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August 23, 2011

A self-guided tour of new campus sights

There are plenty of new places to admire – handsome buildings, flowering gardens, outdoor art installations, a magnificent glass sculpture – and plenty of places to stop along the way for a rest, including a grove of Adirondack chairs, or for refreshments.

By Kathleen J. Sullivan

Stanford photographer Linda Cicero captured scenes of the eleven new campus buildings you can see on the self-guided tour.

It may be hard to turn away once you're viewing Monument to Change As It Changes, an outdoor art installation at the new Knight Management Center.

The artwork is mesmerizing, whether you are close enough to watch some of its 2,000 flip digit modules – each with 80 custom printed colors – fly like magical Rolodexes through their color wheels; or move back to admire the ever-changing patterns the cards create; or watch and listen to the waterfall of cascading cards.

"Usually, monuments commemorate past events," said artist Peter Wegner, who created the installation for the new campus of the Stanford Graduate School of Business. "But what if a monument instead commemorated the process of change? European train stations use this technology to announce arrivals and departures. Here, the destination is always color and always changing."

The Knight Management Center, a new 12-acre neighborhood on the east side of campus, is the first stop on a Stanford Report self-guided tour designed to showcase some of the new buildings that have appeared on campus in recent years.

It's a long, easy stroll – no staircases, some ramps and gently sloping walkways – that begins and ends with art. (Although the route was conceived as a walking tour, it is also wheelchair-accessible and bike-friendly.)

If you walk the route without stopping, it takes about an hour. The self-guided tour, which begins on the east side of campus and ends on the west side, is approximately two miles long. If you're carrying a pedometer, it will record about 4,250 steps.

It starts at the Knight Management Center, where several Wegner monuments await visitors, and ends underneath the Tre Stelle di Lapislazzuli Chandelier – Italian for Three Stars of Lapis Lazuli – in the soaring lobby atrium of the Lorry I. Lokey Stem Cell Research Building at the Medical School.

In between, there are many sights to admire – handsome buildings, flowering gardens, small groves of oak, orange and palm, light-filled courtyards, wide promenades, shaded arcades, fountains and glorious vistas.

There are plenty of places to stop along the way for a rest, including Adirondack rocking chairs, stone benches and wooden settees, and for refreshments.

The tour features some of the many buildings that have benefited from The Stanford Challenge, the fundraising campaign dedicated to supporting people and programs seeking solutions to global problems and educating the next generation of leaders. The new buildings were designed with multidisciplinary collaboration in mind, with interior and exterior spaces that encourage interaction, providing easy, convenient communication among and between students and faculty.

They also were designed to contribute to Stanford's unique architectural identity – for which it has long been admired – and its memorable sense of place, said David Lenox, university architect and director of campus planning at Stanford.

"The designs of the new buildings strive to build on the existing strengths of the campus – a sensitive and appropriate scale, a consistent material palette, and a strong integration with the landscape," Lenox said. "These new buildings have already become vital members of the Stanford family, yet each brings a distinctive personality and response to its immediate context within the university that contributes to the whole of the campus fabric."

Take a hike across campus – new map in hand 

The university's Maps and Records Office created a map for the tour, which includes nine stops. The academic buildings on the self-guided tour are devoted to business, economic policy research, education, law, the environment and energy, engineering, medicine and stem cell research. The tour also includes a graduate housing complex and the new building where undergraduate students produce The Stanford Daily.

The Knight Management Center (Stop No. 1) on Serra Street has eight buildings situated amid open spaces, including a courtyard, a "town square" and a grassy lawn.

The center, which opened in April, provides the space needed to foster a small class size, a cooperative atmosphere, a close-knit community and collaborations with colleagues at Stanford and with the global business community.

The center has created a self-guided cell phone tour – call (650) 352-4335 – and has placed signs along the route to mark each of its 10 stops.

The tour includes several other Wegner sculptures, including Monument to Change as a Verb, a wall of 300 adverbs that appear in continuously changing combinations, and Monument to the Unknown Variables, a large wooden "X" and a "Y," each set in wooden brackets – art installations that double as benches.

Visitors may also cross paths with a famous shoeprint – of a waffle-soled running shoe – set above an inspirational quote from Philip H. Knight, the center's namesake and chief donor, and the co-founder of athletic shoe and apparel giant Nike Inc.

