VASSAR COLLEGE MASTER PLAN
Poughkeepsie, NY (2009–ongoing)
The elegance of Vassar College’s buildings and courtyards is supported by a picturesque landscape of trees, lakes, and streams, making it a quintessentially American campus. The college’s current master planning initiative is helping this revered historic landscape evolve in the face of systematic challenges to its functional, horticultural, social, and environmental health.
The central goal of the Vassar College Landscape Master Plan is to develop a series of discrete projects that can be realized incrementally and frugally. As the Master Plan is implemented over several years, the Vassar campus will take on renewed experiential richness, pedagogical relevance, ecological health, and economic resourcefulness, all without sacrificing its heterogeneous, organically developed character.
Each landscape project recommended by the Master Plan is centered on site-specific implementations of broad landscape principles, centering on issues of circulation, horticulture, and hydrology. Wherever possible, individual projects will synthesize improvements across multiple systems. Any changes to pathways or parking areas, for instance, will be taken as an occasion to concurrently improve stormwater management. The result is a realization strategy that is flexible and feasible, addressing urgent problems but also contributing at every step to a comprehensive program of renewal and repair.