By Roxanne Squires
ONTARIO, Canada — To commemorate the University of Windsor’s 50th anniversary, the school selected +VG Architects to create a campus master plan for the institution, bolstering a vision for the next 50 years.
The plan, originally presented in 2013, aims to enrich the student and community experience, update the campus atmosphere and make the university more competitive.
The master plan calls for new pedestrian pathways enhanced with lighting, landscaping and signage that will lead to various hubs of activity for recreation, cultural displays, water features and gathering spaces with seating.
The plan will also improve the sense of arrival on campus with gateway signage, welcoming points of interest and sought-after destinations reached through easily accessible entry points to help navigate the campus.
“We’re transforming the campus into more of a green space by weaving the formerly disconnected open spaces together to make a better, more cohesive campus environment,” says project architect Deb Westman, Senior Associate at +VG’s office in Brantford, Ont. “It was important to create a more student-centered campus environment with places for work, study and play.
Westman explained that parking lots were moved from the interior of the campus to new parking areas and structures on the perimeter, which makes the central campus more pedestrian- and student-friendly.
“We designed unique student-experience areas, including an outdoor stage for events, and custom furniture, called pods, for outdoor study and collaboration that support laptops with Wi-Fi and charging stations. They’re certainly getting used.”
Enhanced with lighting, landscaping and signage that lead to centers of activity for recreation, cultural displays, events and casual gathering spaces with seating, the route also creates places for future sculpture and gardens, linking with the riverfront Windsor Sculpture Park.
Aesthetically, +VG’s built work ranges from an elegant restrained style that complements the campus’s eclectic mix of period styles, to fanciful organic forms such as the so-called amoeba benches, according to the architects.
Stage three of the Phase 1 implementation is currently in progress.