In addition to a café (operated by the popular Coupa Café), visitors can stop at the Arbuckle Dining Pavilion, a spacious, glass-walled round building that offers indoor and outdoor seating, including Adirondack chairs. The menu features a wide range of dishes, including custom-designed stir-fry dishes, sizzling grill favorites and wood-fired artisan pizzas.

Leaving the Knight Management Center, head west down Serra Street, toward Memorial Auditorium.

Cross Galvez Street and turn right along a sandy path into the "front yard" of the Landau Economics Building and its new next-door neighbor, the John A. and Cynthia Fry Gunn Building, (Stop No. 2). The Gunn Building, which opened in 2010, is the home of the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.

"I believe the Gunn Building will in time be considered one of the fine jewels of the Stanford campus," Lenox said last year.

"Its attention to timeless architectural materials and detail, its use of elegant landscape to create unique outdoor spaces and its commitment to supporting a meaningful global institute provide an enduring addition to the Farm."

In the Cynthia Fry Gunn Courtyard, four small waterfalls tumble from a water feature – a stream that runs the length of the landscape, flowing serenely over a bed of perfectly aligned stones. There are Valencia orange trees in beds of geraniums, as well as palm trees and boxwood. Benches – some of wood, some of stone – offer places to sit and enjoy the soothing sound of water and the garden's sights and smells.

A few blocks away, construction continues on Bing Concert Hall, which is expected to open in January 2013 and become part of the university's new arts district. The site is restricted to construction crews, but a time-lapse camera installed at the site allows visitors to the concert hall's website to "watch" the state-of-the art building  take shape on the east side of Museum Way.

The concert hall, which will seat 844 people, will be an acoustically exceptional venue that will be well suited to a wide range of musical performances, from small chamber ensembles to full-size orchestra, jazz and multimedia events.

To get to the next stop – the William H. Neukom Building  (Stop No. 3) – follow the meandering pathway along Galvez Mall and proceed through Canfield Court to Stanford Law School. You'll see Alexander Calder's painted steel sculpture The Falcon in front of the original building. Proceed through one of the school's arcades to enter a light-filled landscaped courtyard planted with small Chinese pistache trees. If you'd like to sit for a moment, the courtyard offers green metal tables with canvas umbrellas, and stone blocks with polished contoured tops.

The new building, which opened in May, is organized around a central open space, reinforcing the principles of the Law School's vision for intellectual openness, as well as Frederick Law Olmsted's original master plan for the university.

The Barnum Tower serves as the main entrance to the three-story Neukom Building, which has four wings connected by glass-walled bridges. The building, the new hub of the Law School, houses the Mills Legal Clinic, meeting and seminar rooms and faculty offices.

The Neukom Building was designed to transform the existing Law School campus into a collaborative open space to stimulate interdisciplinary studies and help cross-pollinate ideas among faculty and students – all in support of its vision to transform legal education.

Proceed along a wide sidewalk between two of the building's wings to Nathan Abbott Way – one of several streets that border Munger Graduate Residence (Stop No. 4).

The residential complex, which houses 600 law and graduate students, is composed of five buildings situated amid small lawns and crisscrossing walkways. The design emphasizes open common areas, and the architecture fosters a sense of community and cross-disciplinary discussion. The apartments – with one to four bedrooms each – are the largest on campus, and each bedroom has a study area with a desk and shelves.

Immediately ahead is the William H. Rehnquist Courtyard, whose center walkway is framed by palm trees. Visitors will find two new eateries facing the courtyard: Russo Café, whose menu includes hand-tossed pizzas, sandwiches and hot entrées, and The Market at Munger, which is known for its gelato and other treats.

Proceed down Nathan Abbott Way, alongside the Neukom Building toward the center of campus. Cross Lane A, and continue down a narrow sidewalk between a pair of undergraduate student residences. Turn right on the sidewalk that runs in front of Columbae, a vegetarian cooperative house.

Proceed under the Braun Music Center arch into White Plaza.

Between Stanford Bookstore and the Clock Tower is the Barnum Center for School and Community Partnerships (Stop No. 5). The Barnum Center, which reopened in 2006 after extensive renovation and expansion, is part of early Stanford lore.

