Sycamore Commons

2019 Winner – Landscape Architecture

Project Narrative

Sycamore Commons has transformed a car-oriented service area into an urban oasis that serves the needs of both the Cathedral’s religious community and the public. Through the holistic design of water features, a living wall, plants, artwork, and high-quality materials, this welcoming garden provides a place for contemplation, musical performances, reading, eating lunch, liturgical gatherings, and other special events. The result: a sacred space that embodies the inviting spirit of the church community.

Given the mixture of architectural styles surrounding the courtyard, it was decided that a contemporary, minimalist aesthetic would help tie the disparate elements together. Custom-designed site elements and furnishings reflect this aesthetic and unify the space.

At the street entrance, a cascading runnel invites visitors to enter the courtyard. The water source for the runnel originates at a baptismal font at the top of the accessible ramp. An airy trellis provides shade and spans a large gathering space. From this space, one can enter a garden to relax or walk the granite labyrinth framed by seasonal plantings. On axis with the trellis, a 12’ x 12’ living wall screens the alley beyond and provides a vertical green element in a predominately hardscape space.


Project Details