Our Work

University of Northern Iowa

Cedar Falls, Iowa

Confluence has led campus design and planning efforts for several enhancements and improvements to the University of Northern Iowa Campus, including the following representative examples:

Campanile Plaza: Confluence served as lead landscape architect for the Campanile Plaza project. Our involvement included preserving and enhancing the site’s unique landscape features, preparing schematic design solutions which responded to UNI’s program, and developing plaza design and construction documents for bidding and implementation.

The design does not attempt to create neck-wrenching opportunities for viewing the campanile clock or focusing user’s views skyward; rather, the plaza space provides a solid ‘foundation’, grounding the campanile to the campus while providing a respectful response to pedestrian circulation issues. The granite paving and precast stone benches are detailed to match surrounding architecture and compliment the Campanile’s historic past. The plaza space is a highlight of an official campus tour and appears in numerous UNI brochures.

Tower Plaza Master Plan: Confluence prepared a Master Plan for improving the areas surrounding the UNI’s Towers Residence Halls.  Since initial construction of the buildings in the 1970’s, the condition of the existing site features had deteriorated, including severe cracking and structural concerns related to existing concrete and exposed aggregate paving.  Underground utilities were also in need of replacement.  The space was mostly paved and contained limited green space.  A dense planting of sugar maples crowded against the buildings.

The proposed Master Plan increased the amount and quality of green space, and a banded pattern of paving and landscape planting was created to reflect the window pattern of the surrounding architecture.  Seat walls surround the planting beds, creating ample room for casual gathering spaces.  A café-like atmosphere was also provided by incorporating an outdoor seating area adjacent to the dining center, complete with tables, chairs, and urban street trees with tree grates and decorative ornamental iron fencing.

President’s Residence – Site Master Plan: Confluence developed a master plan for the President’s Residence, including plans for creating a strolling garden, terrace plaza, formal lawn space, and an ADA compliant entrance to the historic residence. The accessible entrance incorporates the horizontal lines of the existing limestone porch foundation, and the exact details of the original construction were incorporated into the design. This new entrance provides a seamless transition from the ground plane to the finish floor. An arborvitae hedge completed this Phase One implementation project.

West Gym Plaza: Confluence provided design solutions for the renovation and enhancement of the West Gym Plaza space, a forecourt to one of the few remaining original campus athletic facilities and terminus of the west campanile vista.

The selected design establishes a focal point for future selected sculpture and establishes a seating area for pedestrians moving toward class or attending an athletic event. The graceful arc of the east plaza edge reflects the historic arches of the West Gym and the Campanile. West Gym Plaza continues to be a center of student activity and pride, providing a west anchor to the Campanile Mall.