Conserving Water – One Sign at a Time

Published on: May 26, 2015


Through 40 years of practice in California we’ve seen our share of droughts. Governor Brown’s recent mandate for a 25% cut in water use makes the new entry to West Valley College in Saratoga not only a bold new image, but also an investment in environmental sustainability.

The team of TLCD Architecture, Quadriga Landscape Architects and GNU Group were intent on creating a powerful environmental brand for the college while replacing water hungry turf with a drought resistant landscape.

The 60 foot long main sign and the two electronic displays boldly express West Valley College’s brand and incorporate a fresh approach to the campus’ trademark oak leaf logo. The sculptural leaf elements float in front of sign surface adding sculptural form to the monuments. The signs are fabricated of self-healing, earth tone Cor-Ten steel and merge seamlessly with the drought tolerant landscaping and the storm water recharge basin at the base of the site.

The two electronic displays not only announce campus events, but are programmed with rotating inspirational messages such as – Grow, Collaborate, Success. Scott Ludwig, WVC Director of Communications and Technology, explains, “Students now walk up to me and spontaneously exclaim “Collaborate!”- taking their cues from the reader boards.”

Quadriga aided the school in creating an “Oak Nursery” that surrounds the new entry signs. These newly planted trees will be used to replace the many Oaks surrounding the campus that are reaching the end of their life cycle. Along with the nursery, two historic Palm trees were relocated to the area. The Palms were originally planted near the farmhouse that once stood where the campus is today.

“The multiple challenges of transforming this important space, including sensitivity and commitment to the environmental concerns, made working with this team and the college an especially rewarding experience,” explains Dickson Keyser, GNU’s Director of Design. “The new entry is an important affirmation of how design can solve a number of problems.”

“The campus and nearby community has taken notice of the change and is appreciative of the dynamism of the statement. Over time, as they discover the other elements, it will become an even richer experience” -Alan Butler, TLCD

California’s drought is serious. Click here for water conservation tips.