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Carroll and Hanes Halls(PDF version of this document)

The University will use these guidelines to chart future design decisions concerning its buildings and grounds. Therefore, these guidelines will be sent as a part of the Request for Proposal (RFP) to all architects and landscape architects interested in working on the Carolina campus. Implementation of these guidelines will be overseen by a University Design Review Committee and the University Board of Trustees. A process for implementation is described in this section.

(PDF version of this document)


Establish a clear, proactive process to implement the spirit and intent of the Campus Master Plan and design guidelines.
Chancellor’s Buildings and Grounds Committee recommends designer selection and building site to the University Board of Trustees for its approval.
Meeting 1, Pre-Design:
Pre-design meeting with Facilities Planning, users and Design Team to discuss Campus Master Plan, building siting, massing and design guidelines.
Meeting 2, End of Schematics:
Design Review
Promote a design that contributes to the Campus Master Plan.
Recommended Drawings:
  • Site Analyses @ 1:60
    Includes site utilities, existing landscape and pedestrian circulation.
  • Alternative Site Plans @ 1:60
  • Site Sections @ 1:60
  • Massing Model @ 1:30

All of the above should address context, mass, scale, community impact, architectural character, form, pedestrian and vehicular circulation, loading, service and site utilities.

Discuss design guidelines as they relate to elevations and materials for the proposed building as well as context.

Meeting 2.1:
Site Plan review with Chancellor’s Buildings and Grounds Committee.
Meeting 3:
Mid Design Development – Design Review:

  • Review/present design process showing alternative schemes – all drawings and models should show as much context as possible.
  • Review 1/16″ plans, site plan @ 1:60, elevations @ 1/16″ Site/building sections/model @ 1:30
  • Typical bay at ¼” = 1′-0″: including detailed elevation/section, rendered drawings or model. Material should be shown.
Follow Up:
Ten days prior to Chancellor’s Buildings and Grounds Committee meeting, an updated package of drawings and model photos to be sent to the Facilities Planning Office.
Meeting 3.1:
Chancellor’s Buildings and Grounds Committee
For review and comment with possible approval.

Final Design Development

Meeting 5:
Board of Trustees
For review and comment.
Meeting 6:
Chancellor’s Buildings and Grounds Committee
For final review and approval.
Meeting 7:
Board of Trustees
For final review and approval.

(Although UNC Hospitals projects receive site and external facility review and approval, they are the responsibility of the UNC Health Care System Board of Directors.)

Plan Discussion

Map of South Campus

Building Rendering

Meeting and Presentation

(PDF version of this document)

The Carolina campus is one of great history and beauty. Architects given the responsibility of continuing this tradition must not underestimate the challenge. To successfully integrate a new project into the fabric of the campus, one should thoroughly research the physical and intellectual principles that guide the University. Four such principles were identified during this study:

Support Carolina’s mission

The Master Plan should allow for the University’s physical growth to serve its threefold mission of teaching, research and public service.

Export the qualities of McCorkle and Polk places

McCorkle and Polk places on North Campus are viewed as the essence of Carolina. Their integration of built and natural systems should serve as a model for future campus development. Extending this balance of buildings, open spaces and trees can maintain those physical qualities of Carolina that are revered and repair those that are reviled. Growth should enhance and improve the physical quality of the University by respecting and exporting the principles of Polk and McCorkle places.

Enhance the University’s Intellectual Climate

The University is defined by its intellectual climate, and intellectual exchange should be woven into the fabric of everyday campus life. The intentions of the Chancellor’s Intellectual Climate Report completed in 1997 should find shape in the physical plan. Barriers to intellectual life should be removed while new venues for intellectual life are created.

Support local and regional planning strategies

The University’s future development and well-being are tied to the growth and well-being of Chapel Hill and the Research Triangle region; thus University plans for housing, parking, transit, utilities and growth should support local and regional planning strategies.

The design guidelines should result in axially composed buildings and open spaces that form an architectural edge, enclosing exterior space and creating outdoor rooms. Site selection is vital to the success of each new building and to the success of the campus as a whole. New buildings should be integrated with the broad surrounding context. By definition, a campus is a collection of interrelated buildings and supporting facilities arranged in and around open space. The challenge, then, is for every Carolina architect to “think globally” (campuswide) and “act locally” (site specific).

The design process for any building or open space on campus should start with a comprehensive look at Carolina’s context and history. This first step should include an analysis of the site: its history, views and vistas, topography, vegetation, massing, architectural character, pedestrian and vehicular traffic, infrastructure and service. This analysis should lead to a primary goal of all building projects creating clear, simple open spaces and quadrangles that connect to other existing or proposed spaces.

These guidelines do not advocate replicating historic buildings and open spaces. Rather, they suggest the continuing evolution of the best of Carolina’s built traditions. Using similar scale, proportions, form, materials and hierarchy, new designs can find harmony with existing buildings and grounds. Designs for both grounds and buildings, then, should reflect these guidelines through both recollection and invention. We have documented in this report examples of new projects, both on the Chapel Hill campus and at other universities, that embody the spirit of place and time.

In summary, the sustained implementation of Carolina’s Master Plan relies on reestablishing many of the campus’s original design principles, such as a balance of building and open space, careful use of the land, and consistent, yet inventive, architecture. As with broader intellectual pursuits of the University, the study of tradition can spur greater innovation.

Building Columns

Dey Hall

Springtime Blooms

Bell Tower