Bowie State University Center for Natural Sciences, Mathematics, and Nursing – Landscape

Bowie, Maryland
A Pattern Emerges

The assignment read like this: Create a landscape that would both complement the new STEM facility and attract students to live on campus. Bowie State, an historically black university, also had the goal of tapping into the African heritage of its students and so we incorporated African elements into the Maryland campus as well.

To address the university’s vision, we looked to science and geometry.

The team drew inspiration from the Fibonacci Sequence, a repeating geometric pattern found in nature and, as synchronicity would have it, woven African baskets, pulling the curriculum into the landscape.

Using the patterns on tiles encouraged discussion of nature’s breathtaking mystery outside the classroom. And more conversations continued around the Fibonacci-inspired bench installations—quickly adopted as a vibrant meeting spot.

In the end, Bowie’s sweeping landscape design, also by our firm, now pulls together student organizations and the new campus building—energizing the outdoor space with social activity.

The entrance of the building features a stormwater garden that filters the plaza runoff and diverts it across a feature wall.
Detailed image of the feature wall and planting beyond.
Design Excellence

Bulldogs fly the gold and black as their official college colors. So to stay on-theme, we planted yellow and black flowering plants into the acres of green. Think golden rod and black-eyed Susans with touches of purple foliage throughout.

The backdrop greens are loaded with thousands of native perennials, shrubs, and trees. Rushes and grasses also feature prominently given the plant life has to handle both wet and dry conditions of the Chesapeake and surrounding estuary.

When taking in a new outdoor space, one professor commented, “This will be perfect for outdoor classes.” Our thoughts exactly.

An extension of the interior student experience, the North Terrace allows for more student-focused spaces, including an outdoor classroom and collaborative zones.
“The spectacular landscape design for the CNSMN building is an art in itself, surrounding a state of the art building, which has beautifully integrated into the center of campus and has become a sanctuary where the students at Bowie State University gather very evening and enjoy the calm and relaxing environment."

Sam Qaimmaqami, OSCR Planning & Construction, Facilities Management, University of Maryland

Project Team

People
Zan Stewart
People
Leo Alvarez
People
Valdis Zusmanis