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Monday, July 28, 2014
Campus Design Features
 
Campus Design Features
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This drawing represents the collected impressions of the campus planners, an attempt to distill the cogent features of the campus that contribute to its singular impression on visitors. The Hampden-Sydney College campus gives the impression of an historic place, well maintained, beloved by alumni. Some of the tangible elements of this generalized impression are detailed in the drawing.

As one approaches the campus, the surrounding forested lands form a lush backdrop, denoted by the light green indicating the extensive tree canopy. Entering the campus from the north to the main gates, a broad array of well-kept athletic and recreational fields, shown in bright green, are equally impressive. A formal, classical, ceremonial gate (shown by the violet colored symbols) further structures the approach into the campus from the north; there is no such formal gate at the southern approach. Sloping land, shown by the tan colored bars (running along the parallel with the direction of slopes), provides pleasant overviews and vistas throughout the campus. The Lawns in the academic core are toned dark green. Similarly, the Via Sacra streetscape is recognized by a green tone. Historic Register buildings are colored blue: Cushing Hall, Atkinson Hall, Penshurst, Venable Hall, Middlecourt. These and other College buildings are outlined in red, indicating particularly distinctive architecture, well-proportioned façades. The thematic architectural style of the campus is Collegiate Georgian, red brick structures with limestone trim, white-painted woodwork, dark green accents — a style evocative of Virginia in the period of the College's founding. Three outdoor gathering places are highlighted in bright yellow — the rear terrace of Cushing, the eastern terrace adjacent Graham, and the plaza at Settle Hall. All these elements contribute positively to the image and impression of the campus.

Not all aspects of any campus are positive, however. Low image or unaesthetic areas of the campus are marked on the drawing by the black hatching. These areas include the rear yards of the houses within Fraternity Circle, the premises and surrounds of the physical plant operations building, and the loading dock area of Settle Hall. The latter is particularly visible from all the surrounding College buildings in the academic core of the campus, as they lay upslope. It is not so much the dock that draws attention; it is screened effectively by a brick courtyard wall. The adjacent turn-around draws one's attention; it was designed for delivery vehicles and looks very like a road, with concrete paving and curbing and highway-engineered details such as drain grates and light posts. Pavement detailing more akin to the Settle Plaza area or the new Graham Hall terrace would improve this prospect. Banning of long-term parking in this focal view site would be a reasonable measure.