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Purdue University Master Plan

Purdue University
West Lafayette, IN
4,000 acres
Planning and Urban Design
Additional Services
Landscape Architecture
Completed August 2009

Purdue University is a public land-grant institution in West Lafayette, Indiana. The master plan celebrates the university’s mission-based legacy while simultaneously expressing the goals and objectives of Purdue’s strategic plan, New Synergies.

This is manifested through the development of an integrated academic and research core with distinct university districts defined by connected green spaces. Early university planning established a strong Beaux-Arts axis in the academic core, around which future development occurred. Building upon the original 1924 plan, this master plan maximizes the open space and visual concepts of the earlier design while guiding the system’s flagship campus for the next 20 years and beyond.

Purdue has considerable land holdings in the areas north, south, and west of the existing campus. Viewing these lands as an irreplaceable natural resource, the master plan seeks to prevent encroachment into them by advocating increased density in the campus core. The plan proposes intermingling between formerly segregated academic and research precincts of the campus through a series of terraced open spaces that array around the campus center and serve as armatures around which future building will occur. The result is a strong and vibrant campus core complemented by a preserve of reforested lands that offer innumerable recreational, research, and environmental opportunities for the university community and broader region.

Student life amenities such as housing, recreation, dining, and collaborative spaces support the core academic zone and create identifiable neighborhood districts. These districts are linked to one another by a central, unifying spine: State Street. Once a heavily used vehicular road, this important artery is reconceived as a collaborative spine along which a variety of campus uses are organized. State Street’s transformation into an urban thoroughfare connects a series of dynamic, mixed-use districts arranged around iconic open spaces that organize future development and relate to the larger open space concept through a series of diagonal stepping quads and well-designed streets that follow the Midwestern grid system.

Vehicular considerations during Purdue’s planning process led the university, along with the cities of West Lafayette and Lafayette, to revisit its regional transportation plan, taking into account issues of urban design, economic development, and wayfinding. Subsequently, Sasaki also was engaged by the local transit authority, City Bus, to help prepare its strategic plan.

As a follow-up to the master plan, University Residences collaborated with Sasaki to develop a comprehensive plan for capital investment, emphasizing the location and typologies of potential new housing units, and a complementary renovation strategy to extend and enhance the life of existing buildings.

Sasaki also collaborated with the Purdue system on master plans for its three regional universities: Calumet, North Central, and Fort Wayne. Each campus has a unique identity and mission that plays a vital role in providing comprehensive educational opportunities for the state of Indiana and beyond.

For more information contact Vinicius Gorgati.

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