In 1999, the university selected Ayers/Saint/Gross, a
Baltimore-based architectural firm, to
help craft a much-needed new master plan for the Homewood campus.
The objectives of the plan,
drafted in 2000, were to make the campus more aesthetically
appealing while still accommodating
necessary services and to provide a compass that will guide the
look and shape of the university well
into the 21st century.
The plan identified three unique zones of the campus: the
natural western edge, the classic
Georgian core and the higher-density urban zone intermingled with
the Charles Village neighborhood.
It specified design guidelines, as well as landscape and building
implementation strategies consistent
with the characteristics of those three zones.
Seven years later, many of the plan's objectives have been
realized, well ahead of schedule, and
the campus has been literally transformed with new walkways,
buildings and entrance points.
Realizing this, the university felt now would be an
appropriate time to evaluate the master plan's
impact to date and to determine what updates would be needed
going into the future. The process of
data gathering began in April, and the university will soon be
ready to share some of its preliminary
observations and findings with division leadership and
This week, the university will host an hourlong town hall
meeting at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 30,
in Charles Commons. The meeting provides a forum to share the
university's efforts to date, get input,
listen to concerns and ideas, and have a discussion about how the
campus can better serve as an asset
from a physical planning perspective.
Mark Demshak, the university's director of architecture and
planning and a presenter at the
town hall meeting, said that now is the time to look at the 2000
plan and the progress the university
has made to align it with future opportunities and needs.
"We want to look at the studies we've done, property we've
acquired, buildings completed,
evaluate all the work of the past seven years. Then we'll take a
step back and see how all of this gets
incorporated into this updated plan," Demshak said. "We also want
to look at all the lessons learned
from implementing these projects and consider the original goals
and objectives. How have they
changed, and what needs to be considered going forward?"
The updated plan's four guiding principles are to make
sustainable and efficient use of natural
and built systems, preserve ultimate capacity through strategic
use of height and density, maintain
investment in the aesthetic character of the campus and
strengthen relationships throughout Greater
Homewood. The revised plan will likely deal with issues related
to capacity, sustainability, circulation,
the arts and student needs.
In order to guide the direction of the updated plan, Demshak
said that the university will
continue to gather information during the next several months and
meet with members of the campus
community and area residents. He said that he expects the final
plan to be drafted by early spring