Halvorson Design and Worcester Polytechnic Institute received the 2018 AIA Central Massachusetts Merit Award for the WPI Quad and Wedge Dining Terrace. These transformative projects were the first projects implemented in the conceptual framework plan also developed by Halvorson Design.
WPI’s Quad has always served as the center of its campus. Unfortunately, vehicular traffic and years of over-compaction had made it more of a mud bowl and less of an inviting green space. With parking and vehicular traffic relocated to a new below-deck garage on the perimeter of campus, space was made available to create a new campus green. WPI engaged Halvorson Design to create an accessible, student-friendly open green space that could be used for programmed and informal events and provide connectivity between campus buildings.
Historically, the Quad suffered from ponding, severe compaction and poor soil. A complete renovation of the existing topsoil was recommended and a sub-surface drainage system introduced to substantially reduce the problem, allowing for a more usable space.
The design team incorporated a creative mix of paving types, wall materials and surfaces, seating arrangements and styles, decorative and security-minded lighting and native tree and shrub plantings. An expanded high-use lawn area, new engraved brick paths offering fundraising opportunities, large caliper White Oaks that mimic the crimson school colors in the fall, solar powered lights, and multiple seating options at the Wedge Dining Terrace are just some of the highlights of the redesigned Quadrangle.
Since opening, the Wedge has become a new active space and the redesigned Quad has been re-established as a center for student activity. The area was transformed from a once vehicular-dominated, tired space to a welcoming campus green suitable for a variety of educational and recreational activities.