is hoped that a steering committee might develop guidelines, set priorities and find ways to fund the work.