The original red tile-roofed structure, built about 1913, was the first building constructed on campus in the Mission Revival style. Its original tenants were Stanford Bookstore, Sticky Wilson's, a popular ice cream and candy store, and Green's, which sold cigarettes, sandwiches and coffee. In the 1960s it became the Western Civilization Library. Later, it became the Career Development Center.

The Barnum Center, which is part of the School of Education, has several tenants, including the John W. Gardner Center for Youth and Their Communities and the Stanford Center on Adolescence.

Turn left near the roundabout – watch out for bicyclists! – and proceed down Panama Mall to the new Lorry I. Lokey Stanford Daily Building (Stop No. 6). Lorry I. Lokey, who founded Business Wire, a press release distribution service now owned by Berkshire Hathaway, is a former editor of The Stanford Daily.

The two-story building, which opened in 2009, has a sleekly appointed newsroom upstairs and a conference room and business offices downstairs. With its stylish staircase and many windows, it exudes a feel akin to that of an airy urban office loft.

Continue down Panama Mall, a row of incense cedars on your right. On the left, you'll see the Terman Engineering Center, which is slated to be demolished. Just past the Mitchell Earth Sciences Building, go right. Continue down the ramps alongside the building and follow the gently sloping sidewalk behind the building to the East-West Axis, which is framed by palms in both directions.

Look right and you'll see the historic Main Quad. Look left and you'll see the new Science and Engineering Quad II (Stop  No. 7).

SEQ 2 – three new buildings and a fourth on the way

Stanford's newest quad has three new buildings – and a fourth under construction – situated around a landscaped plaza. The landscaping features grass lawns with knolls – some crowned with trees. The plaza, which offers many places to sit and enjoy the scenery, also features knolls covered in perennials, including penstemon, eriogonum and carex.

The first building on the left will be the Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering Center, the new home of the School of Engineering. It also houses the Department of Management Science and Engineering – the only academic department located inside the new building. The Huang Engineering Center, which was dedicated in 2010, was designed to inspire invention in an environment of creativity and collaboration.

There are many entrances to the Huang Engineering Center. You may descend a grand staircase along a terraced courtyard, which was designed to double as an amphitheatre, into its octagonal-shaped pavilion. Or you may enter through doors that open onto the plaza. The Engineering School invites visitors to tour the building on weekdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and has created a self-guided tour map to lead the way.

Throughout the building, the Engineering School has displayed special exhibits illustrating how its faculty, students and alumni have changed the world.

On the terrace level, stop by the replica of the legendary garage in which alumni Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard founded one of Silicon Valley's first technology companies, now known as Hewlett-Packard Co., or HP.  Continuing through the center, you'll find displays of touchstone artifacts, including the original Yahoo! and Google servers and a Durand propeller.

On the first floor, inside the Forbes Family Café, is Ike's Place. The sandwich shop is so popular – people wait an hour to order – that Ike's developed a free iPhone application so hungry travelers can order ahead.

Just across the plaza from the Huang Engineering Center is the new Center for Nanoscale Science and Engineering, nicknamed Nano, or the Nano building.

The building, which opened in 2010, houses the Stanford Nano Center shared facilities, the Edward L. Ginzton independent laboratory and the offices of the Department of Applied Physics.

In front of the Nano building is a coast live oak whose broad canopy provides dappled shade for the tiered concrete seating that surrounds its trunk.

Much of Nano's laboratory space is located in an extensive underground level, 18 feet deep, to provide for the cutting-edge requirements on the control of vibration, acoustics, electromagnetic interference, light and cleanliness that are essential for the manipulation of matter down to the molecular and atomic scale.

The center provides lab space for about 70 researchers from all over campus, including leaders in the natural and physical sciences, engineering and medicine.

In the quad's northwest corner, black fencing surrounds the site of the future Bioengineering and Chemical Engineering Building – the last "tenant" of SEQ 2.

Like its neighbors, the Bioengineering and Chemical Engineering Building will feature limestone veneer, trellises, concrete pavers and landscaping. The building – nickname still to be determined – is expected to be completed in the winter of 2014.

