Rochester Institute of Technology, Gannett Quadrangle and Administration Circle

Rochester, New York

In 2003, Rochester Institute of Technology transformed two key outdoor spaces as part of a new initiative to revitalize the campus. The landscape architect collaborated with Rochester sculptor Albert Paley to site his “Sentinel,” a 73-foot-high Cor-ten steel and titanium sculpture that announces the campus entrance at the student center and the Quarter Mile walkway. In ADDITIONAL INFORMATIONASSOCIATED FIRMFisher Marantz Stone; Paley Studios, Ltd.; Jensen EngineeringFEATURED IN2004 Architectural PortfolioSUB CATEGORYLandscape process, a large vehicular precedent gave way to the tall shade trees and rolling lawns of a welcoming pedestrian oasis.

Gannett Quadrangle, the campus gathering space adjacent to the main library, has been reconfigured as part of the campus revitalization program. In order to achieve a lush, cohesive space, the landscape architect redesigned and unified the quadrangle, creating an attractive amenity for all of the campus community to enjoy. To achieve this, pedestrian circulation, which previously was characterized by a rigid grid extension of the existing buildings, was reorganized into a coherent, organized landscape distinguished by curvilinear shapes and a substantial decrease in unnecessary pavement.

Bringing three distinct areas together required a simplification of the site grading and the addition of curvilinear stone walls as vertical elements around the periphery of the quadrangle. Pedestrian patterns were studied carefully, and walk locations, widths and alignments were designed to avoid desire lines through the lawns and plantings. Mature oaks, maples and pines were planted to enhance pedestrian scale and the feeling of an established learning environment. A new lighting system increased nighttime use and safety.

New seating for the quadrangle included benches designed by students from RIT’s art department. Planting and paving materials blend with the existing campus and allow the quadrangle to unify the surrounding areas with a distinct RIT character.

Dedicated in fall 2003, the new quadrangle integrates the adjacent buildings into the campus, and provides a more pleasant and functional environment for the RIT community.