SAU photographer’s photos selected for architectural publication
St. Andrews University photographer and logistics director Rooney Coffman’s photographs of St. Andrews campus have been selected for a forthcoming publication in “The Cultural Landscape Foundation and Pioneers of American Landscape Design” (an in-depth multimedia library chronicling the lives of significant landscape architects and educators).
Mr. Coffman’s photographs display buildings and grounds that are credited to the architect Lewis Clarke who is the “original master planner” of St. Andrews campus, an Englishman who was at North Carolina State University School of Design and a faculty member from 1952 to 1968, then operated his landscape architecture firm, Lewis Clarke Associates, from 1968 to 1980. He was elected a Fellow of the American Society of Landscape Architects and retired in 2000.
Mr. Clarke worked with Charlotte architects A.G. Odell Jr. and Associates to create the design for the 225-acre campus that required a total transformation of what had been agricultural and wooded acreage. Although Mr. Clarke was initially afraid that the oaks would become too large for the academic site, he eventually concurred. Today, those oaks planted in 1968 fill the area between the James L. Morgan Liberal Arts Building and Vardell.
The campus property encompasses a west administrative and academic campus and an east residential and recreation complex linked by a landscaped causeway that spans Lake Ansley C. Moore that was engineered as part of the site plan. The campus contains a cohesive collection of Modernist buildings that display a functionalistic approach in their form. New mid-twentieth-century building materials and technology allowed for structures that employed concrete, steel and glass in innovative ways. The campus plan garnered national attention. In January 1960, Progressive Architecture magazine. awarded A. G. Odell Jr. and Associates an Education Division citation for the design.
In 2016, St. Andrews was added to the National Historic Register for its architecture and landscape. Being recognized as a National Historic Place helps to preserve and protect the original design of the campus and its historical significance.
Mr. Clarke is now 91 and is being honored with a designation of being a Pioneer with the prestigious Cultural Landscape Foundation. Mr. Clarke’s master planning work in North Carolina includes the Research Triangle Institute in Durham, the North Carolina Zoological Park in Asheboro and the Fayetteville Street Pedestrian Mall in Raleigh.
The Foundation’s request of Mr. Coffman was to provide specific photos apropos to the campus that could be used to affirm Mr. Clarke’s design to be shown in the award documents and included in this national publication.
Mr. Coffman, who just completed his 50th year of work at St. Andrews, provided six photographs to meet the specifications; three were selected with the response being “exquisite.” They include an aerial shot of the campus, Lake Ansley Moore and the Tower, Lake Ansley Moore and Belk.
In addition to the publication, the Cultural Landscape website https://tclf.org/lewis-james-clarke features the dominant landscape photo of Lake Ansley and the Tower.
St. Andrews’ history began in 1896 with the founding of Flora Macdonald College in Red Springs, NC, merged with Webber International University (FL) in 2011 and became St. Andrews University.
Mr. Coffman’s photographs can be seen on the St. Andrews website at www.sa.edu.