Campus Landscape: Much more than marketing

Universal marketing photographs for colleges and universities show students walking around under a large, majestic tree (aka “three under a tree”) or in an ivy-covered academic building, and dutiful students walking through Gothic-style wooden doors (aka “Money Walk”). Institutions occasionally highlight walkways lined with rich lyreop punctuated by metal benches that no one dares to set foot on (the sun heats the slats to a temperature that dries out the skin). The huts collected from the depot (aka “Butt Hat”) are never photographed.

Some campuses exhibit dubious tastes, logic, and a hoaxster-like zeal, sculpted along the entire hillside with huge institutional sound signs made of painted stone, colored mulch, or plants. The lucky ones who are represented by the school color Pansi variety pack every kalas available with them in the spring. Other institutions allow students to draw (damage) trees and stones with signs and symbols to implicitly support the school spirit. However, many campus landscape marketing tools or an aesthetic void of institutional pride can be (and are) much more attractive.

Visual anchors of natural and constructed spaces on campus keep alumni’s hearts and minds connected to the place. Perennial trees are preserved and preserved, but when cut down, the remains are used to make kipsack boxes and pens for fashion formal items such as donor boxes or mattresses. The official committee reviews and approves road-finding signs, conservation and sustainable arrangements, and new construction. The endowment also sometimes provides for the maintenance of features such as green spaces and fountains. But how much do most people know about their campus landscape?

While many admire the natural environment for the beauty of their campus, campus landscapes embody a rich history and resources for scientific study. Some campus landscapes were designed by renowned architects and thought leaders. Some plant museums (arboretum and botanical gardens) are key to education, preservation and preservation. Still others are proud of the state and national champion tree specimens. Why and how did it happen?

Something extraordinary happened in the early 19th century একটি a convergence of vision and attitudes that would shape the next century and the 20th century করে reinforcing the notion that every higher education institution is a community. Thomas Jefferson’s idea for the University of Virginia developed over decades, beginning with a bill in the Virginia General Assembly in 1778. His ideas for the campus began to emerge around 1805, and by 1810 he had insisted on his idea that “all schools … arranged around an open courtyard of grass and trees would make it what it really should be, an academic village.” . “

Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio (Italian, 1508-1580) has been a significant inspiration to Jefferson. Nevertheless, the concepts of “landscape architecture” and “landscape gardening” were new in France and England (respectively) in the early 1800s. The idea of ​​an interdepartmental profession of art and science was born. The integration of indoor and outdoor spaces, or “rooms” and the purposefulness of their design, has become more and more prevalent, especially as thought leaders consider the influence of urbanism. Natural settings can be an essential way to Mars and personal perfection. In the first half of the 19th century, several important books were written on the subject, as well as on the evolving ideas of landscape architects. The influence of this philosophy is evident in the numerous outdoor spaces of the time (parks, cemeteries and educational institutions), especially those designed by Frederick Law Olmstad (American, 1822-1903) who designed Central Park in New York City. It encouraged the founding of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), founded in 1899.

Not only did Olmsted build some of the most well-known public parks in the United States, but he (and later his sons) created influences and plans for landscapes of numerous college and university campuses across the country, such as Amherst, Smith. , Bryn Mawr and Vassar College, among others.

Olmsted sincerely believed that the physical environment was an essential aspect of learning and democratization. He was particularly active during the boom of higher education institutions in the mid-1800s and even after the Morrell Act of 1862. The conversation centered on space, housing, architecture, and landscape design. The relationship between physical space and the sense of place was central to the design of numerous organizations.

Women played a leading role as landscape architects in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, contributing to the design of college and university campuses. Beatrix Jones Farand (American, 1872-1959), one of the most famous landscape architects of the 20th century and a founding member of ASLA, designed gardens at Princeton and Yale University. Ellen Biddle Shipman (American, 1869-1950) at Duke University. Designed by Duke Garden. Today, many historically significant college and university campuses are notable for their landscape.

While the beauty of the campus evokes a sense of well-being, kinship and institutional pride, they are also essential learning tools. Numerous institutions are important for teaching herbariums, farms, forests, botanical gardens and arboretums in horticulture, botany, forestry, agriculture, environmental studies, landscape architecture and other fields of study. Recorded species of plants and their relative protection have great scientific value. There are several college and university gardens and arboretas. More can be found here.


  • Harvard University (Arnold Arboretum)
  • University of Sorthampton (Scott Arboretum)
  • University of Hawaii (Lyon Arboretum and Botanical Gardens)
  • University of Pennsylvania (Maurice Arboretum)

Botanical gardens

  • Duke University
  • Smith College
  • University of California, Berkeley
  • University of Chicago
  • University of Delaware
  • Wellesley College

One might also be surprised to see state and national champion samples on many campuses. The National Registry has been maintained since 1940. Champion plant specimens (primarily trees) are measured, documented, officially recorded, and studied. Here are a few:

Champion sample

The important legacy of landscape architecture in colleges and universities may be granted or sometimes distorted, but their importance cannot be denied. Whenever possible, we should take the time to learn and appreciate the campus environment. See and learn what they can learn about the thoughtful investment and space energy made over the past two centuries on all college campuses.

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