Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, MO (2008–2010)
The mission of the new BJC Institute of Health biomedical research building is to bring together gifted physicians, scientists and researchers to find new and better ways to improve human health. These ideas of community and well-being are at the heart of the BJC Plaza, which sits at the base of the Institute and at the crossroads of the Washington University School of Medicine Campus. Recognizing the need for a central campus meeting ground and the potential for landscapes to improve the quality of everyday life, the new BJC Plaza is a place of gathering, refuge, and contemplation for students, faculty, professionals, and visitors, as well as patients and their families.

Drawing on the native landscapes of Missouri, the plaza design creates a unique setting on the campus that is a wondrous blend of familiar cultivated landscapes and willfully wild nature. The palette of deciduous trees, indigenous grasses and wildflowers mark the seasons through both subtle and overt gestures. The trees and grasses are arranged on low softly curving landforms that are positioned to guide pedestrian movement and create places to sit and congregate. The landforms are a uniting element in the design, engaging all of the buildings that surround the plaza by either sloping against their walls or surrounding the existing columns. Similarly, a sleek bowled fountain designed by Maya Lin quietly animates the space with the sound of flowing water and reflected light captured from the sun and building surfaces. The buildings and landscape seem to have emerged together, with movement easily flowing between them.

BJC Institute of Health
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