The W. R. Davies Student Center serves as a community hub and metaphorically unites a campus that is physically divided by a 105-acre bluff. The project addressed the need for expanded food service, retail operations, event rooms, lounges and administrative services on campus.
The site design concept drew from the ebb and flow of water in the adjacent Little Niagara Creek and nearby Chippewa River. Hierarchical circulation routes were designed to thread through intimate gathering nodes, dining plazas and outdoor performance spaces. Landscape Architects at Saiki Design developed a design that includes three bridge crossings of Little Niagara Creek, a stone amphitheater, a campus quad space and a series of bioretention basins for stormwater infiltration. Extraordinary tree protection and landscape restoration plans were implemented to preserve a culturally significant Council Oak tree.
A 5,500 square foot green roof was as integral part of the project and designed to moderate building temperatures and stage stormwater. Saiki Design crafted a green roof plan that integrates plantings and pathways with a tiered rooftop plaza to engage students in sustainable design and provide overlooks that highlight the beauty of lower campus landscapes. The rooftop amenity space includes a semi-intensive green roof system with paver pathways and patio spaces that provide additional outdoor leisure and learning environments. Perennial plants such as prickly pear cactus, ornamental chives, and native grasses were planted through a sedum mat into areas ranging from 5-inches to 9-inches of growing media depth.