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Goals and Principles :
We know from studies by Rachel and Stephen Kaplan of the University of Michigan that the landscape, whether cultivated or natural, strongly affects people's moods, behavior, ability to focus and ability to cope with everyday situations and human interactions. This research explains an interesting survey by the Carnegie Foundation fort he Advancement of Teaching entitled "How Do Students Choose a College?" This survey rated the campus visit as the most important factor in choosing a college. Sixty-two percent of those surveyed said that the appearance of the college grounds and buildings influenced them most during campus visits. The goals of all of our landscaping efforts have been to create places where peoples can interact with each other and with nature, places for reflection and study, pleasant places to walk through, and places that celebrate learning and expression of the human spirit.
Paul Rudolph, architect of our award winning campus, intended for education to extend beyond the indoor classroom setting. We too envision a campus landscape that provides places for formal and informal learning and gathering. At the same time, we try to make the campus more welcoming and "user friendly" by softening some of the hard concrete structures through landscaping. The Council Rings, benches near planted or natural vegetation and interesting plantings along walks and near gathering places help to humanize and soften the concrete of the campus buildings.
The positive reception of our landscape projects by members of the University community, as well as campus visitors, indicates a widespread acceptance of the importance of the physical and natural environment to the total educational, residential and working experiences of our students, faculty, staff and administrators. Principles: One of the University's greatest material and visual assets is the mosaic created by its strikingly original modern buildings set in a pastoral landscape of old stone walls and open fields. Recognizing the agricultural history of the University's land, improvements to the landscape have integrated the campus' bold architectural design with its agricultural history and the familiar New England landscape. This juxtaposition of formal architecture to natural settings has provided the guiding principle for landscape improvements to this campus.
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