Guiding Principles for Campus Development at Swarthmore College

Draft: 2 September 1999

These principles and values were articulated during the North Campus Planning Process and since then have been influential or embraced by members of the College community in other planning efforts and construction projects. These are the values implied in the Science Center Project stated goal of "enhancing" the North Campus. Much of the wording comes directly from documents developed by the designers involved in the North Campus Plan, although for simplicity, quotation marks have not been used.

* A premium of importance is to be placed on creating spaces to stimulate informal interaction between students and faculty. An environment which is overwhelmingly casual, where everyone feels relaxed and "at home" is to be developed. The residential scale and suburban character of the campus should be honored; as opposed to developing the campus based on urban or corporate models.

* Reinforce and extend the central core and axis of Parrish Hall. Implement a visual framework including "landmarks" to integrate buildings, outdoor spaces and pathways and provide orientation on the North Campus.

* Create a pedestrian environment by removing the automobile from the center of North campus. Swarthmore is a walking campus; minimize the number of pedestrian barriers and general auto conflicts and provide simple direct paths to all important and highly used entrances. Provide perimeter vehicular circulation. Limited short term and special user parking shall be provided at strategic locations. Concurrent with this project, a clear hierarchy of paths and a clearly defined vocabulary of paving design was established for use campus wide.

*Integrate the proposed building sites within the existing campus fabric to create a comfortable fit. The traditions of buildings on campus include a compact and simple footprint, varied skylines created by shaped roofs and cornices, and integral connection to the surrounding landscape. Swarthmore is about stone; buildings which have deviated from this building material have been less successful in contributing to the overall design and integrity of the campus.

*The landscape is a key component of Swarthmore's campus environment and serves as the unifying element to integrate disparate styles of buildings. Capitalize on the interests and expertise of the Arboretum. Nature is to dominate the view and come integral to the daily campus functions. An important goal is to reinforce the significance of woodland to the Swarthmore campus. Open spaces are to be defined and developed as clearly identifiable spaces, each with its own characteristics.

*Provide security and convenience for daytime and nighttime users, particularly as they are affected by vehicular circulation and parking.

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last updated 11/18/99