2015 marked the 50th anniversary of Simon Fraser University. An extensive Landscape Enhancement Plan was undertaken for the main Burnaby campus comprising over 50 landscape improvement projects.

E|G worked with Facilities Planning to identify and implement a design plan which was approved for funding in 2015 and completed by the spring of 2016.

Institutional spaces, gathering areas, new residential zones, and natural habitats were all thoughtfully designed to create unique and inviting spaces with an overarching unified concept that improves the overall function and aesthetics of the campus.

E|G also collaborated with a range of sub consultants, including lighting designers, structural engineers, and industrial designers to implement the various projects, which culminated in a thoughtful redesign of the Academic Quadrangle.

The Quadrangle is the park-like heart of the campus formed by the arrangement of Erickson’s concrete and cantilevered forms that create the space. Within it are a large pyramid-shaped mound and a planted bosque of trees. While these forms have been iconic symbols of the campus for decades, they had also become somewhat overgrown and forlorn spaces.

The campus and E|G worked together to bring these spaces back to their old glory. Beginning with a careful redesign of the entry to these spaces in the form of new stairs, paving and planting, the team then turned their attention to making the spaces more inviting spaces to sit, socialize and take in the stunning views of the campus.

The team hit upon the need to use site furnishing as way to make a more inviting space, by designing benches that were alluring from a distance, reminiscent of the character of the original architecture and flexible enough to allow people to sit, study, sleep or socialize.

Working with award-winning industrial designer Sholto Scruton we developed 3 meter long cantilevered stainless steel benches that accomplish our objectives almost perfectly. The benches, with their long wing-spans seem to hover over the pyramid, beckoning people to make the journey up the long concrete steps that now adorn the pyramid. The steps and concrete slabs work with the cantilevered forms of the benches to reference Erickson’s celebrated building.

In the Bosque the effect is more subtle. A gentle path wraps around a lawn berm leading students through the trees and into a secluded space surrounded by more than fifty Carpinus trees. Once inside, this miniature grove of trees provides a quiet and reflective space – respite from the bustle of campus. Here the benches, nearly 20 in all, are lined up end to end and in the shape of a square. The brushed stainless steel benches shine in the dappled shade of the bosque brightening and enlivening the space, which has quickly become a favourite spot for study.

Reinvigorating the quadrangle was both a wonderful opportunity and a challenge. Redesigning such an iconic space while also trying to balance the need for durability, cost and ease of maintenance was not easy. By collaborating with a local designer, we were able to provide a highly-customized design response for the site as well as specifying high quality materials meant to last a lifetime.

The end result was a reinvigorated public open space that creates a stunning addition to the university’s iconic academic quadrangle.

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