Rutgers College Ave Campus

New Brunswick, New Jersey


Overall Campus Design Concept

Rutgers’" DNA –" a network of social, spatial and sustainable ecosystems – lacing together the disparate elements of the campus, reconnecting to the Raritan river and  New Brunswick neighborhoods, while reaching out and inviting in the other Rutgers campuses to become a self-sustaining hydrogen-powered community, thriving academically amidst a verdant panorama of interior and exterior gardens and gathering areas. Our vision for the Rutgers College Avenue Campus is a celebration of a clear sustainable ethic overlaid with a poetic and timeless encounter with the land and people of Rutgers University - an amalgam of landscape and architecture that weaves together myriad possibilities for academic/social encounter

A lush Riparian Park lifted up from the banks of the Raritan reconnects the campus to the River. A spatial extension of Voorhees Mall, steeped in a tradition of tall floodplain canopy trees of elm and oak, the Bow - gently arcs and rises through the campus, transitioning to a sugar maple upland, uniting Old Queens with New Queens mixed-use tower at the North end of College Avenue. The New Jersey brownstone Gateway building –- Rutgers Hearth - at Hamilton and College, with its interpretive gardens, urban forestry and agriculture honors the “Garden State” while the weathered zinc and copper new mixed-use tower alludes to the industrial history and future of New Jersey. History and Tradition are presented in new manifestations. One-way bus only traffic on a reduced width and pedestrianized College Avenue becomes part of the Stealth-Bee bus loop of hydrogen-powered buses/mobile lounges. Socially activated with new programming and infill and convenient bus stops (red zones), College Avenue, as linear plaza, becomes the connective, vibrant fabric of the CAC, linking the entire length of College Avenue to downtown New Brunswick. The phase two Causeway/Living Wedge is a 24/7  three-dimensional tapestry of interwoven function and social landscapes connecting the Raritan to College Avenue and the redeveloped 5th and 6th wards and Easton Avenue beyond. The Causeway/Living Wedge is the primary pedestrian tributary of five interpretive ecosystems, each planted with floodplain trees, connecting the Raritan River through the CAC campus to Easton Avenue. This is a long-term proposition, beginning with a roadmap of investigation and implementation to guide, facilitate and encourage vibrant future growth - a realized manifestation of specific Rutgers research initiatives.


Riparian Park

The Raritan riverbank, currently cut off from the CAC campus, is re-connected by turning Deiner Park into a riverfront oasis which reaches deep into the campus, literally connecting the river to College Avenue and beyond. Riparian tributaries weave toward points north, southeast and west, connecting pedestrian pathways of social promise to the academic, transportation and living hubs of the campus. At the heart of this lacy greenery is the sustainable ethos, harkening back to Rutgers origins as a College of Agriculture while simultaneously looking towards a future of wise stewardship.

Unlike the existing dormitories along the River, all rooms in the Causeway orient equally to Raritan views. The entire promenade along the sunny south face of the terraced Causeway is developed as a continuous gathering area with both intimate and large group seating areas, planted with spreading riparian trees, outdoor cafes and retail, as well as graduate, undergraduate and faculty meeting rooms and other academic functions.

Riverfront Dormitories and Causeway/Living Wedge.

Our proposal removes the three dormitories along the river to open up the area democratically for a shared campus/city Riparian Park. Overlooking the river, the Causeway/Living Wedge visually and spatially re-connects the campus with the Raritan River. The dormitories are replaced in the new Causeway/Living Wedge, a 24/7 tapestry of interwoven function, contains classrooms, faculty offices, residential blocks, dining, recreation and gathering areas and small scale retail. Social linkages, some elements of the decentralized student center reinvented as academic and community winter gardens, are the seeds of this new complex. The Causeway grabs on, physically and programmatically, to the existing College Avenue Gymnasium and Brower Commons, to become a perpendicular link between College Avenue and the Riparian Park. Bridging George Street and cantilevering over the Raritan, its fulcrum is the current power station, re-envisioned as a hydrogen production plant. This hovering mélange of volumes is anchored at College Avenue and George Street by strategic Red Zones on the bus loop.

At the nexus with Voorhees, a south-facing plaza augments the social mixing function of the Causeway while creating a critical green connection between Voorhees Mall, College Ave and the Riparian Park. To the north of the Causeway, the Living Wedge, a park and sports fields in commemoration of the historic Rutgers/Princeton game, becomes the dominant pedestrian tributary, alive with Riparian trees, extending from Easton Avenue through the campus to the River. Strengthening the connection between community, university, city and river, the academic and the everyday, the Living Wedge is populated with community activity: playgrounds, dog walks and urban gardens, and is envisioned as a catalyze for change in the 5th and 6th wards.

Parallel to the programmatic interweaving, the Causeway is a vertical interlacing of earth and sky. A series of social terraces and walks inhabits the south flank. Photovoltaic panels activate the south elevation and provide shade trellises. Gardens and rooftop agriculture minimize energy loss while creating livable, elevated spaces and supplementing New Jersey's abundant produce. The building pushes below grade to parking and a future transportation hub.


The Bow –- Voorhees Mall Extension

The gentle arc of The Bow extends from Old Queens to New Queens creating an important link from the past to the future, through recognition of the historic campus from its origin in the eighteenth century through expansion in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries to the major innovations of the early twenty-first century.  This extension would require the demolition of the main seminary building, Hurtado Health Center and Wessells Hall. All displaced Seminary program would be replaced on the Seminary site on either side of the new Bow axis. This not only unifies both ends of the CAC campus across the Seminary property, but also invites the Seminary to fully participate in the new vision. In contrast to the obvious formality of a linear axial view, the arc bends with surprise views and experiential qualities and transitions in its vegetative quality from the elms of the floodplain to the sugar maples, beech and oaks of the upland.


In association with the Olin Partnership