The Baumer Hall Landscape project aimed to transform the site surrounding a new residence hall located between existing residence halls, the northern edge of the bookstore, and open fields. Initially, the area suffered from limited visibility and poor vehicular connectivity to the main circulation on campus. The site design was undertaken to address these challenges, strengthen connections, organize the space, and create attractive outdoor areas for students. Emphasizing sustainable practices, the landscape selections were carefully chosen to minimize resource impact and harmonize with the existing campus environment.
The conceptual design objectives for the Baumer Hall Landscape project prioritized the creation of outdoor spaces that would nurture resident life, encourage interaction, and effectively serve as an extension of their living environment. A focal point of the design was an outdoor patio directly accessible from the student lounge, providing a dedicated space for grilling and socializing. Moreover, the north entrance featured a generous, flattened plinth area designed to accommodate gatherings and events, fostering a sense of community.
A key consideration for the Baumer Hall Landscape project was to ensure that the landscape and outdoor spaces seamlessly integrated with the campus aesthetic in terms of scale, materials, and organization. The design team developed the landscape to be in line with the characteristic features of other residence hall landscapes on campus while taking into account the site’s unique topography. To achieve water efficiency and adapt to the regional climate, plant materials were thoughtfully selected, and the landscape was organized into logical plant zones. Additionally, an ultra-efficient irrigation system was installed, promoting water conservation and responsiveness to the local climate.
Baumer Hall Site and Landscape Architecture, University of Notre Dame
The Baumer Hall Landscape project also placed great importance on providing ease of access and facilitating student movement throughout the area, ensuring the safety and long-term viability of the landscape and site improvements. The main east-west walkway was designed to accommodate emergency vehicle access and facilitate smooth move-in activities. Determining desired lines derived from this central walkway informed the placement of connecting walkways, optimizing accessibility and connectivity.
The hardscape elements incorporated a campus-standard brick-paved patio equipped with movable tables and chairs, creating an inviting space for students to gather and socialize. Complementing the patio, a campus-standard brick masonry grill was installed, further enhancing the outdoor experience. To create the plinthed front entrance space, masonry retaining walls and slope-embedded boulders were utilized. These boulder slopes, a common feature on campus, facilitated open drainage and allowed for the seamless integration of landscape installations.
Landscape plantings played a vital role in the project, enhancing the visual appeal and ecological sustainability of the site. The lawn consisted of rhizomatous fescue, chosen for its reduced water requirements compared to traditional bluegrass sod. Native plants and species adapted to the region formed the basis of the plant palette, promoting biodiversity and environmental suitability. Natural, shredded hardwood mulch was used to improve soil moisture retention and provide a cohesive appearance.
The patios were surrounded by a garden-style landscape, featuring a wide lawn panel that directly connected to the adjacent open space. To maintain an appropriate scale without excessive future maintenance, dwarf varieties of evergreens and shorter cultivars were strategically integrated into the design. Steel or aluminum edging was used to define the landscape bed edges, creating clean delineation and structural support.
A high-efficiency irrigation system was installed, seamlessly connecting to the University control system. This advanced system optimized water usage and enabled remote monitoring and control of irrigation schedules, contributing to the project’s sustainability goals.
The Baumer Hall Landscape project successfully transformed the site surrounding the new residence hall, creating an inviting and functional outdoor space that enhanced student life on campus. Through careful attention to resident interaction, aesthetic integration, accessibility, and sustainability, the landscape design fostered a sense of community, seamlessly blending with the existing campus environment.
- Enhanced Connectivity: Improve visibility and vehicular access.
- Engaging Outdoor Spaces: Foster interaction and resident life.
- Aesthetic Integration: Harmonize with campus aesthetics.
- Sustainable Landscape: Water-saving measures and regional plant selection.
- Convenient Circulation: Prioritize accessibility and safe movement.