The Eda U. Gerstacker Grove is a renovation of an underutilized campus quad at the heart of the University of Michigan's North Campus, home to the Schools of Engineering, Art, and Architecture. As part of its transformation the space is intended to activate and better serve the engineering, architecture, and arts students and faculty on campus now, while appealing to a broader range of students as the heart of student social life on the University's expansion campus for the 21st century.
The Grove is designed as a lush and active space that can accommodate a range of rotating performances, events, and everyday activities. It starts as a flexible green quad, with clearings marked in an elegant grove. The central plaza can host larger-scale activities like musical and arts performances, student and alumni events, and casual play or organizes recreation while conveying the many students on campus from class to class. Benches of concrete and steel ribs frame the walk and provide continuous seating along much of the path. The elevated lawns beyond provide a quiet place to relax in the sun or shade.
The namesake grove is designed to amplify daily and seasonal change, bringing to life different parts of the quad as warmer and cooler areas for gathering and will host a series of changing installations by engineering and architecture students that combine interests in technology, design, and play. Infiltration gardens planted with bald cyprus collect rainwater on site while a weather station reads rainfall, temperature, and other data to illuminated over 100 acrylic rods with vibrant LEDs to create a sparkling dance of color and light.
The Grove is also designed to host a series of changing installations by engineering and architecture students that combine interests in technology, design, and play. Feature in this new more playful space is an interactive lighted swing and beach volleyball court.
By reimaging the center of North Campus and providing special moments of activity and rest, the Grove creates a new public identity for the campus, accessible to students from across the University. The aging and uninviting space will soon be the new heart of campus life, providing a new meeting ground for the diverse campus community and strengthening the university's connections disciplines.