Project Spotlight: New Landscape and Hardscape Design Improves Campus Entrance

Known for its beautiful arboretum campus, it only made sense that Haverford College wanted to elevate a prominent location with a new landscape and hardscape design.

The goal of this project was to visually enhance the Whitehead Campus Center entrance, while also improving access and wayfinding from the parking lot. Haverford College wanted to create a destination and a gathering place to welcome students.

A creative and collaborative approach

Our landscape architects and civil engineers sat down with the Haverford College Arboretum Director and members of their Facilities Department in 2018. They were wrapping up a roof and window repair project at the Campus Center. The entrance landscape, hardscape, and ADA improvements would be the final piece of this multi-phased renovation project.

Designing a sense of arrival and a gathering space with a new landscape and hardscape design

New landscape and hardscape design creates a sense of arrival welcoming people to Haverford College
New hardscape plaza creates a sense of arrival at Haverford College

Home to the Admissions Office, it was imperative to design a versatile and inviting plaza at the Campus Center to welcome prospective students and parents and make a positive first impression.

Design elements and site amenities incorporated in to the space include:

  • Seating wall
  • Plaza planters and plantings
  • Rain garden
  • ADA accessible ramps
  • Benches
  • Trees
  • Lighting
  • Signage
  • Bike rack
  • Adirondack chairs
A new hardscape and site elements create a gathering space for students at Haverford College
New site amenities create a gathering place

Sustainable site improvements

The increased hardscaping provides more gathering space. However, it also creates additional impervious surface. To balance this out, the site design incorporates responsible stormwater management methods. A rain garden, a bio-retention basin planted with native pants, used to catch and naturally filter rainwater, was placed front and center to be both functional and aesthetically pleasing. Overall, this stormwater management BMP provides many benefits to both the environment and campus maintenance.

Rain garden with native plants is both functional and aesthetically pleasing
New landscape design with a raingarden and native plants is both functional and aesthetically pleasing

The College’s arboretum staff performed an inventory of the existing trees to remove as part of the project and prepared a horticultural design that included new trees and vegetation to complement the plantings in the rain garden.

The design and approval process

The Campus Center entrance improvements involved the full range of Nave Newell expertise. Our landscape architects, who were involved from start to finish, ensured the vision of Haverford College was realized to maintain a serene yet dynamic campus. Our land surveyors captured the existing features to provide land planning with the information needed for a sketch plan to visualize the conceptual design. Nave Newell’s civil engineers then prepared the stormwater management design, erosion and sediment control, and grading permit plans for Haverford Township approval.

Impact of campus improvement projects

Schools are constantly looking to raise their stature. One way is to make a good first impression. Gateway projects range anywhere from a new landscape and hardscape design at a prominent intersection or building to a complete campus transformation.

For this project, the existing area was difficult to maintain. The existing landscape beds were overgrown and full of non-native ornamental plantings.

Approaching the Whitehead Campus Center entrance – before (left) and after (right)

In addition, the existing flagstone not only created a problem during snow removal, but also presented a tripping hazard to pedestrians. Aside from the environmental and safety benefits incorporated into the design, the overall landscape maintenance costs were also reduced with the new plaza and landscape.

The resulting transformation met the goals of the College and represents their commitment to a serene yet dynamic campus environment.

Aerial view of the new landscape and hardscape design at the Haverford College Whitehead Campus Center

Nave Newell has enjoyed working on the beautiful Haverford College campus since 2014.

Learn more about our other campus improvements projects.

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