Health Sciences Campus Landscape Master Plan

Health Sciences Campus Landscape Master Plan

Client University of Southern California

The University of Southern California’s 79-acre Health Sciences Campus (HSC) is located seven miles northeast of the University Park Campus, three miles northeast of downtown Los Angeles. It is a major center for biomedical research, especially in the fields of cancer, gene therapy, the neurosciences and transplantation biology.

The growing needs and vision for the campus lead to the recent completion of a Campus Master Plan. The Master Plan is intended to be both a framework and a roadmap that will assist the university in guiding physical development for the next 25 to 30 years. The plan identified goals for the campus that focus on the student and patient experience, as well as improvements to the built environment, so that the high quality reputation of the existing programs on site will be mirrored by the physical amenities of the campus. Another goal was that the plan be flexible and adaptable, allowing for the incremental physical growth of the campus in an economically feasible and sustainable manner.

RELM developed the landscape design component for the Plan. The primary strategy of the landscape design was to develop the campus as a vibrant and cohesive pedestrian environment. This included improving wayfinding, providing adequate pedestrian lighting, enhancing and preserving views, creating outdoor meeting places with adequate and inviting seating, and preserving open space. Another primary goal of the landscape design was to use the groundfloor plane as a means to emphasize the USC brand, creating a unifying campus character and strengthen the sense of place. Developing a sustainable landscape strategy was also key. In addition to creating high-quality and distinct precincts within the overall plan, the ‘connective tissue’ comprised of the sidewalks and streets, was equally important. Therefore, the Master Plan seeks to establish a consistent and recognizable pattern of connections through a thoughtful system of streetscape typologies made up of a kit of parts including paving, planting, street trees, and furnishings.

Watercolor renderings by Ayers Saint Gross.