Dalhousie University Bicentennial Common

Dalhousie University Bicentennial Common

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An activated environment for social interaction

The life of a university student is a time of growth, exploration, and challenge. A student’s higher-education experience will be a memorable one. There is a sense of pride associated with the institution, the instructors, even campus life. The day-to-day life of a university student, however, may seem hectic; filled with commutes, classes, extra-curricular activities, meetings, and study. The campus environment must support these movements, study, work, play, and should provide moments of respite, even delight, for students.

Dalhousie University, founded in 1818, is one of Canada’s oldest universities and the largest research university in Atlantic Canada. In Fall of 2018 Fathom Studio was retained by Dalhousie University to develop a schematic design for the Bicentennial Common and Formal Quad, a legacy project for the University's 200th year. Situated at the heart of Dalhousie’s main Studley Campus, the goal was to transform the space to inspire people to stay and engage with the environment and with each other. The vision of Bicentennial Common and Formal Quad is to provide an activated outdoor environment for academic, recreation, and social interactions that enrich student life on a day-to-day basis. 

This project involved significant consultation with stakeholders from Dalhousie University including students, faculty, and administration; as well as an ongoing tactical "Lighter, Quicker, Cheaper" phase in order to test the ideas put forward in the design before permanent implementation. With careful consideration of  the dynamic of pedestrian flows, small gathering spaces, flexible open areas, as well as attention to detail and materiality, The Bicentennial Common and Formal Quad will collectively work together to communicate the 200 year history of Dalhousie University and situate it as a forward thinking institution, which celebrates diversity and fosters innovation 

STATUS

Completed in 2019

TYPE

Landscape Architecture, Interpretive Planning

CLIENT

Dalhousie University

LOCATION

Halifax, Nova Scotia

STUDENT POPULATION

19,000

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CELEBRATION OF CULTURE At the heart of the common, the Ceremonial Circle one of many interculturally inclusive spaces found in the Biccentential Commons.The circle is intended to be graphically dense and symbolically rich, yet sufficiently non-denominational and multi-cultural that groups will feel they're at home and connected to their own culture.

CELEBRATION OF CULTURE
At the heart of the common, the Ceremonial Circle one of many interculturally inclusive spaces found in the Biccentential Commons.The circle is intended to be graphically dense and symbolically rich, yet sufficiently non-denominational and multi-cultural that groups will feel they're at home and connected to their own culture.

ACTIVE SPACES The common is now designed to be a venue for the Dalhousie Community to engage in events of all sizes including outdoor study, concert, rallies, recreation, art installations and relaxation.

ACTIVE SPACES
The common is now designed to be a venue for the Dalhousie Community to engage in events of all sizes including outdoor study, concert, rallies, recreation, art installations and relaxation.

MORE THAN MEETS THE EYE The Killam Library Podium will be transformed into a green roof space that will provide additional space for programming it will also assist in stormwater management.

MORE THAN MEETS THE EYE
The Killam Library Podium will be transformed into a green roof space that will provide additional space for programming it will also assist in stormwater management.

CREATING A LEGACY The Bicentennial Common design celebrates both Dalhousie’s past while providing the community with a space that will enrich their lives for many years to come.

CREATING A LEGACY
The Bicentennial Common design celebrates both Dalhousie’s past while providing the community with a space that will enrich their lives for many years to come.