- 2007 Merit Award for Excellence in Planning for an Established Campus from the Society for College and University Planning and the American Institute of Architects
Occidental College is perhaps best known for its most famous alumnus: Barack Obama. The college is a liberal arts institution nestled in a scenic hillside area and ringed by single-family homes. Occidental’s goals for its 20-year master plan included obtaining entitlements for its expected growth, establishing a more positive relationship with its neighbors, sustainability, and caring for a group of original historic buildings by renowned architect Myron Hunt.
Patrick Siegman directed the plan’s transportation component while a principal at Nelson\Nygaard, as part of a team led by Moule and Polyzoides. The plan sensitively accommodates nearly 600,000 square feet of new building space. To create a harmonious environment, most of the campus is converted into a pedestrian zone. Small, inefficient parking lots become building sites, courtyards, and gardens. Access roads become promenades, open only to service vehicles.
To achieve this, the plan adopts a low-traffic strategy. Campus housing, carshare and bikeshare programs, free transit passes, bicycle facilities, parking cash-out and other commute benefits for campus affiliates will minimize parking demand, vehicle trips, and pollution. Remaining parking demand will be accommodated in one or two intercept garages. Their entries will be at the campus edges closest to major roads, eliminating much of the traffic that currently flows past neighbors’ homes and into the heart of campus.
The plan’s commitment to sustainability and historic preservation earned it the 2007 Merit Award for Excellence in Planning for an Established Campus from the Society for College and University Planning and the American Institute of Architects. New buildings and greens, including an NCAA tournament-standard tennis center and pool complex, have begun replacing excess parking.
Images courtesy of Moule and Polyzoides