San Fanandre Justin Architects
This project transforms a monumental 9-acre paved plaza into a remarkable icon for the SUNY Purchase campus. Due to a waterproofing project to protect storage and circulation spaces below the plaza, the surface of the deck became a candidate for a complete rethinking of the core public space of the campus.
MNLA's design creates a strong geometry based on circulation, campus destinations, and views that are brought into focus using sculpted landforms. The landforms define an angled circulation spine that mitigates the relentless corridors of the spatial composition. Some of these landscapes are occupiable, providing spaces where students can gather on sloping lawn plinths to view major performances; others are berms that screen blank walls using a seasonal planting palette. Academic building entries are articulated using a pixilated pattern of pavers to create subtle differentiation at each threshold space.
SUNY Purchase was founded by New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller in 1967 as "the cultural gem of the SUNY system."