Stanford Main Quadrangle

The Main Quadrangle remains the focal point of the Stanford University campus. (L.A. Cicero)

Transforming places & spaces

Positioning the university physically for the work of the future

Olmsted original plan

Frederick Law Olmsted's original master plan for Stanford University.

Stanford University is well positioned to do the work of this century, as a result of unprecedented and transformative campus development, much of which was completed in the past year. Although the challenging global economy affected some capital projects and every project was examined for ways to save on expenses, completing these facilities and resources remained a priority. Pioneering advances in knowledge and the education of students require facilities to enable that work.

Stanford University is renowned for its sense of place. When Jane and Leland Stanford hired Frederick Law Olmsted to plan the new campus more than a century ago, they had a clear vision for the university: It was to be both a memorial for their son and a university that would serve generations of young people and inspire them to make a difference far into the future.

The Olmsted master plan was forward-looking: It showed a formal, palm-lined entry leading to a Main Quad, banked by a series of quads to be developed in the future. Today, the red-tiled sandstone buildings on the Main Quad still stand, and the strong axes and quadrangles of the original plan provide an organizing principle around which the university is developing academic precincts to encourage multidisciplinary collaboration in this century.

With 38 major projects completed and a number of other facilities in various stages of construction, 2010 has been distinguished by the campus’ transformation. Some of the year’s new spaces are detailed below.

President John Hennessy presented his annual address to the Academic Council in two of Stanford's newest buildings – one devoted to the study of economic policy and the other to engineering.

On the east end of campus

The John A. and Cynthia Fry Gunn Building is the new home of the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research. Located at the intersection of Galvez Street and Memorial Way, next to the Landau Economics Building, the Gunn Building is situated to become the premier training ground for young economists.

The new center for the Graduate School of Business is being constructed a few blocks from the Gunn Building and will anchor the east end of campus. Scheduled to open in 2011, the Knight Management Center consists of eight buildings surrounding three outdoor areas. Its flexible teaching and meeting spaces will provide a strong base for the business curriculum and support partnerships with the rest of the university.

Entering campus from El Camino Real

The new Stanford Visitor Center on the corner of Galvez Street and Campus Drive East opened its doors in February and is expected to serve more than 100,000 visitors annually. Formerly the home of the Track House Sport Shop—which has moved to a nearby building and is now known as the Stanford Athletics Shop—the red brick building was renovated to welcome visitors and educate them about the university through a variety of means, including interactive kiosks.

The Bing Concert Hall is being constructed off Palm Drive next to Frost Amphitheater on the original site of the men’s gymnasium felled in the 1906 earthquake. Designed by a distinguished team that includes Ennead Architects (formerly the Polshek Partnership), designers of the renovated Cantor Arts Center as well as New York’s Carnegie Hall, and Yasuhisa Toyota of Nagata Acoustics, whose work includes the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, the Bing Concert Hall will feature a terraced “vineyard design” as well as indoor and outdoor spaces to encourage gatherings before and after performances.

West of the Main Quad

The original Olmsted plan called for a series of quads. The Science and Engineering Quad extends the east-west axis and links the Main Quad with the Clark Center to the north, facilitating collaborations among people from different parts of campus.

Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering Building

The view of the Science and Engineering Quadrangle from the Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering Building. (Cindy Pearson)

The Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering Building, dedicated in September 2010, anchors the southeast corner of the Science and Engineering Quad and will encourage Stanford’s engineering faculty and students to work more closely with colleagues in environmental studies, nanoscience, bioengineering and chemistry, as well as the medical campus. The Huang Building is the new hub for the School of Engineering and houses faculty and students from the Department of Management Science and Engineering, the Institute for Computational and Mathematical Engineering and the Stanford Technology Ventures Program.

On the medical campus

To mark its second century, the School of Medicine developed a master plan, featuring a Discovery Walk that serves as an organizing principle and connects all of the school’s buildings, including the new Li Ka Shing Center for Learning and Knowledge, to the Clark Center and will eventually lead to the Biology and Chemistry district.

The Li Ka Shing Center for Learning and Knowledge opened in mid-year and is expected to transform medical education. It advances a new model for educating clinicians and scientists, by bringing together latest practices with state-of-the-art technology such as robotics and virtual reality.

The Lorry I. Lokey Stem Cell Research Building, completed in the fall, is the home of the Stanford Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine. Stanford researchers participated in the planning of the 200,000 square-foot facility, which has 33 research labs and more than 500 research benches. The laboratories are designed as integrated “neighborhoods” incorporating both public spaces for collaborative work and quiet spaces for reflection.

In the southeast corner of campus

The Munger Graduate Residence consists of five buildings located near the Law School and provides a living-and-learning environment for graduate students in all disciplines that enables the multidisciplinary work being done campus-wide. The William H. Rehnquist Courtyard, located in the center of the Munger Residence, provides additional opportunities for interaction.

Construction of the Munger Graduate Residence enabled the university to renovate the previously graduate student residences, Crothers and Crothers Memorial, to provide housing for 375 undergraduates.

The new Law School academic building is in the planning stages and will occupy the site of what was Kresge Auditorium, just behind the Crown Quadrangle. Crown was built 35 years ago, and the increased number of law faculty and clinics, as well as collaborations with different programs and centers throughout the university, requires additional and more flexible meeting spaces, faculty offices, conference rooms and classrooms.

In the center of campus

The Lorry I. Lokey Stanford Daily Building, located next to the renovated old Student Union on the corner of Duena Street and Panama Mall, provides a new two-story home for the student newspaper that is a light-filled mix of the historical and modern. The newsroom is located on the second floor, with offices and conference room downstairs.

George Kembel, executive director of the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design, offers a tour of the institute's new home in the Peterson Building.

The Peterson Building on Panama Mall is one of the original sandstone buildings on campus and more than a century old. The renovation focused on opening up small workspaces to create shared spaces that would promote collaboration while maintaining the building’s architectural character. The Peterson Lab is now home to three interdisciplinary design and design-based learning groups: the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design, the Center for Design Research and the Design Group of the Mechanical Engineering Department.

Along Stock Farm Road

Stanford faculty and students have had great success working with automotive industry leaders on projects such as Stanley and Junior, Stanford’s autonomous vehicles that competed in the 2005 and 2007 DARPA Grand Challenge, and Shelley, Stanford’s driverless robotic Audi that uses GPS to avoid collisions and stay in its lane. The Automotive Innovation Facility, located at the corner of Stock Farm and Oak roads, gives Stanford’s interdisciplinary teams a state-of-the-art facility to develop new ideas for vehicle safety, driver assistance and environmental improvements.