Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


West Campus Master Plan and Helmick Commons

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Institution Name: Drake University
Original/Historic Place Name: West Campus Master Plan and Helmick Commons
Location on Campus: west central campus
Date(s) of Construction:
2002original construction Herbert Lewis Kruse Blunck Architecture
Designer: Herbert Lewis Kruse Blunck Architecture (Des Moines, IA)
Type of Place: Campus arrangement
Style: (Glossary)
Significance: architecture, landscape
Narrative: see below
References: see below
2002-present (2006)master plan (campus)
2002-present (2006)outdoor space (central open space on campus)

Drake University's campus landscape stands amongst the most revered modern architecture in the Midwest. The legends of Eliel and Eero Saarinen, as well as Mies Van der Rohe, silently possess the elegant details of the surrounding buildings. The campus's beauty grows out of a unique campus structure overlaying buildings, paths, and roads to preserve and subtly enhance the context of the surrounding urban neighborhood. In addition to its modern architecture, Drake University has fallen lost to the capabilities of its landscape to enhance and strengthen both the architecture history and the neighborhood environment.

The goals of this Master Plan are:

Build upon the strength of the architectural precedents.
Restore orienting devices.
Clarify the relationship with the architectural path and roads to the campus structure.

Herbert Lewis Kruse Blunck Architecture is working in collaboration with Anthony Tyznick, FASLA. This Master Plan will explore the understanding of this exceptional beauty of the campus and advocate its renewal.

Helmick Commons itself is the central open space in which other projects are located, bounded between Meredith Hall on the east and Hubbell Dining Hall/Olmsted Center on the west, from University Avenue to Forest Avenue. Bridging the academic side of the campus with the student union, dining hall, and residence halls, Helmick Commons was conceived as a more informal design for the students to support leisurely activities such as games, sport, relaxation, and other informal activities.


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Council of Independent Colleges
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Last update: November 2006