Sunday, December 04, 2005

A Masterful Charette

Day 3 of New College’s five day design charette was dedicated to neighborhoods and landscapes, as New College welcomed representatives from Indian Beach Sapphire Shores, the Uplands, Bayou Oaks and the Sarasota City Neighborhood Development Office to campus to discuss the development of our new campus master plan. [What was communicated?] Improve opportunities for neighbors to participate in cultural and arts events on campus, create more volunteer opportunities for neighbors to help beautify the campus and its environs, and continue to lead the way in developing pedestrian and bicycle friendly access throughout north Sarasota. The day ended with a seminar on campus ecology and landscaping.

This very successful Campus Master Plan Design Charette concluded on Friday, Dec 2, with an open meeting with all the community to present the results and the design concepts.

New College did an excellent job with this. The students, faculty, nearby neighborhoods and the wider community were engaged in the process. The design team listened to the community and in most cases immediately included the suggestion in the design.

The final design preserves the environment and preserves historic buildings while keeping a strong "higher education sense of place." The campus will become less automobile reliant and more pedestrian and bicycle friendly. Traffic calming techniques are proposed for the streets and roads within and around the campus. Restoring the natural environment of the bayfront and preserving the large quadrangle as a natural, canopied space will make this a unique and wonderful campus.

Some of the underlying principles used by the design team in this process included:
  • First look at the carrying capacity of the land - what can be done and how can it be done?
  • Design must be for a place of learning.
  • Architecture must be of this place (ie., Florida, not Michigan), it needs to be human scale.
  • The resulting landscape must be beautiful, yet retain envoronmental and economic values.
  • Design for mobility beyond the car.

This is a Master Plan for the next 50 years. While it is indeed difficult to envision changes that may occur during over this time frame, the design team, with input from the community made a strong statement about the direction for New College. We can all learn from this process.

The pictures and some of the text are from New College 's web site.

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