The project was twofold--repairs to the underlying structure and the accompanying replacement of the overlying landscaping.


  • Approximately 45,000 sq. ft. of new waterproofing system installed on the plaza
  • Approximately 5,800 sq. ft. of concrete surface repairs
  • Snow-melt system installed in approximately 16,000 sq. ft. of the new plaza paving slab
  • Approximately 2,000 cu. yds. of soil/earth removed from existing planters on the plaza

The underside of the existing plaza structure, originally built in 1971, showed signs of significant structural deterioration in the form of cracked and/or delaminated concrete and exposed corroded reinforcing at several locations. The underside of the plaza structure also showed significant signs of dampness and wetness, indicative of the fact that the integrity of the waterproofing system had been seriously compromised. The Rhodes Plaza Renovation project was twofold – repairs to the underlying structure and the accompanying replacement of the overlying landscaping. The entire plaza is constructed on a raised concrete deck that is over high priority/central handicapped parking and service areas for the Main Rhodes Library and on the opposite side, the University Student Center. The plaza also interconnects to the east across E. 22nd Street to the Main Classroom Building and to the west to the Music and Communications Building with the continuation of the campus to the remaining buildings beyond. The genesis for the project was the age of the original waterproofing, which was exhibiting significant signs of its wearing out and failure. Water penetration with its corresponding deterioration was starting to accelerate on the underlying concrete structure and needed to be addressed. Replacement of the waterproofing and the accompanying repairs would necessitate the removal of the original landscaping, which also was showing signs of age with overgrown trees and significant areas of patching on the paving materials. Our major tasks were to provide for the repair and rehabilitation of the structure along with the design for the replacement of the architectural landscaping in total. As this plaza is the central crossroads of an urban campus, the landscaping needed to accomplish multiple goals. It needed to provide space for students to mingle and/or relax, add green space and natural materials to an urban environment, and also provide for larger university/student events. The landscaping also needed to unify the incongruously connected spaces and adjacent buildings that included multiple connecting bridges spanning parking areas and city streets. The ensuing design solution is a dynamic solution. Multiple feature pieces and areas have been included in the design: a ziggurat stone feature piece with a fountain, a curved amphitheater seat, and numerous niches for gathering. The fountain also serves as the formal backdrop identifying the University.

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