work underway on a water-discharge structure we designed for poor soil conditions
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site design and landscape architecture for St. Olaf College

site design and landscape architecture for St. Olaf College
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St. Olaf College
Northfield, Minnesota

St. Olaf College wanted to revitalize the historic Old Main section of its campus while building a new science complex that reflected its commitment to environmental sustainability. The school in Northfield, Minnesota, hired Barr to design an access road, parking areas, and grounds for this large-scale project.

To help preserve the maple and basswood forest and surrounding native oak savanna, we installed hillside retaining walls to prevent erosion and minimized the number of mature trees removed in building the roadway corridor. Instead of maintenance-intensive turf, we used trees, native grasses, and wildflowers to restore any disturbed areas.

To manage stormwater, we designed a system that is both educational and functional, displaying stormwater runoff as it is routed into a series of filtration and infiltration basins. The basins reduce the volume and improve the quality of runoff reaching the Cannon River.

The new science building earned the prestigious LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) platinum rating in 2009. At the time of its construction, it was the largest and most complex academic facility in the nation to do so.