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Marist College, Poughkeepsie, New York

Landscape Architecture by IQ Landscape Architects P.C.





Marist College, a private school in Poughkeepsie, New York, established on 200 acres adjacent to the Hudson River, has been transformed by infrastructure and landscape upgrades in recent years to accommodate the college's expanding student population. Improvements include new athletic fields, plantings, walkways, and a pedestrian underpass that connects sections of the campus on opposing sides of a main thoroughfare.


Marist College is a 200-acre campus that overlooks the Hudson River in Poughkeepsie, New York, at the heart of the historic Hudson Valley. The school, founded in 1929 on the grounds of what was a private estate, still retains much of the pastoral landscape associated with many of the nearby historic estates on the Hudson River, including Olana (Fredrick Church), Locust Grove (Samuel Morse) and Montgomery Place (Livingston family).

 




Wide paths create passages for students traversing between the east and west campuses. A majority of the campus walks are constructed of reinforced concrete, and globe-shaped light fixtures with metal halide bulbs (Hadco) illuminate the paths at night.



Due to Marist's tremendous growth over the past four decades, which has boosted enrollment to more than 6,000 current students, the college purchased land east of Route 9, a heavily traveled state road that defined the western edge of the original campus. The land was developed to address the increasing demand for student housing, parking and athletic facilities. Dennis Murray, president of Marist for the last 35 years, set out to preserve and reinforce the distinct landscape character and scenic views of the Hudson, while balancing the need for new academic buildings and student housing on campus.

For many years, students had to cross Route 9 to get to their classrooms. Although crosswalks, traffic signals and timed pedestrian crossing signals were installed, the condition bifurcated the campus, presented safety concerns, and stalled traffic on the roadway. Marist College and New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) recognized this as an issue and developed a solution - a pedestrian underpass that would connect the east and west campuses.

 




Route 9, a busy state highway that runs between the original western edge of campus (A) and the Hudson River, underlines Marist College from above. Property procured by the school on the east side (B) of Route 9 meant that the road now divided the campus, presented safety concerns, and hindered vehicles passing the college. Crosswalks and a pedestrian-only traffic signal were installed, but the school and state officials wanted a safer and more efficient alternative.



Underpass & Walkways
The facades of the underpass are clad with New York State granite, and feature limestone copings and brick arch surrounds. 'Leather Leaf' viburnum, bayberry and itea are among the hardy plants used to buffer Route 9. More than 500 drift roses were planted on the embankments, framing the archways and adding a mass of color for much of the year.

 




The facades of the underpass are clad with New York State granite, and feature limestone copings, brick arch surrounds and iron fencing (Boundary Fence). Plantings like 'Leather Leaf' viburnum, bayberry and itea were installed as a buffer between campus areas and Route 9. More than 500 drift roses were planted on the embankments, framing the archways and adding a mass of color for much of the year.



IQ Landscape Architects, P.C., a White Plains, NY-based firm, has served as the landscape architect for Marist College for the past eight years, and developed wide paths to improve pedestrian links between academic buildings and student dorms. A large crescent shaped walkway filters masses of students between the east and west campuses. A majority of the walkways are constructed of reinforced concrete, a clean, durable and relatively low-maintenance paving surface. The walks vary in width, from a minimum of 8 feet to a maximum of 14 feet at areas where emergency vehicles require access. Special campus nodes, such as building entrances, courtyards, and overlooks are the exception, and have a combination of New York State quarried bluestone and clay brick pavers.

 




Marist and New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) developed a plan for an underpass that connected the east and west campuses, eliminating the need for the pedestrian traffic signal. The underpass was completed in the summer of 2011.



Hancock Center Quadrangle
A design for a new quadrangle was implemented on the site of a former parking lot. Walkways were integrated with large, sweeping lawn areas and informal student gathering spaces. The new quad is anchored to the west by a new and iconic academic building, The Hancock Technology Center, designed by Robert A.M. Stern Architects. The newly constructed center was built on a high bluff, surrounded by preserved stone outcroppings. A new roadway was also designed to front the Hancock Center, linking the north section of the campus with the core. Fifty Princeton elm trees line the new drive, while adjacent parking lots are buffered with earth berms planted with white pine and Norway spruce. The quad itself is informally planted with a mix of shade trees, including red maple, English oak, pin oak and London plane, as well as flowering trees like the Yoshino cherry and flowering dogwood. A reconfiguration of existing parking lots restored parking spaces dislocated by the new construction at more desirable areas on the campus perimeter. A terrace chiseled out of the rock at the rear of the building overlooks the river, and is planted with native and drought tolerant plants like mountain laurel, flowering dogwood, switchgrass, black-eyed Susan and bayberry.

 




New walkways vary in width, from a minimum of 8 feet to a maximum of 14 feet at areas where emergency vehicles require access. Special campus nodes, such as building entrances, courtyards, and overlooks are the exception, and have a combination of New York State quarried bluestone and clay brick pavers.



