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Western Kentucky University

Landscape Architecture

College HillGuthrie OverlookFelts Log HouseChandler Memorial ChapelCollege Heights BoulevardCollege High HallWith International ReachCentennial MallCentennial MallGuthrie Courtyard

College Hill

In the 1909 campus master plan, landscape architect Henry Wright and architect Brinton Davis recommended the clustering of the principal structures around the summit.

Guthrie Overlook

A gift from the Guthrie family, the plaza and fountain were dedicated as part of the Centennial Celebration in 2006. The upland in the distance is the Dripping Springs Escarpment and Mammoth Cave Plateau.

Felts Log House

The Felts Log House is surrounded by raised herb beds, native woodland flowers, and Kentucky native trees.

Chandler Memorial Chapel

The Chapel and Columbarium were dedicated in 2010. The Chapel was carefully situated on the Hill to preserve existing trees. The terrace border features native shrubs.

College Heights Boulevard

The underground electrical upgrade created the opportunity in 2005 to add medians and establish new campus lighting standards. Banners and consistent plantings completed the transformation from Big Red Way to College Heights Boulevard.

College High Hall

The former playground area was restored to greenspace when Science and Technology Hall was rededicated as College High Hall in 2010.

With International Reach

Numerous raised beds on campus feature sculpture and seasonal plantings.

Centennial Mall

Created in 2006, the lawns, walkways, and gardens of the Centennial Mall transformed a former parking lot into a new signature greenspace at WKU.

Centennial Mall

Shown in 2011, just five years after planting, 100 Yoshino cherry trees create a flowering canopy each spring at the Centennial Mall near Downing University Center.

Guthrie Courtyard

Completed as part of the MMTH construction project in 2003, the Bell Tower and Courtyard were gifts from the Guthrie family. The Guthrie Garden occupies a former parking lot.

What is Landscape Architecture?

Landscape architecture is the analysis, planning, design and management of the natural and built environment. Landscape architects enhance the quality of our lives by adding beauty - but they're also problem solvers who analyze the environmental impact of proposed development, plan for pedestrian and automobile traffic, and determine the best use of each site.
-- From American Society of Landscape Architects Career Brochure, 2006

Landscape Architecture at WKU

 Landscape architects have had a role in shaping WKU throughout its history. The first Master Plan for the hilltop campus was prepared by Henry Wright in 1909. Wright was a nationally prominent landscape architect whose collaboration with President Henry Hardin Cherry continued until 1935. Wright contributed to the "City on a Hill" arrangement of the hilltop buildings, and the location of roadways and walkways.   The Master Plan was updated in 1966 by Michigan landscape architecture firm Johnson, Johnson and Roy to address the challenges of integrating the original hilltop campus with the rapidly expanding facilities to the south.

The WKU Landscape Architect works closely with the Manager of Campus Services and the Campus Gardener. WKU has employed two full-time board-certified landscape architects since 2005: Darren Henson (2005-2007), and Helen Siewers (2008-present). Two individuals who have made visible contributions to the campus landscape in recent years are Greg Fear, Manager of Campus Services (1998-2011) and Cristin Lanham, Campus Gardener (2001-2008). Josh Twardowski, the current Manager of Campus Services, holds a degree in landscape architecture from the University of Maryland.

The WKU Landscape Architect:

  • Participates in site selection, design development, and plan review with WKU capital construction project management staff
  • Works with Campus Master Planning Committee to improve campus circulation, bicycle facilities, and pedestrian safety
  • Implements campus design standards for signage, site furniture, outdoor physical commemoratives, and gardens
  • Oversees campus-wide tree planting and maintenance of tree inventory in Geographic Information Systems
  • Manages small landscape design and construction projects

  • Manages repair projects for campus sidewalks and retaining walls 

Helen Tyson Siewers, RLA, ASLA, LEED AP

RLA: Registered Landscape Architect

ASLA: Member of the American Society of Landscape Architects

LEED AP: Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, Accredited Professional, as designated by the U.S. Green Building Council

At The Overlook, Poem by Joe Survant

At the Overlook
Poem by Joe Survant
Kentucky Poet Laureate, 2003-2004

WKU Campus Spine

Once criss-crossed with cars and driveways, WKU's central spine is a continuous walkway from the Hill to the Residential Commons.


Planning, Design & Construction
Parking Structure #1, Room 134
Western Kentucky University
1906 College Heights Blvd. #21091
Bowling Green, KY 42101-1091
Office: 270-745-8708
Fax: 270-745-2126

Photos on this page courtesy of Clinton Lewis, University Photographer

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 Last Modified 9/24/14