Chris Reed
Stoss Landscape Urbanism

Eda U. Gerstacker Grove

The Eda U. Gerstacker Grove is a renovation of an underutilized campus quad at the heart of the University of Michigan’s North Campus, home to the Schools of Engineering, Art, and Architecture. As part of its transformation the space is intended to activate and better serve the engineering, architecture, and arts students and faculty on campus now, while appealing to a broader range of students as the heart of student social life on the University’s expansion campus for the 21st century.

The Grove is designed as a lush and active space that can accommodate a range of rotating performances, events, and everyday activities. It starts as a flexible green quad, with clearings marked in an elegant grove. The central plaza can host larger­scale activities like musical and arts performances, student and alumni events, and casual play or organizes recreation while conveying the many students on campus from class to class. Benches of concrete and steel ribs frame the walk and provide continuous seating along much of the path. The elevated lawns beyond provide a quiet place to relax in the sun or shade.

The namesake grove is designed to amplify daily and seasonal change, bringing to life different parts of the quad as warmer and cooler areas for gathering and will host a series of changing installations by engineering and architecture students that combine interests in technology, design, and play. Infiltration gardens planted with bald cyprus collect rainwater on site while a weather station reads rainfall, temperature, and other data to illuminate over 100 acrylic rods with vibrant LEDs to create a sparkling dance of color and light.

About The Designer

Chris Reed is the founding principal of Stoss. His innovative, hybridized approach to public space has been recognized internationally, and he has been invited to participate in competitions and installations in the United States, Canada, Europe, Israel, the Middle East, Taiwan, and China. Reed's research interests include the impact of ecological sciences on design thinking, and city-making strategies informed by landscape systems and dynamics; he is co-editor of a recently published volume of research and drawing titled Projective Ecologies. Reed received a Master in Landscape Architecture from the University of Pennsylvania and an AB in Urban Studies from Harvard College. He is currently Associate Professor in Practice of Landscape Architecture at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design.