A transformative landscape approach completely re-configures the social hub of the 87 year-old University of San Francisco Campus. The Science Center project, sited at the very focus of student life, demanded a new landscape typology that occupies “center stage” as it weaves through the primarily underground building. The design creates high-performing, multi-level “outdoor-classrooms” that treat, infiltrate and collect storm-water, support diverse native plant communities, and re-establish the social heart of the campus for students, faculty, staff and visitors.
Breaking from a century-old tradition of landscape being subservient to buildings, this radically integrated design solution placed over two-thirds of the new building below ground, comprehensively redefining the pre-existing plaza, as a landscape connecting interior and exterior space and program. The resulting landscape typology fully engages the topography, making it difficult to distinguish “landscape” from “architecture”. By establishing multiple circulations, accesses and overlooks the design creates an experience of moving seamlessly between various expressions of “ground” on three separate levels at this nexus of the campus.