2012 Awards

Design: Commercial and Institutional

Merit Award

Stanford University William H. Neukom Building
Office of Cheryl Barton, Cheryl Barton
Client: Stanford University

Crocker Garden, formerly a ground-level gathering space for the Law School, was re-purposed as a new ‘piazza’ that engages the building’s Rotunda.  It now accommodates daily student life as well as formal events and ceremonies.
Materials were carefully chosen for sustainable sourcing and content as well as their visual richness and tactility. Trellis, flooring, benches, tables and planters were constructed of sustainably harvested Ipe; pavers and flatwork feature recycled content.
The garden design took advantage of the building’s structural system as a spatial organizing device. Long, rectilinear skylights and planter boxes framed in stainless steel are employed to create intimate conversation spaces and provide ample daylight to the Law Library below.
A simple water feature—a collaboration between landscape architect and artist—uses recycled water to introduce a subtle sound element to the garden that is enhanced by the building’s stone cladding.
Three Swanhill (fruitless) olive trees in Ipe wood boxes invite visitors to manipulate the space.  Although each unit weighs over 2000 pounds, rubber wheels and a central track make it possible for one person to change a tree’s location.
With the olive trees moved to the margins, the Faculty Garden functions as a gathering space for catered events. Tables and group conversations occupy the expanded open area; smaller social groups converge in intimate garden spaces.
The verdant garden opens to a paved event area under an opening in the trellis canopy.  Robust vine species were chosen to rapidly scale the columns and enhance shade cover, reducing the heat island effect in Stanford’s Mediterranean climate.
Students are invited to shape their environment with ‘trees on wheels’ that can be moved to create sun or shade, enhance the privacy of seating areas, or expand the space for group events.
The Faculty Garden is a quiet outdoor refuge for students and faculty alike. The plant palette is ordered by the seasonal gradients of light falling on the terrace.
Broad pedestrian walkways integrate building and site, reconciling an awkward intersection of two historic axes. Enhanced pedestrian and bicycle connectivity within and through this campus precinct has been achieved. An open stairway in the rotunda invites the public up to the Faculty Garden.
The Neukom Building required a re-thinking of the existing Law School Campus organization and the creation of new connections to established axes and adjacent open space systems. The roof-top Faculty Garden became the social and visual focal point of the composition.
Site Plan showing the two historic axes resolved by the design, the re-purposed Crocker Garden, and the upper level Faculty Garden. Square trunk symbols indicate relocated and protected trees.

Retaining Stanford’s renowned ‘Arboretum’ landscape character was a major design determinant. This Garden is a quiet and intimate refuge for students and faculty, as well as a gathering place for groups and special events. Occupants are invited to shape their environment with ‘trees on wheels’ that can be moved to create sun or shade, enhance the privacy of particular seating areas,or expand the space for al fresco dining. This activity subtly re-acquaints users with the seasonality of their location.