Greystone Hall Terrace & Longview Park
The design team also addressed smaller, more intimate campus spaces. One such space is adjacent to Greystone Hall, one of the original buildings on the estate, where the President and administrative offices are located. A terrace with a shade garden offers respite for staff members, surrounded by a grove of mature hemlock and spruce trees. The majority of Marist College campus sits high on a bluff overlooking the Hudson River. The college is fortunate, though, to own a parcel of waterfront land known as Longview Park. An esplanade and fishing pier can be found in the park, and two historic boathouses also grace the riverfront, once the site of the IRA National Championship Regatta at the turn of the century. The vision for Longview Park was simple: respect the scenic vistas with a restrained design that left the views unobstructed. To the north, the park offers unsurpassed views of the Hudson Highlands; to the south, visitors can view the Poughkeepsie Highland Railroad Bridge, the longest pedestrian bridge in the world. An overlook pavilion, designed by Jay Hibbs Architects at the high point of the park, provides for a quiet destination to take in the dramatic views.

 




A large pergola spans 250 feet, creating a gateway for the outdoor tennis complex and a structural edge for the courts. Stainless steel cables support wisteria vines that offer a natural shade canopy. The teak benches, supported by 3' x 5' thermal finish bluestone pavers, create niches for viewing tennis matches.



Recreation Facilities
Marist is home to nearly two-dozen varsity sports teams known collectively as the Red Foxes, and offers many opportunities for students to participate in athletics on all levels. The newly constructed Tenney Stadium - designed by Skidmore Owings and Merrill LLP - and Leonidoff Field encompass a state of the art facility that accommodates Marist's football, lacrosse, and soccer teams. The stadium seating faces the majestic Hudson to the west, and a berm constructed at the west side of the field provides informal amphitheater type seating and screens the adjacent campus road. The berm is planted with red maples, ablaze in fall color during the height of the football season. The outdoor tennis complex for Marist College is located on the east campus and includes eight courts. A large pergola structure, spanning 250 feet, creates a gateway for the area and a natural edge for the courts. Stainless steel cables help support wisteria vines creating a natural shade canopy. Teak benches supported by 3'x5' thermal finish bluestone pavers create viewing niches for watching tennis matches.

 




The college owns 12 acres of land overlooking the Hudson, known as Longview Park, which contains an esplanade, fishing pier and two restored historic boathouses. An overlook pavilion, designed by Jay Hibbs Architects at the park's high point, provides a quiet locale to enjoy the dramatic views.



Campus Design
A consistent design vocabulary was established early for the campus and followed rigidly as new projects arose. Granite quarried in New York State is used almost exclusively for cladding on many of the newer buildings constructed on campus, and is the recommended material for other site elements, including retaining walls, seat walls, and trash dumpster enclosures. Concrete is used extensively for walkways on campus, but native New York State thermal finish bluestone and clay brick provide alternative pavements where a more decorative hardscape treatment was desired.




A terrace adjacent to Greystone Hall, location of the college president's office and one of the campus's original buildings, includes a shade garden surrounded by a grove of mature spruce and hemlock trees.



The plant palette at Marist College is diverse. Dominant trees planted on campus include, red maple, sugar maple, red oak, English oak and Princeton elm. Yoshino cherry, aristocrat pear and flowering dogwood were recommended for their bloom time, which coincides with the school's graduation schedule.

Marist has instituted best management practices over the last several years to meet New York Department of Environmental Conservation (NYDEC) requirements for stormwater management and promote sustainability on campus. The new techniques include the installation of extensive green roofs on the newer buildings, as well as rain gardens adjacent to new facilities and parking lots. A mix of shrubs and herbaceous plants used in the rain gardens include switchgrass, Joe-pyeweed, blue flag, soft rush, bayberry, inkberry and winterberry. The plantings have thrived and become a part of the new interpretative landscape features on campus.

 




The newly constructed Tenney Stadium and Leonidoff Field comprise an athletic complex that accommodates Marist's football, lacrosse, and soccer teams. The stadium seating faces the Hudson River to the west; a berm at the west side of the field provides informal amphitheater type seating and screens the adjacent campus road. Red maples along the berm bloom during the fall football season.



New Developments
Several new developments are planned for Marist's future, including new dormitories at the northwest section of campus to keep up with the demand for new student housing. New amenities associated with the project include a significant two-acre student commons, riverfront overlooks, and outdoor dining and barbecue areas oriented toward the river. Multi-purpose sports courts will also be implemented, reflecting the college's commitment to student fitness and wellness.

Team List
Client: Marist College
President: Dr. Dennis J. Murray
Director of Phyiscal Plant: Justin Butwell, P.E.
Landscape Architect: IQ Landscape Architects PC
Architects:
Robert A.M. Stern Architects LLP Hancock Center/Route 9 Underpass/Student Center
Arthur Jay Hibbs Architects Longview Park Pavilion
Skidmore Owings, Merrill LLP Tenney Stadium/Tennis Complex
Civil Engineer: Rohde, Soyka and Andrews







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August 23, 2019, 1:32 pm PDT

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