Merit Award Winner
Project Name: UW-Madison Fieldhouse Plaza & Athletic Campus Improvements
Location: Madison, Wisconsin
Design Team: SmithGroup
The epicenter of 100,000+ energetic UW-Madison football fans, Camp Randall Stadium and the surrounding athletic campus becomes the 5th largest Wisconsin city on football game days. Over many years, the university has engaged a team of landscape architects to improve site circulation, enhance campus and local character, and partner in historic structure reinvestment projects.
As part of the athletic campus, the stadium and fieldhouse sites accommodate over 100,000 students and fans on game day. The other 358 days a year, the sites cater to a much smaller population circulating through campus while also using the site as a “front porch” for the UW-Madison campus. The site includes an extensive area from the south Fieldhouse Plaza to the north stadium concourse, Athletic Mall (multi-use lawn) and traverses steep terrain and abrupt elevation changes across many of these sites.
The stadium and fieldhouse are historic and iconic fixtures for the University, the city, and the state. Built in 1917 on the grounds of a Civil War military camp, Camp Randall is the 4th oldest public stadium in the country. Expansions over the years squeezed pedestrian spaces into caverns and were left in shadows. This project takes the site back for pedestrians and celebrates the user experiences outside of the stadium.
The fieldhouse was constructed in 1930 and is on the National Register of Historic Places. Over the years age, neglect, and ‘progress’ left the grandeur and stateliness of the fieldhouse in the past. This project gave a much-needed facelift to the fieldhouse south plaza. A new campus gateway monument sign was erected and failing retaining walls and the historic grand staircase were reconstructed and accentuated by a new pedestrian centric plaza, terraced seating, landscaping, and fresh streetscape.
Practice Field: It’s hard to program for everyone but the landscape architect carefully considered them all. The lawn spaces (practice field and the new Athletic Mall) are designed to withstand extremely heavy use and lots of traffic. A special high sand, low organic volume soil mix was specially designed to tolerate heavy use and resist compaction. Combined with efficient irrigation, these lawns stay green and don’t show signs of wear.
Campus Gateway: The street corner of Breese Terrace and Regent is a primary arrival point when approaching campus from the west. The fieldhouse and stadium provide an awe-inspiring portrait of collegiate life and what it means to be a Badger. The corner also happened to be the location of a controversial sculpture featuring an obelisk of footballs. Highly contested and debated by many, UW-Madison wanted to do better. The landscape architect re-envisioned the corner adding a gateway monument sign and welcome plaza, a much-improved frame for the grand fieldhouse and stadium!
Terrace Walls: The terraced walls feature a subtle tribute paying homage to a long-time tradition of University sporting events, the singing of the time treasured alma mater song, 'Varsity'. The lyrics are carved into the precast blocks that also provide a seating and gathering area for students and the visitors.