SUNY Cortland Campus – Bower’s Hall

SUNY Cortland Campus – Bower’s Hall

The site design for Bower’s Hall integrates an ecologically rich “working” landscape within the more traditional SUNY Cortland campus vocabulary.  As a sub-consultant to ZGF Architects, Starr Whitehouse was inspired by the need to manage stormwater runoff and a desire to express the University’s commitment to sustainable practices, the design features three biomes that sweep along the front of the building, and reinforce the diagonal path leading to the campus center.  Moving from high to low, the existing berm is enhanced with additional upland woodland plantings and elongated to form a composition with the new architectural massing; stepping down from this ridgeline is a swath of upland meadow that is depressed in two places to create low lying wet meadows for retention and cleansing of storm water runoff.  A plant palette reflecting the specific habitat and microclimate of each these landscape types will be developed in collaboration with the biology department and the resultant rich layering of vegetation will serve as a living laboratory. The design maintains the campus’s axial circulation system, modifying it to respond to this naturalized landscape.  Bissecting the meadow is the north south path connecting Prospect Terrace and Memorial Library to Bowers.  The plan design follows LEED standards and guidelines.

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