The first "tenant" of SEQ 2 was the Jerry Yang and Akiko Yamazaki Environment and Energy Building, nicknamed Y2E2. The university dedicated the building in 2008.

The four-story building, which set new sustainability standards at Stanford, is the home of the Woods Institute for the Environment, the hub of Stanford's interdisciplinary work in environmental research and education.

The building has many tenants, including the Precourt Institute for Energy; the Precourt Energy Efficiency Center; the Global Climate and Energy Project; the Program on Food Security and the Environment; and the Bill Lane Center for the American West.

It also houses the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering; the Emmett Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources; the Department of Environmental Earth System Science; and the undergraduate Earth Systems Program.

Inside Y2E2, faculty members in energy, engineering and the environment collaborate with faculty members from across campus in five focal areas: climate and energy, freshwater, land use and conservation, oceans and estuaries, and the sustainable built environment.

Another Coupa Café, located on the ground floor of Y2E2, is a popular gathering spot. The plaza just outside the café offers benches, as well as tables and chairs for diners.

Leaving SEQ 2, proceed along the wide promenade toward Serra Mall. At the Serra Mall Fountain, turn left.

Last two stops: Stanford Medical School campus

At Via Ortega, cross Campus Drive West to a sandy diagonal walkway framed by oak trees that leads to the Li Ka Shing Center for Learning and Knowledge (Stop No. 8). The state-of-the-art medical education building, which opened in 2010, has a sweeping red-trimmed roof and a striking limestone and glass exterior.

Wooden benches offer visitors a respite in sunlight or in shade. The landscaping near the center includes a vast expanse of lawn, as well as a stately row of Canary Island palms. Native plants abound: manzanita, mountain lilac, toyon, currant, western redbud and western sword fern.

The Li Ka Shing Center, which functions as the "front door" of the School of Medicine, marks a new era in medical education. Here's how the Medical School describes the center:

"The Li Ka Shing Center for Learning and Knowledge brings together cutting-edge medicine, modern education and advanced technology, by design. Aspiring doctors practice life-saving skills in the safety of realistic simulations. Researchers have instant access to the most current data without leaving their labs. Medical experts from around the world gather to share the latest insights and bring their combined expertise to bear on the great health challenges of our time."

The center, which sits at the crossroads of the medical and the university campuses, is expected to be the focus of many multidisciplinary efforts.

On the first floor of the center is the Med Café, which offers fresh salads, sandwiches, wraps and hot dishes, as well as freshly brewed coffee and French pastries.

Outside Li Ka Shing, visitors will find a wide promenade, part of the School of Medicine's "Discovery Walk," an art installation created by Susan Schwartzenberg that celebrates the Medical School's history and selected research highlights.

Along the way to the Lorry I. Lokey Stem Cell Research Building, (Stop No. 9), you'll be able to "read" the seat-level tree planters – black granite panels that the artist has photo etched with images and text, and "read" text embedded in stone panels in the paving.

If you'd like to explore the architectural landscape of the Stanford Medical Center with an expert, Drew Bourn, historical curator at the Stanford Medical History Center, will be leading guided tours of the campus on Sept. 14 and Oct. 12.

The promenade, which passes by the Beckman Center, is lined with Chinese pistache trees and Australian bluebell shrubs. It leads to the Lokey Stem Cell Research Building, home of the Stanford Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine Institute. It is the largest dedicated stem cell research building in the country.

The institute brings together researchers from multiple specialties and disciplines, including cancer, neuroscience, cardiovascular medicine, transplantation, immunology, bioengineering and developmental biology. It is focused on making discoveries in stem cell research and translating them into preclinical applications, innovative therapies and treatments.

The four-story building, which opened in 2010, provides space for the many faculty members of the Stanford Cancer Institute whose research involves stem cells. It also provides space for neuroscience labs and the stem cell institute's Center for Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research and Education. Dispersed throughout the building are 60 semi-temporary "hotel" spaces for researchers from Stanford to Australia whose work would benefit from collaboration with others in the building.

The final stop on the tour is the atrium lobby of the building, home of Tre Stelle di Lapislazzuli Chandelier, designed by renowned American artist Dale Chihuly. This short video shows the artist's team assembling the two-ton chandelier, creating three "stars" out of 2,000 pieces of individually blown glass.


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