Whitin Giroux Works

Creativity. Innovation. Design Excellence.

formerly Whitin Design Works


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Loyola Marymount University
Los Angeles, California

In an increasingly competitive market, universities are upgrading facilities to better attract students and their parents. Loyola Marymount University commissioned WHITIN DESIGN WORKS to renovate the original, now overgrown, landscape for 3 freshman dormitories designed by A.C. Martin in the 1960s. The project goals are to create a new identity for the Freshman Dorms; to restudy pedestrian, bike and maintenance circulation and to reduce water use and ongoing maintenance costs by replacing large areas of turf grass with drought tolerant plants.

This project recognizes the importance of the freshmen experience when lifelong friendships are formed, good teachers inspire career choices, curiosity is supported and school loyalty develops. How can landscape further these values? Landscape promotes socialization and connectivity by creating gathering and function spaces for students, teachers and parents. Landscape itself provides a tool to teach sustainability and botany. Elements such as benches and paving incorporate information about university traditions and alumni to inspire freshman.

The design process included development of 3 Concept Designs which were reviewed by several university departments and a student group. The chosen “Yin Yang” concept creates distinct identities for the 2 quads. The key design principles are to create an individual identity for each of the two quads by using distinct landscape designs: an open lawn in the North Quad and an Oak Sycamore grove in the South Quad. The sunken Founders Hall Plaza is raised to improve circulation and create a function space for freshmen orientation. Water use is substantially lowered through a 70% reduction of turf grass and the use of drought tolerant shrubs and mulch groundcover. The student run Sustainability Club supports the inclusion of a Community Garden. Existing pavers and bike racks are recycled into the renovation.

Phase 1 Construction of the South Quad will be completed during the 2013 summer break; with the North Quad, Phase 2, following in summer 2014.