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Landscape / Open Space Framework

Landscape Vocabulary

The mature tree groves, expansive lawns, and planting beds give the campus a park-like quality, unexpected in this densely developed area of the city. The landscape of the Quad, in particular, with its towering trees, is far more memorable than the surrounding buildings.

The campus landscape is extremely well-maintained, with many colorful planted courtyards. A variety of flowering shrubs, hedges, and perennials can be found throughout the campus. The Fern Walk between Business and HSS is a particularly appealing space for its simplicity and scale.

Many different types of benches, trash receptacles and other site furnishings are found throughout the campus. The recent introduction of black metal bench and trash receptacles has begun to set a new, consistent vocabulary of campus furnishings. At the Fine Arts roof terrace, tables with sliding moveable benches offer a good example of universal design.

A single light fixture—an approximately 15-foot, pedestrian-scale globe fixture—is used consistently across the campus. Banner signage along the perimeter of campus begins to present a unified image. In general, however, the campus lacks a cohesive and adequate signage system. There is no identifiable “brand,” or overriding graphic clarity to help with wayfinding.

Asphalt is the dominant paving material throughout the campus. Unit pavers recently have been introduced at new improvement areas, such as the 19th Avenue entrance, in part because of their ease of maintenance. Concrete commonly is used at major courtyards and gathering spaces. Recently constructed projects use creative patterns and colors, such as at the Village. In general, the campus lacks a discernable hierarchy of materials that could aid with wayfinding and help to unify the campus.

Public art of varying scale is evident throughout the campus, mostly as placed objects; there are no examples of art integrated into the landscape. With SFSU’s creative emphasis and strong arts program, public art presents an excellent vehicle to express the University’s values and to enrich the campus.

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