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University of Rhode Island North District Plan

IBI Group provided landscape architecture services for the University of Rhode Island (URI) North District Plan, which creates distinct academic districts, strengthened campus spines, clear campus gateways, and additional quality campus open space.

University of Rhode Island
Kingston, RI

The URI North District Plan provides a cohesive design for three new science buildings being built among seven existing buildings to create a new sustainable image.

A previous master plan for the North District proved to be cost prohibitive to implement, so the design team for the district’s first new building, the Center for Biotechnology and Life Sciences (CBLS), was tasked with updating the North District master plan.

This provided the opportunity to explore stormwater management on a district-wide basis, rather than on a building-by-building basis. Impervious clay soils, steep slopes, and remaining buildings at different elevations presented interesting challenges to cohesive open space design, as well as perceptions of a new, informal rain garden aesthetic as different from the historic campus character dominated by open lawns and shade trees.

Our landscape architecture team advocated for a landscape-based stormwater management system, using positive models of successful rain gardens and detention ponds in visible locations to address the institution’s ecological, educational, aesthetic and identity objectives for the district.

IBI Group was involved in all three phases of the implementation of the North District Master Plan, beginning with the Center for Biotechnology and Life Sciences (2009), the College of Pharmacy (2012), and the Center for Chemical and Forensic Sciences (2016).

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