Improvements to the Kessler Campanile Energize Core Campus
The Kessler Campanile has long served as an iconic campus landmark. This landmark and the surrounding plaza, fountain, and amphitheater have been reconfigured as part of the Campus Center construction and renovation project. The most notable change is the design of the fountain at the base of the 80-foot obelisk. During the planning and design process, students were instrumental in the decision to keep the water feature as an integral part of the design.
“It became apparent to the project team, based on hearing student feedback, just how important it was to the student body to keep a water feature surrounding the Campanile,” said Amanda Jones, campus planner for Infrastructure and Sustainability. “We were able to find a solution to honor those wishes while making the fountain a more accessible and functional space for the entire campus community.”
One of the most distinct changes to the fountain is the zero-entry feature on one side. As you enter, the water gradually rises to a height of 6 to 8 inches. The fountain will offer the opportunity to walk barefoot and cool off during Atlanta’s sweltering summer days. In addition, 12 water jets within the fountain will be illuminated with LED lighting, creating a lively nighttime ambience.
To accommodate campus events more efficiently, fountain operators will have the ability to drain the fountain as needed to allow for greater flexibility and functionality in this space historically known for hosting campus traditions.
Meanwhile, additional landscape and hardscape design changes have improved universal accessibility of the pathways leading up to and surrounding the Campanile. Gradual landscape grading and wider individual grass tiers within the amphitheater have allowed for improved stormwater runoff and a more comfortable gathering space. The Campanile plaza’s natural and integrated connection to the Campus Center anchors the area, and with the addition of the nearby Reck Garage, this location on campus will offer ample and vibrant space for campus engagement.
The Campus Center construction and renovation project, a three-year effort, has dramatically reenergized the corridor between Tech Green and the Campus Recreation Center as well as the surrounding areas. The completion of the Campanile fountain will signify the successful culmination of this campus improvement initiative. Barring any extreme weather conditions, the return of water to the fountain is anticipated in the next few weeks.
The Campanile served as the centerpiece for the resident athletes of the Olympic Village during the Olympic Games of 1996, when it was originally erected. Richard Hill, a University of Georgia graduate, designed the stainless-steel obelisk, partnering with the engineering acumen of Georgia Tech alumni Vic Williams and Jim O’kon for its construction on campus. Alumnus Richard Kessler provided philanthropic support.
The Campanile spire served as a design element of the Institute’s logo for more than 25 years.