July 14, 1997
Volume 49, No. 35
Ayers/Saint/Gross Architects and Planners, the firm chosen to develop the University's campus master plan, has established seven design principles to guide Emory's future physical appearance. Since November, Ayers/Saint/Gross representatives have held 150 meetings and met with 2,000 members of the Emory community.
Those conversations are reported in the first step of the master planning process, called observation, which is a 112-page report summary of the condition of Emory's existing physical environment. The report also contains the preliminary data regarding academic and infrastructure program requirements and the seven design principles which have been derived from the conversations.
"These seven principles are the conscience of the master plan," said Earle Whittington, senior project manager in the department of campus planning and construction, who is guiding the planning process on the Emory side.
"Now that we have this report from the observation phase, we can really focus in on the principles and say 'here's our sense of where we are, have we left something out?'" added Mel Lockhart, associate provost and a member of the master plan steering committee.
In discussing the seven guiding principles, Whittington noted that Emory is following a national trend at universities to move cars out to the edges of campus. "There was some talk in previous master plans to move to a pedestrian campus," said Whittington, "but this plan intends to act on that desire."
Another of the principles, creating an Emory-based language, said Whittington, "is an effort to get our arms around the architectural characteristics that make Emory distinctive so there can be more directives on building design and landscaping."
Another principle, centers and edges, shows sensitivity to Emory's neighbors, said Betty Willis, director of community relations and a member of the master plan coordinating committee. "This principle places some emphasis on Emory's edges and its flow into the neighborhoods. It looks at the views out of campus and the views into campus and is respectful of the Olmsted plan, which is so important to our Druid Hills neighbors." Willis noted that the planning group has met with key people from the community, including individuals from the Druid Hills Civic Association and Emory Village. "We've walked them through the process and the results of the observation phase to get their input and buy-in," she said.
Science 2000, a major building project planned near the Atwood Chemistry Center, has been revised after it was reviewed by the planning team in the context of the guiding principles. "We questioned some of the design parameters of the project, particularly the mandate that the chillers north of the Atwood Chemistry Center could not be moved," said Whittington. "When we evaluated the project in terms of keeping sacred spaces and having an Emory-based language, the long term return on moving the chiller outweighs the cost of moving it and allows Science 2000 project to be moved and redesigned to comply with the design principles." The Science 2000 building project includes a Chemistry east wing addition, buildings for physics and mathematics and computer science, the Emerson Center and the physical sciences library.
The planning process will now move forward to the conceptual plan for the Emory campus that will reflect the guiding principles and focus on issues such as how open spacesand the buildings that define themcan be organized to meet the goals of the principles. A draft conceptual plan was presented to the Board of Trustees at their June 19 meeting and to the academic deans and directors on June 18. "It is a first-pass sketch of how the campus might develop over the next several decades," said Lockhart. "It is intended to be an evolving and flexible document, whose details will become clearer as we move beyond conceptual development to more detailed precinct studies."
"The planners are working to refine the plan that will be presented for community reaction sometime this fall," said Whittington. "The observation phase will never really be complete, but now for this next round we'll be inviting people to review the conceptual plan and make comments." Whittington characterized the level of interest in the planning process as very high in the Emory community.
"Some of that interest may come out of frustrations that we've needed a master plan for the past 30 years that's championed and adhered to," said Whittington. "Some of it comes from seeing the results of not having a plan-bad buildings and a vehicle-congested campus. There are so many people who are passionate about Emory's appearance and functionality because there's a sense that Emory can execute the plan, we can do this."
Along with gathering reaction to the conceptual plan, detailed studies of campus areas such as the central campus, health sciences area, Lullwater, University Apartments, northwest Clifton and Emory Village, termed "precinct studies", will move along simultaneously. The final comprehensive plan, which will include a plan diagram, landscape plans, a transportation and parking plan and historic preservation, will grow out of the conceptual plan and the precinct studies and is expected sometime in November. Guidelines for the placement and design of buildings and grounds and a phased implementation plan, which is the fifth and final phase of the project, are expected in December.
Seven guiding principles
According to the initial report of Ayers/Saint/Gross: "In order that Emory's Campus Plan becomes a physical manifestation of the aspirations and mission of Emory, it should be based on a statement of Guiding Principles. These principles will be critical toward informing future planning decisions in the creation of a Campus Plan for Physical Development."
An intellectual community-"Emory's physical plan must create an envrionment that fosters a shared sense of interconnected intellectual community as defined by Choices and Responsiblity. The physical manifestation of intellectual community will be created through a network of buildings and outdoor spaces that promote interdisciplinary opportunities, connecting disparate units of the University together though a network of outdoor spaces. This will create not just one place (the quadrangle) but many places linked together to create a walking campus."
A walking campus-"Emory's outdoor spaces must be designed predominantly for pedestrians and bicyclists, with shuttle buses, service, emergency and VIP vehicles elegantly accommodated. Automobiles should be parked at the periphery of campus, with the most important direct access being hierarchically determined, beginning with patients going to the clinics or hospital. Existing surface parking lots must be incrementally restored from car places to people places."
Centers and edges-"Symbolic centers and edges need to be created to respond to an inward focus on learning and an outward focus on community, and in this sense should be defined, yet porous. These centers and edges should physically describe the entire University and its villages (Health Sciences, Theology, Physical Sciences, Arts, Humanities, etc.), creating new traditions."
An Emory-based language-"Emory's buildings and grounds must grow from an understanding and respect for Emory's history and community, acting to create a collegial whole composed of grace, dignity and elegant simplicity. This language, like the original Hornbostel composition, should be one of recollection and invention, relying on continuity and change to relate to both the community and the individual."
Sacred spaces-"A shared ethic must be developed and adopted by the Emory community concerning its natural resources including Lullwater, Baker Woodland, its gores, creeks and mature stands of trees. Within this ethic the campus plan should identify the full and responsible capacity for growth within Emory's existing landholdings, then identify whether additional land holdings should be purchased for future development and/or to protect Emory's boundaries."
Enlightened frugality-"Every dollar spent on Emory's physical plan must support its academic mission. This requires that all solutions to physical planning be comprehensive, with nothing considered in isolation. Issues of building placement, traffic and parking, engineering systems, natural systems and aesthetics must be woven together to form a tapestry of buildings and spaces that foster community."
Sustained implementation-"Future decisions pertaining to the physical development of the campus must reflect the guiding principles and conceptual design that derive from the Campus Master Planning process."
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