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Administration and Finance

Key Design Guidelines

The purpose of design guidelines is to provide both project designers and reviewers with a common set of parameters. The design guidelines convey values that underlie the campus master plan that should be evident in the projects that implement the plan. The range of design guidelines given here is far from comprehensive: it is intended to communicate the key principles and intentions of the master plan.


  1. Building Recommendations
  2. Transportation and Parking Recommendations
  3. Landscape Recommendations

Building Recommendations

1. Siting and orientation:

  • Site and orient buildings to respect the orientation of existing significant buildings.
  • Respond to the principal directions of flow of those approaching the building, noting that some routes will change as the master plan is implemented.
  • Locate the service entrance towards the campus perimeter to minimize conflicts with those using campus footpaths.
  • Orient buildings to minimize solar gain yet receive adequate natural light. Take advantage of existing mature trees to shade the building in summer.
  • Verify that siting does not compromise the long-range development capacity of the campus. Capitalize on special views possible from the site.
  • Locate support structures, such as parking garages, so that their functions do not conflict with campus life or academic buildings, and avoid blocking useful daylight from nearby buildings.

2. Uses and activities:

  • Distinguish each building type by its architecture, yet relate each to its neighbor through materials, color, and a common human scale.
  • Expose active uses in buildings along campus walkways to promote safety and vitality. Locate the main building entrances conspicuously and provide shade, shelter and seating to encourage impromptu meetings.
  • Provide securable bicycle racks near, but clear of entrances and gathering places.
  • Take responsibility with each new or remodeled building project for matching the environs with master planned improvements to landscape, pathways, lighting and utilities.
  • Prohibit temporary buildings on campus.

3. Configuration and appearance:

  • Build most new buildings three stories or higher to conserve developable land on campus.
  • Limit most buildings to six stories to achieve a consistent scale between buildings and open spaces.
  • Use the massing and orientation of buildings to define outdoor spaces.
  • Relate the scale of architectural features to those of adjacent buildings and to the scale of the people that will use them.
  • Screen rooftop equipment from view; from the ground and from other buildings.
  • Use enduring building materials of good quality, such as brick, stone, precast concrete, tile, glass and steel.

4. Structural considerations:

  • Select structural systems and floor-to-floor heights that will enable each building to adapt to changing needs and accept replacement mechanical and electrical equipment.
  • Minimize the number of structural partitions within the perimeter of each building, thus maximizing its adaptability.
  • Address seismic stability through core and perimeter moment resistance and shear walls, leaving most usable space unencumbered.

5. Stewardship and sustainability

  • Increase on-campus generation of power from renewable sources, notably using solar power.
  • Design buildings to operate with low energy demands.
  • Make consistent use of performance measures to ensure that full energy savings are being attained cost effectively.
  • Evaluate building materials, systems and equipment on their life-cycle costs as well as initial capital costs.
  • Consider systems that use natural ventilation, heating and cooling during certain times of the year.
  • Orient and landscape buildings to minimize solar gain and maximize usable daylight.
  • Progressively replace existing plumbing fixtures with water-conserving models.
  • Use non-potable water sources and irrigation technology (from ICWT) for landscape maintenance.
  • Select plant materials that can flourish in the Fresno climate without heavy irrigation.
  • Limit heat build-up in paved areas (heat island effect) by shading them effectively with tree canopies or by other means.
  • Select locally manufactured materials to limit transport-related costs and environmental degradation.
  • Specify building materials that use renewable resources, such as certified wood, and recycled content materials.
  • Use materials that are durable, require little maintenance and are recyclable.
  • Increase building materials salvage and construction debris recycling.
  • Avoid using materials, equipment, carpets, adhesives and paints that contain or produce CFCs, HCFC, halons and volatile organic compounds.
  • Accommodate reclamation and recycling of chemicals, and of solid waste, within buildings while protecting the indoor environment.
  • Increase on-site effluent treatment for laboratories to protect the campus environment.

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Transportation and Parking Recommendations

1. Pedestrian and bicycle circulation:

  • Give priority to walking within the campus.
  • Accept that bicycles will use footpaths, and design them accordingly: with sufficient width and clear sightlines at corners.
  • Terminate vehicular streets just inside the campus periphery: at parking garages and service areas.
  • Create a network of footpaths that minimize out-of-direction travel for users.
  • Provide a way-finding system that is clearly legible by day and after dark
  • Preserve and create vistas across the campus that helps orient visitors.
  • Adhere to barrier-free design standards and safety in design principles throughout the campus.
  • Use paving materials that are amenable to wheelchair use.
  • Provide tactile edge definition along pathways.

