Facility Focus: Outdoor Spaces

Washington University in St. Louis: Ann and Andrew Tisch Park

An expansive new park on the Danforth Campus of Washington University in St. Louis is a signature component of a $360-million, 18-acre project that also includes five new buildings, an expanded campus art museum and an underground parking garage.

Washington University in St. Louis

© James Ewing

Ann and Andrew Tisch Park serves as a welcoming entrance to campus and is a gathering place for the university community and visitors alike.

Michael Vergason Landscape Architects led the development of a framework plan that patterns every aspect of the grounds into a cohesive, timeless setting. The new landscape creates opportunities for greater interdisciplinary interaction, transforms the entrance to the grounds and links the campus with the adjacent urban park. The outdoor public spaces reflect the university’s core academic mission of groundbreaking discovery, research and teaching.

Washington University in St. Louis

© James Ewing

The reimagined landscape builds on the original 1895 campus plan by landscape architect Olmsted, Olmsted & Eliot, while positioning the campus for the future. Nearly six acres of surface parking lots have been converted to green space, furthering the university’s commitment to sustainability. Walking paths connect academic buildings in different schools, facilitating interdisciplinary collaboration.

Thousands of plantings arranged in mixed-species stands promote biodiversity, support pollination and reflect the natural ecosystem. Strategically located rain gardens aid bio-retention and help sustainably manage stormwater. By summer 2020, plantings will include nearly 400 trees representing 38 species. Half of these are Missouri natives, such as American Beech, Black Walnut and Yellow Wood; the rest are native cultivars or regionally adaptive.

Washington University in St. Louis

© James Ewing

McCarthy Building Companies served as construction manager of all project components, which collectively enhance campus green space and pedestrian access while adding more than 200,000 square feet of classrooms, offices, studios and laboratories.

Washington University in St. Louis

© James Byard

This article originally appeared in the January/February 2020 issue of Spaces4Learning.

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