Island Scrub Oak Grove

Andrea Binz

  • FA.19
  • Level: graduate
  • Discipline: Landscape Architecture
  • Program: MLA +3
  • Instructor: Alexander Robinson

Quercus Pacifica, the island scrub oak, is endemic to the Channel Islands. In mature trees, its unique growth habit forms a dense canopy over a room-like interior with undulating, sturdy branches. Transporting the unique ecology of an island scrub oak grove on Catalina Island to Crocker Plaza at USC, two conditions are created. First is a "jewel-box" where the rocky island ground breaks through the campus concrete. Young scrub oaks are seen in their native context amongst toyon, lemonade berry, coastal prickly pear, yarrow, and fragrant coast sagebrush. The second condition invites users under the canopy of larger trees, where a material transition to gravel signals a change of pace. Finally, benches inspired by the form of mature branches radiate outward from the oaks.