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TRINITY UNIVERSITY

SAN ANTONIO, TX

The planned demolition and reconstruction of Northrup Hall, at the geographic center of campus, provided the opportunity for a clear gathering space at the heart of campus, built around an element already dear to Trinity students and alumni. Miller Fountain had enjoyed a place of prominence along Stadium Drive, the campus' front door, and was steeped in Trinity tradition. The lack of a campus heart, and the Miller Fountain tradition, formed the basis for a new campus plan and guided the development of the new Northrup Hall.

Original campus architect/planner O’Neil Ford’s environmental ethic was honored by the design team in allowing the existing majestic live oak trees to be shapers of the new campus and building plan. From most of the rooms inside the buildings, one gets the impression of being in a tree house set high in the treetops.

The Center for the Sciences and Innovation houses state of the art facilities, and the landscape contains science of its own. With a bioswale running through the center of the courtyard and underground cisterns used for the collection and reuse of rainwater, the site demonstrates how technology can affect the landscape. A roof terrace planted with native grasses and shrubs is both a native habitat and an outdoor lounge, overlooking the campus and the city beyond.

Rialto Studio consulted on landscape aspects of the campus design guidelines, which respect the historic fabric of this unique modernist campus while allowing the institution to grow.