Rebuilding Weaver Courtyard
Currently, the Weaver Courtyard is sorely underutilized. It has become overgrown and unmaintained. Consequently, it doesn’t accurately reflect the fresh and active energy generated inside at The Commons. This project imagines the garden will create a space that extends the mission of The Commons outside of Spooner Hall and serves as an inviting space between campus and the community for students and the community to utilize for a variety of purposes and to commune with nature.
This semester, students in Keith Van de Riet’s ARCH509 Class Architectural Design IV have been conducting research and interviewing experts across campus and the Lawrence community to better understand the uses and needs of this space. They have developed a design plan and are ready to start building this new vision for the Weaver Courtyard.
Their plan addresses a number of concerns, including:
- a more cohesive overall design
- the incorporation of native and perennial plants, which both connects to native plant and pollinator initiatives on campus and in the community and ensures that the plants will require much less work to
- increased visibility and openness so that the space is more inviting to everyone
To address these wishes, the designers have worked with experts at the Kansas Biological Institute and KU Landscaping to identify the best species of plants to include. They have also developed a plan for a central seating feature, with a playful twist. Finally, their plan will feature structural design to help divert rainfall from the building into a cistern that will water the plants, thus adding a water conservation aspect to the project.
With their proposed improvements, the space will become more appealing and open, encouraging students, faculty, staff, and visitors to use the space more frequently. The Commons, as well as two generous lead donors, have offered financial support. However, there is still additional fundraising needs to complete this project. Weaver Courtyard Renovation extends the opportunity to the community to contribute to a thoughtfully renovated space that will give new life to a hidden gem of campus and be open to all.