Georgia Tech EcoCommons Recognized with SCUP Jury’s Choice Honor Award

11 / August / 2023

The Society for College and University Planning (SCUP) recognized the EcoCommons: Living Building Sector with a Jury’s Choice Honor Award at the organization’s annual excellence awards. The project, supported by Barge Design Solutions (Barge), was honored in the category of “Excellence in Landscape Architecture for General Design”.

Formerly a parking lot, the Living Building Sector is a seven-acre ecological park that reflects Georgia Tech’s desire to create an outdoor living-learning space for students, faculty, and staff. As the Landscape Architect of Record, Barge programmed, conceptualized, refined, and detailed the EcoCommons’ design. The project was in collaboration with Biohabitats, Long Engineering, and Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects, the Design Landscape Architect.

The park merges the campus’ ecological and human landscapes, creating a unique performance landscape that provides a valuable natural environment with important educational resources. It reflects the site’s cultural and landscape heritage, provides a native North Georgia Piedmont plant palette, integrates stormwater management, creates new habitats, provides for outdoor recreation, and creates opportunities for research and education.

Georgia Tech is committed to improving the environment and has set for tree canopy coverage and stormwater runoff reduction. The Living Building Sector is a key component of this effort, featuring underground infiltration systems, vegetated swales, and irrigation connected to cisterns using reclaimed water. These improvements are estimated to reduce stormwater runoff by millions of gallons, benefiting downstream creeks and rivers. The site also serves as data collection of soil moisture, temperature, and air quality to inform future research activities - true to the site’s living-learning laboratory mission.

The Living Building Sector is part of an eventual 80-acre EcoCommons system that will wind through the heart of campus. It is the largest landscape design project to date in the University System of Georgia Board of Regents’ history.