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Landscape / Open Space Framework

The campus landscape is SFSU's most striking physical asset. Groves of towering Monterey Cypress and Monterey Pine and the verdant expanse of the Quad and valley give the campus its park-like character. Throughout the campus, in both major and small outdoor spaces, groves of mature trees provide a strong sense of enclosure and scale. Set against open playfields and lawns, they create the feeling of an urban oasis.

From the perimeter of campus, however, the quality of the landscape is not visible. Only when one enters well into the campus are the beauty and power of the landscape revealed.

Landscape Character
The campus landscape presents a variety of spaces, from open lawn and playfields to dense forest and sheltered courtyards. Open spaces are defined by building forms and tree masses.

Most "soft" open spaces identified in the accompanying diagram and photos are compositions of green lawn/playfields surrounded by mature trees. The Quad, with its lush green lawn and groves of mature trees, is the central open space and the heart of the academic core. Playfields in the valley are framed by dense tree masses that extend to Lake Merced, making a visual connection between the campus and lake and giving the campus a lush open feeling. Green lawn, rocks, tall trees, and water elements create a meditative space at the Garden of Remembrance.

Most of the "hard" open spaces identified in the diagram and photos are courtyards defined by the surrounding building edges. They are generally composed of small trees, flowering shrub beds, seating, paving, and other hardscape elements. Courtyards provide visual respite, but because most are shady, they are underused in the cold and foggy climate of southwest San Francisco. Malcolm X Plaza is a hard open space defined mostly by site elements, such as seat walls. The plaza is highly used because of its central academic core location, as well as its exposure to sun most of the day.

Map showing landscape character

Image graph showing landscape character

Image graph showing landscape character

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