Our Work

Drake University

Des Moines, Iowa

Confluence has led the campus design and planning efforts for several enhancements and improvements to the Drake University Campus:

28th Street Walkway: Functioning primarily as a service drive while also utilized heavily by pedestrian traffic, the aesthetic appearance of the existing 28th Street corridor for the campus did not fit within Drake University’s vision for their campus.  Confluence was retained to revitalize this corridor into a vibrant pedestrian walkway that serves as a major pedestrian connection through the heart of campus.

Confluence coordinated with University departments and student groups and campus maintenance personnel to identify issues, including a desire for enhanced visual character, improved accessibility, integrated sustainability practices, and campus wayfinding and directory signage.  Sustainable design solutions were implemented to manage stormwater while also serving as a linear design feature that captures site runoff adjacent to the new walkway.  As a provision of funding, plans were reviewed by the Iowa Department of Transportation and utilized the agency’s bid letting process.

The 28th Street Walkway now serves the campus by acting as a main pedestrian-friendly connection through the center of campus.  The project also establishes new expectations for “green” projects and sustainable design solutions on the Drake Campus.

Gateway Markers: Confluence prepared schematic design drawings for new gateway markers to define the entrances and edges of the Drake Campus, which has lacked a strong edge presence and sense of arrival for decades.  This project represents an opportunity to create a ceremonial entry gateway to campus while also identifying secondary entries.  Drake’s rich architectural heritage invoked a “traditional” versus “modern” debate, the results of which are reflected in the final design.

As each identified intersection contained unique site issues and circumstances, each required a custom-tailored solution.  The Campus gateway markers utilize a design vocabulary rooted in Drake tradition, such as the use of materials and forms emulating the iconic tower of Drake’s Old Main, the use of the Saarinen font, the subtle selection of a darker brick, and the minimal detailing of the walls.

Cole Hall Quadrangle: In concert with the Campus Master Plan, Confluence was retained by Drake to prepare schematic design drawings for the Cole Hall Quadrangle space. Recently renovated, Cole Hall anchors the south side of the quad and serves as the first contact point for new students, with the Carnegie Building to the north and Old Main to the east.

Our team of landscape architects studied pedestrian traffic flows, daily service needs, the contextual relationship to the surrounding campus and its landscape pattern, and the desire to establish an outdoor ‘landing area’ for tour groups.  A challenging twist occurred when the University announced a Library addition to the west.  Using this as an opportunity, Confluence improved site axial issues by orienting the new library entry towards the newly formed Quad space.