Russell Sage College, a private woman’s college located in the historic district of Troy, New York seeks to upgrade a seldom-used outdoor area.  Todd Haiman Landscape Design envisioned creating a destination with a sense of place, a meeting point on campus, a choice gathering space for students, faculty and administrators. 

The space is on-structure, sitting above the Ferry Street tunnel.  Working with the existing concrete planters we proposed to transform with visual complexity, middle grounds and integrative functions. Composite pavers float above the new concrete grade providing stormwater management. The existing concrete planters, were refaced with a stone exterior that mirrors the vocabulary and architectural style of the school, articulating itself to the pre-existing aesthetic. Installing ornamental ironwork with the addition of a gate draws on the historical context, establishes the space by enclosing it, and continues the vocabulary of the Victorian cast ironwork on many buildings on campus.  Seating choices created flexibility and ownership of space among the users, were more conducive to sociability and the ability to complete schoolwork. 

We have chosen native plant material representative of the region with multi-season interest; playing particular attention to orchestrating flowers and plant coloration to times of year when students are on campus.  There is the opportunity to "bring nature in", addressing the courtyard as a conduit of nature with inspiration from the contextual, surrounding woodland-edge landscape.  Just as important is the opportunity for an academic institution to educate, providing an example of biodiversity through the creation of an ecosystem-sustaining matrix of plant material and the associated insects and birds.

The garden was recently dedicated. We are now continuing our work on other areas of the campus.

© Todd Haiman Landscape Design