Over the next ten years, Princeton University will transform nearly forty percent of its campus in an attempt to create a setting amenable to more intensive academic, cultural and recreational use. To control the inevitable impact that such rapid growth will have on the campus, as well as addressing longstanding concerns about the health of the landscape, the university has hired Michael Van Valkenburgh as a landscape architectural advisor.
The recent Landscape Master Plan, developed by MVVA as part of a larger master planning vision overseen by Beyer Blinder Belle, envisions a campus landscape that will be experientially rich and simultaneously more sustainable, versatile and functional. The landscape plans for Core Campus, for instance, which contains one of the most significant collections of historic architecture and landscape in the United States, emphasize stewardship of Princeton’s design legacies through an integrative strategy that includes extensive replanting and soil restoration, the renovation of historic gardens, and improvements to grand processional spaces such as historic McCosh Walk. The result will be historic landscapes that are ecologically stable and require less maintenance, even with the stresses of increased use.
Whether implemented in conjunction with building development or as stand-alone projects, the master plan’s landscape initiatives reflect a comprehensive design approach that integrates land planning, construction techniques and materials, and maintenance. Soon-to-be-completed projects include landscapes for Butler College and Whitman College. Landscapes for a new Chemistry Building and pedestrian bridge connecting the stadium precinct with the Ellipse are in advanced planning stages. Projects that have already been completed include the new Elm Drive plantings, the Prospect/Ivy Lane pathway, and the Whitman College landscape.
Princeton University Landscape Master Plan Brochure