masterplan, 2016-2017; implementation, ongoing
auburn university, auburn, alabama

Auburn University has been heavily shaped by its land-grant mission of research, service, and outreach. Its tradition of land-based research extends deep into the history of the University, but unfortunately is scarcely legible on the campus today. Vast areas of lawn have long since replaced field crops, orchards, and other active land-based experimentation. Only a handful of field plots remain and those are scattered around campus. One prominent exception is a small, one acre plot of land affectionately called the Old Rotation. Begun in 1896, this cropping study is the longest running continuous cotton experiment in the world.

Field Lab No. 01 is a contemporary extension of Auburnís unique agrarian legacy with the goal of aggregating land-based research back into visibility, and immersing students, faculty, and the community in experimental cultivation. This 12 acre plot expands the spirit and range of the Old Rotation and provides a collective area for teaching, research, and demonstration. Field Lab No. 01 is a landscape of hands-on learning that provides field plots for trial gardens, fruit production, tree pruning, vegetable harvesting, crop studies, construction courses, medicinal plant research, pollinator studies, and various other research, workshops, and classwork.

H I L L W O R K S \ \ \ \ \ \ \ p r o j e c t s


A LAND GRANT INSTITUTION: The Morrill Acts of 1862 and 1890 established land-grant institutions with
the mission of bringing practical knowledge in the fields agriculture, military tactics, and mechanical arts
to students and the greater public. Auburn University received its land-grant status in 1872.


THE FARM EXPERIMENT: As depicted in this historic map, agricultural lands composed
the overwhelming majority of campus in 1892.


THE OLD ROTATION: Established in 1896 by Professor J.F. Duggar, Auburn's Old Rotation is the longest running
continuous cotton experiment in the world. This cropping experiment proved long ago that rotating cotton crops with
legumes better sustains soil fertility, which spread across Alabama and forever changed the growing practices of cotton.


PLOT CHOREOGRAPHY: Disparate plots from across campus are woven
together with new plots to establish Field Lab No. 01, an area dedicated
to hands-on collaboration and greater visibility of active fieldwork at
Auburn.



FIELD LAB NO. 01 brings together teaching, research, and community
outreach into an intense and highly productive 12 acres.


PLOT TYPOLOGIES: Each field plot has its own distinct spatial requirements, planting
strategy, solar orientation, irrigation needs, maintenance regime, infrastructure, and rotation
requirements. In order to maximize resources, these plot typologies help determine critical
adjacencies within the field lab.



SITE ARMATURE AND CROP ROTATION: Paths, fences, sheds, and hedges provide a clear
armature for the site allowing crops and ornamental gardens to rotate. In the spirit of the Old
Rotation, these revolving plots maintain and enhance soil health.


LAYERED LEARNING: The field lab serves as an area of collaboration and transdisciplinary
learning as students from various colleges and departments witness the interrelationship
of academic specialties.


ESTABLISH A SELECTION PROTOCOL: Similar to a traditional classroom reservation
process, faculty, researchers, and students are able to apply for the use of a field plot. Each
proposal is reviewed independently by an established steering committee.



ENGAGING LOCAL FOOD NETWORKS: As the health and security of food continues to
be a critical topic, students witness and participate in the cultivation of fresh, local food.
Auburn Tiger Dining partners with the field lab to provide fresh food to the greater campus.


THE BIG OL' SHED: Workshops, maintenance, lectures, storage, demonstrations, and even
fundraisers occur under the expansive roof of the Big Olí Shed. In addition to providing sheltered
space for the community, this structure also demonstrates innovative sustainable building
technologies.




STUDENT DRIVEN IMPLEMENTATION: Students will be intimately involved with the implementation of the
field lab through coursework, research, and workshops. Rather than a rigid masterplan that is one day finished,
the field lab will continue to evolve and adapt to ongoing edcuational needs and environmental changes.


CAMPUS TRAIL NETWORK: An emerging trail system integrates the field lab into other centers
of the campus and greater community.


[1896, Professor John F. Duggar in the Old Rotation]