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July, 2019

New Gardens on Campus:
Beautiful Spaces for Enjoyment and Reflection

By Mary McCarthy

The Iris Miller Terrace will be dedicated Oct. 5.
New gardens greeted the students returning to campus for the fall semester. Beside the Edward M. Crough Center for Architectural Studies, for instance, a flagstone and cobblestone walkway, dry stream bed with boulders, and plantings of low-maintenance grasses replace what was once just sidewalk and lawn. In the dry stream bed, a series of misters produce a fog-like effect that creates a cooling sustainable microclimate during the summer.

The garden will be dedicated on Oct. 5 and named the “Iris Miller Terrace,” in honor of the CUA adjunct professor of architecture who led in the design of the garden and made the initial donation to begin construction.

Miller and several former students began working on an architectural landscaping project centered on Crough in the late 1990s. Playing off the architecture of the Crough Center and the rhythm of its pilasters (the building’s structural columns), the project will eventually lead to the creation of a series of small gardens that run the length of the path to the Edward J. Pryzbyla University Center.

“After several years of discussing possible donors to fund the planned gardens,” Miller says, “I felt that I — as an alum and as a professor with this commitment to CUA and to the former students who collaborated with me on the design — should become a donor.”

Pangborn's Alumni Garden features a café feel.
Just down the hill from the Crough Center is the newly renovated Engineering Alumni Garden. This somewhat “secret” garden is tucked away at the ground level of Pangborn Hall adjacent to the road and sidewalk leading to the Metrorail station. Chris Vetick, assistant director of grounds, facilities maintenance and operations, and his crew of groundskeepers planted shrubs and trees, laid down additional paving stones to create more patio gathering space, and added a stucco stone facing to the existing curved concrete walls. At night, new lighting highlights plants and architectural details and Asian-inspired lanterns hang on the walls to light the new bistro tables.

“The Alumni Garden will be a special gathering place for our engineering community,” says Charles Nguyen, dean of CUA’s School of Engineering, which is located in Pangborn Hall. Although students will have to bring their own coffee, Nguyen says the Alumni Garden is “envisioned as an outdoor café — there is wireless Internet access and background music — and can be a place for students and faculty to relax or study between classes.”

The east entrance to Caldwell Hall was renovated with new gardens, patios and stairs.
Also renovated was the garden at the east entrance to Caldwell Hall. The flagstone paving stones were replaced with smaller stones in designs that complement the building and the layout of the multi-leveled patio area. The steps were repaved with new stair treads that match the stone of the patios. The garden dedicated to St. Francis outside the Office of Campus Ministry received a larger statue of the saint and a fountain, and is surrounded with new hydrangea bushes and a dogwood tree. To create a shady retreat, Japanese maples were planted and benches were installed. Like the Pangborn garden, the Caldwell patios also received new accent lighting, not only to light the way into Caldwell Hall, but also to highlight the 119-year-old stonework on the building.

Another recently created area of repose is the Cedar of Lebanon Garden on the west side of McMahon Hall. Back in 1962, Cardinal Boulos Peter Meouchi, patriarch of the Maronite Catholic Church, donated two cedars of Lebanon that were planted on either side of McMahon Hall. In 2004 the tree on the west side succumbed to environmental stress from earlier construction. Soon thereafter, Ina Rihani, a parishioner of Our Lady of Lebanon Maronite Church in Washington, D.C., with the sponsorship of bishops Gregory Mansour and Robert Shaheen, funded the Cedar of Lebanon Garden near the place where the original tree had grown. The replacement tree is surrounded by a flower garden and features two benches facing the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.


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Last Revised 27-Sep-07 02:27 PM.