2. Vehicular circulation:

  • Limit vehicular circulation to the perimeter of the campus, except for emergency and essential maintenance vehicles.
  • Orient buildings so that their service areas are accessible from the campus perimeter.
  • Accommodate transit access on the main campus entry off Shaw with a campus transit center located south of the library.
  • Design roadways to encourage appropriate driving speeds.
  • Maintain sight distances appropriate to driving speeds.
  • Use curb radii appropriate to slow-moving traffic.
  • Consider designation of bicycle lanes on bust streets.

3. Campus access:

  • Improve access to the campus for pedestrians and bicyclists with safer routes and improved crossings at all intersections.
  • Create a new main entrance to the campus off Shaw Avenue.
  • Acknowledge the significance of the campus as a destination and change traffic management practices in the vicinity of the campus to reduce conflicts between through traffic and turning vehicles,
  • Bicycles and crossing pedestrians.
  • Encourage greater transit use by faculty, staff and students; consider transit pass programs for all.
  • Encourage car pooling, walking and bicycling as sustainable forms of transport to and from the campus for the many who live nearby.

4. Parking:

  • Locate parking so that it is safe, convenient and inconspicuous. Provide direct and well lit walkways from within parking lots and garages to principal destinations on campus.
  • Provide clear sight lines for campus security of all points of access and egress.
  • Avoid multiple driveways into a parking lot or garage to limit criminal activity.
  • Locate stair and elevator towers on the edges of parking garages that are most visible; glaze them generously and illuminate them from within at night.
  • Adhere to safety in design principles for parking lots and garages.
  • Light parking facilities uniformly but no more brightly than necessary for safety, using cut-offs to prevent light trespass into other properties or above the horizontal.

5. Emergency access:

  • Construct all campus pathways to support emergency vehicle access.
  • Provide emergency vehicle access to every building by providing sufficient ground-bearing capacity in all weathers, and by keeping approaches clear of obstructions.

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Landscape Recommendations

1. Open Spaces:

  • Contribute to the organized hierarchy of interconnected open spaces that constitute the backbone of the landscape master plan.
  • Give open spaces definition with appropriately located and scaled building fa ades and trees.
  • Temper the microclimate of campus open spaces to make them comfortable to use at most times of the year.

2. Trees:

  • Preserve and maintain significant stands of trees such as the Arboretum.
  • Add communities of specimen trees to expand the Arboretum into adjoining open spaces.
  • Extend shade canopies across most paved areas, using tree species that are disease- and drought tolerant.

3. Campus Edges:

  • Recognize that the edges of the campus express the values of the university.
  • Use glimpses of buildings and landscape to announce the presence of the campus at its edges; especially at the most visible approaches.
  • Make the main entrance to the campus conspicuous and expressive of the institution's values.
  • Make parking a far less conspicuous feature of the campus edges.
  • Determine which parts of the campus edge are to be clearly delineated and which are to be open.

4. Stewardship and Sustainability:

  • Reduce irrigation demands.
  • Use non-potable water sources and advanced irrigation equipment (ICWT) for landscape maintenance.
  • Use plant species that adapt well to the Fresno climate: are drought tolerant, heat tolerant and disease resistant.
  • Use paving materials for pathways that can be replaced with minimal wastage when they are removed for access to utilities.
  • Minimize impervious surfaces.
  • Maintain campus security by selective trimming and removal of trees and shrubs.
  • Avoid management practices that lead to the degradation of water quality; limit the use of fertilizers and pesticides that can leach into the aquifer.
  • Limit vehicle use within the campus proper to emergency and essential maintenance traffic.
  • Use landform and plant materials to detain and filter storm runoff.
  • Use water features that are economical of power and water use.
  • Refer also to the sections of this document titled 'Landscape Master Plan' and 'Landscape Implementation'.

5. Special features:

  • Select sites for art pieces, fountains, pergolas and other special features that relate them meaningfully to existing architecture and landscape.
  • Accept only those special features that merit a permanent place on the campus and for which maintenance costs can be provided.
  • Locate water features at the crossroads of the main east-west pedestrian mall through the center of the campus.
  • Make each water feature distinctive in its appearance and sustainable in its operation.

6. Lighting and signage:

  • Use consistently designed light fixtures throughout campus that illuminate the faces of people using the footpaths sufficiently for mutual recognition at a few yards distance.
  • Use moderate and consistent lighting levels throughout the campus to provide security and comfort for walkers, and to limit power use.
  • Avoid abrupt changes in light levels that obscure darker areas.
  • Select a classically simple design for light poles that is unlikely to become dated.
  • Recognize the significant effect that lampposts have on the campus landscape by day and after dark; locate and color them accordingly.
  • Use cut-offs to exclude light spillage above horizontal or into residential buildings.
  • Coordinate campus lighting with way-finding signs, so that directions are legible by day and after dark.
  • Develop a comprehensive way-finding system for the campus.
  • Coordinate the location and scale of signs to the needs of campus visitors arriving via the main entrance off Shaw Avenue.
  • Use predictable placement and colors for signs.

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