Iowa State University

Inside Iowa State
August 13, 1999

Central campus among three cited by landscape architects

by Steve Sullivan
A national landscape architects' group has selected Iowa States central campus as a "medallion" site. The park-like central lawn is among three central campuses selected for special recognition by the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA).

To commemorate its centennial, the ASLA selected more than 300 significant landscapes across the country as medallion sites. Thirteen sites are on college campuses, but only three are central campus sites -- Yale University, the University of Virginia and Iowa State.

Other Iowa medallion sites are Backbone State Park in Delaware County, Eagle Point Park in Dubuque, the Loess Hills in Western Iowa and the Neal Smith National Wildlife Reserve in Prairie City.

State ASLA chapters submitted proposed medallion sites to the national organization, said Tom Dunbar, past president of the national ASLA, ISU landscape architecture alumnus and senior partner of Dunbar Jones Partnership, a Des Moines landscape architecture firm.

"The sites were selected because they represent places that were special to the heart and soul -- places where landscape architecture had something to do with making them what they are," Dunbar said.

Iowa State's central campus includes 490 acres of trees, plants and classically designed buildings. The landscape's most dominant feature is the 20-acre central lawn. Over the decades, campus buildings, including the Campanile, Beardshear Hall and Curtiss Hall, circled and preserved the central lawn, creating a space where students study, relax and socialize.

"The grandness of its space -- created by structures, places and plant material -- has been a special place for Iowa State students," Dunbar said.

The Iowa State campus previously was chosen as one of the country's 25 most beautiful in a 1991 book, The Campus As a Work of Art.

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