Northeastern University

Words: Dan KamysFebruary 2008 CASE STUDY #2

Making an inviting gateway in the middle of a busy urban environment

Buildings G and H, Boston

Best In Class, Paving and Landscape Category Brick with Sand-Filled Joints, Bituminous-Setting Bed and Asphalt Base Pressley Associates, Landscape Architects The Stiles & Hart Brick Co.
At Northeastern University, the construction of two new buildings presented the opportunity to create a new campus entrance from the adjacent Avenue of the Arts, a major Boston thoroughfare and home to multiple cultural institutions. The new gateway entrance, defined by the two buildings, skillfully utilizes clay brick pavers to establish an inviting planned sequence of pedestrian experiences. Entering the university campus, students, faculty and staff are invited to follow wide, curving, brick pathways that comfortably accommodate pedestrians, joggers and the handicapped. As visitors continue along these paved thoroughfares, they encounter small pocket parks, promenades and open quadrangles.

Traditionally used throughout the university campus, the red brick pavers blend harmoniously with the warm tones of the surrounding buildings. They will maintain their color and functionality over time with minimal maintenance. The brick also offers a highly durable surface that readily accommodates emergency and service traffic.

Northeastern University campus entryway

To enliven and distinguish the outdoor seating areas at the building entrances, the main path's carpet of red clay pavers is punctuated with accent pavers. A surrounding field of irregular, hand-molded lines of specialized clay brick softens the rigid lines and saw-cut edges of the contrasting pavers. For all who visit, the finished hardscape creates an inviting gateway and welcome oasis in the midst of the busy surrounding urban environment.

The pavement consisted of an asphalt base overlaid with a bituminous setting bed, modified neoprene tack coat and brick pavers laid hand-tight. Brick pavers have been laid in this system on the campus for the last 25 years and have become standard at the university. The asphalt base is used in urban locations to deal with soft spots in the soil and make the pavement stronger. Sandstruck pavers are used on this project. While these units often have some unique variations in them, they have worked well with this type of system. The system holds these units in place while keeping a narrow sand-filled joint. Once known as the "Hastings Pavement System" named for the asphalt block pavers that made it popular, it is now used in many pavements subject to vehicular traffic.

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