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Syracuse University, Watson Hall Courtyard


Syracuse, NY


22,500 sf

Site improvements for Watson Hall, 460-student residence hall on the Syracuse University campus, are part of a campus-wide initiative enhancing the collegiate experience. This design was chosen out of five potential concepts with various proposed amenities. The final project incorporates:

  • a variety of walkways, around and through usable open space for lawn games and social events;

  • seating walls, tables, benches, bicycle racks and pedestrian lighting;

  • fire pit; and,

  • heavy landscaping to screen views into ground level student rooms and soften the surrounding four-story building walls.

A design limitation was the north portion of the courtyard, which has a subsurface building space beneath it. The solution was a new green roof approach with a patio area and sedum/ornamental grass planting beds over the roof structure. Consistent with sustainable site design practices, drought tolerant plant materials and permeable pavements reduce maintenance requirements and mitigate storm water runoff quantity and quality.

The large courtyard is secured and bordered on all sides by the building wings, except for one service portal underneath the south. This restricts vehicular access for construction equipment, spoils removal, and the design for long-term maintenance which in turn affected schedule constraints and selection of materials.

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