Friends University, Centennial Plaza

Wichita, Kansas

Landscape Architecture category

In 1995, a new administration took over at Friends University. One of its first major goals was to improve the appearance of the campus. Built in 1898, Davis Hall had long stood as an icon to higher learning in Wichita, but the rest of the campus had suffered from neglect. The architect was retained to develop a concept to link ADDITIONAL INFORMATIONFEATURED IN2000 Architectural PortfolioSUB CATEGORYLandscape Hall to the rest of the campus and the surrounding neighborhood, as well as create a grand entry to the campus. The result was a master-plan study for the campus, which prompted the removal of an intercampus street to create Centennial Plaza. The plaza is in front of the renovated Davis Hall building.

The goal of this plan, which included 4.4 acres of the campus, was to better integrate the historic buildings with the campus and reduce circulation conflicts. The study examined: Vehicle and pedestrian circulation; outside gathering/educational spaces; strengthening the visual connection between Davis Hall and adjacent neighborhoods; emergency-vehicle access to Davis Hall; seating areas; building connections; landscape lighting and planting.

A simplified linkage of walks connects the campus to the plaza. The university removed a campus street that led to the front door of the historic building and replaced it with a grand pedestrian entrance representative of the building’s period. The brick-paved circular design of Centennial Plaza was inspired by a stained-glass window inside the building’s auditorium.

Note: Area = 4.4 acres

Photographer: ©Gavin Peters and ©Steve Hauck