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Acadia University | Nova Scotia, Canada

Unique botanical garden with native flora

As part of our ongoing work for the Irving Family in New Brunswick, the practice was asked to provide advice on the Acadia University Masterplan. A campus-wide review included re-evaluating pedestrian movement patterns, re-establishing building hierarchy and redefining key entrances. The coherence of the campus had been eroded by an ad hoc building programme over decades. Our strategy for the rationalisation of the external environment gave new legibility to the campus and gave rise to a series of disparate construction projects with associated new planting.

Following the successful completion of the campus re-evaluation and a further scheme involving the redesign of the Burial Ground in St John, the practice was commissioned jointly with Robert AM Stern Architects of New York, to design a new Environmental Science Centre and Botanical Garden for the University.

This unique project was conceived to raise awareness and study the natural plant ecology of the Acadia Forest region, which extends from Labrador to the coast of Maine. The botanical gardens were conceived on an Arcadian scale to work with the character of the research building. They contain only native plants and have pond, marsh, stream, bog, woodland and meadow habitats created within a parkland framework, all constructed from scratch on a former housing site.

Key features

  • Analysis and strategy for redefining university spaces and context
  • Creation of unique botanical garden
  • Natural environmental science resource

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