Over the last year, Case’s team of planners set out to discover how our campus buildings and landscape can better express and serve the University’s mission. In the spirit of our ambitious vision, we challenged ourselves to take imaginative steps. We established a series of principles to guide the master planning recommendations.
These planning principles are simple and bold. They follow directly from a thorough analysis of the University’s goals and aspirations along with its built environment. The principles acknowledge the strengths of our campus – most notably, its location within University Circle, where many of Cleveland’s world-class cultural and non-profit institutions exist on or near our campus, creating a uniquely dynamic and diverse urban district. The planning principles also address its challenges: the absence of a symbolic core; the disconnected physical relationship between the University and its neighboring community; the need for new and improved research facilities; the shortage of memorable, inspiring, and comfortable outdoor spaces; the spatial limitations of a dense urban setting; and most importantly, the lack of spatial continuity or a sense of the pieces forming a cohesive whole. This Master Plan proposes to address these deficiencies, enhance our nationally recognized strengths, and create a campus experience that reflects the University’s academic excellence.
Envisioning the future of our campus demands realism about what Case’s campus is today – an urban campus that has grown incrementally, still coping with the physical remnants of our predecessor institutions’ physical divisions and with Euclid Avenue as a greater divide. The resulting quirkiness of the campus must be addressed as a strength to be built upon and not to be wished away.
Case is distinctly forward thinking in its aspirations and educational mission. Our campus should reflect and celebrate this – and in doing so, we will attract the independent thinkers who are the true strength of Case.
The Master Plan provides a framework for development of the entire campus environment which is flexible enough to evolve over time, but specific in its overarching goals. Implementation of the plan is presented as a series of alternatives or projects which individually advance the strategic goals of the University, and contribute to the realization of the planning principles. These projects are described by precinct within the Master Plan Projects section.The Master Plan is intended to serve as a foundation for all future pdc initiatives, but does not depend on the completion of any single initiative.
Vital steps toward realization of the Master Plan are already well under way. The recent opening of the Peter B. Lewis Building is the perfect symbol of a bold new university dedicated to working across boundaries. Builders have completed the first phase of the North Residential Village, and students now have a clear vista from the Case Quad to Severance Hall and beyond – a view that previously was blocked by the Baker Building. Realization of the Master Plan, however, will require sustained commitment to many decisions and projects, over years or even decades, and through evolving circumstances. As research and academic programs evolve, continued prioritization of Master Plan initiatives and identification of funding sources must take place within the framework established herein. It will be critically important that future generations understand the core concepts of this Master Plan and remain committed to improving the campus environment as an expression of the University’s presence within the community.
Historically, a symbolic fence divided the Case Institute of Technology and Western Reserve University. Since 1967, the original institutions have merged seamlessly into one, yet the campus fabric is still physically divided. At a time when the University’s President has put forth the charge for Case to embrace connections – connecting varied academic disciplines; connecting a diverse population of students, staff, and faculty; connecting the university to its neighbors – we also have the opportunity to connect the physical fabric of the campus.
We at Case aspire to transform and redefine the twenty-first-century research university. The goal of this Master Plan is to guide the creation of a physical environment that integrally supports this aspiration.