Campus Design Guidelines

The College of William & Mary occupies a hallowed place in the development of the American collegiate campus tradition. The planning principles embodied in the early campus planning concepts of the College established precedents with far-reaching influence. With the construction of the New Campus in the 1960s, a dichotomy arose between the architectural character of the Old Campus and the modernist expressions of the New Campus. The development of the western portions of the campus, into which the College has expanded since that time, has further contributed to a sense of fragmentation.

The College recognizes the importance of reestablishing the consistency of planning and design principles exemplified in the Old Campus. The College, therefore, has formulated the following design guidelines to serve as a framework for planning and design decisions relative to future campus facility development initiatives.


These guidelines were adopted by the College of William & Mary in 2003. Sasaki Associates, Inc., in association with Boynton Rothschild Rowland, worked with the College's steering committee under the direction of William & Mary's Vice President of Administration. College representatives met with the planning firms on a regular basis to review material prepared in connection with this study and to provide the firms with decisions and directions.


These design guidelines have been formulated to provide a framework for future decision-making with regard to improvements to the campus structure, its landscape and the buildings that define its physical image. This set of planning and design criteria will unify the various campus precincts into a cohesive collegiate environment, provide an added sense of place and orientation, and reestablish an architectural expression consistent with the institutional values of William & Mary.

This document includes an introductory historical overview to establish a context for considering the future of campus development, and is followed by:

  • Campus Vision Plan: An overarching vision for the organization of the campus, with a plan for a new campus structure of circulation and public open space.
  • Design Guidelines: A set of general criteria for the design of new architectural and landscape architectural projects.
Study Area

The design guidelines address the main campus and the College's holdings directly north of Jamestown Road and south of Richmond Road. Planning and design criteria for other College land and buildings will be addressed by the College as new development initiatives emerge in the future.

View the design guideline photography (PDF).