The School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University

The School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University

MVVA’s design for the School of Computer Science landscape on Carnegie Mellon University’s West Campus, created alongside Mack Scogin Merrill Elam Architects’ design for the new Gates Center and Hillman Center buildings, transforms a former service space into an extension of the formal campus. Despite the extreme slope of the 5-acre site, the design resolves numerous infrastructural, academic, and social challenges while employing a robust planting strategy and expanding green space from 52,000 square feet to over 120,000 square feet.

A sculpted network of circulation and open spaces connects new and existing building entrances at multiple elevations, addresses service and parking needs, and integrates the complex with existing campus architecture and pathways.

Each landscape edge and planting strategy produces distinct campus microclimates. The southern landscape features a dense planting of black locusts, bordered by a hillside of unmown meadow that transitions to a manicured lawn over a 300-car garage.

On the west approach, large, sculptural umbrella pine trees lead into the intimate Winter Garden, Rain Garden, and Moss Garden, which lend seasonal color to the new courtyard.

Dramatic clumps of honey locusts and paths edged by a cascade of weeping forsythia mark the entry from Forbes Avenue.