Washington University East Campus

St. Louis, MO—Merit Award, Research


Jeffrey Bruce
Jeffrey L. Bruce & Co., LLC
North Kansas City, MO



  • Washington University in St. Louis is set to embark on its most significant campus transformation in a century.
  • The plan envisions six new academic buildings, a reimagined landscape, and 900-space underground parking garage.
  • The focus of the plan is to transform 12 acres of the eastern campus into a pedestrian environment and create room for expansion.
  • The purpose of the research was to better understand soil water profile dynamics on a heavily programmed landscape to optimize the design objectives of efficient water management and stormwater functionality with a deep soil profile.



  • The entrant served as the irrigation consultant for the project conducting the research and performance modelling as part of the design development phase of the project.
  • The consultant supported the University and design team by providing the technical proof of concept for approval by local permitting officials.



  • Saturated and unsaturated flow dynamics and loading rates in deep soil profiles are relatively unknown resulting in inaccurate water moisture modelling for sites. Most industry standard profile evaluation use USGA saturated flow testing at 30 cm depths which occurs only on a few occasions throughout the year. Being able to model unsaturated flow and loading rates provides insights to soil moisture dynamics under 99% of actual field conditions. The research allowed the design team to understand an inherent design flaw which would have been deemed acceptable by current industry performance evaluation.
  • Supplemental irrigation is a primary tool for managing soil moisture. More detailed understanding of soil moisture dynamics which changes dramatically based on profile depth is critical toward achieving the next level of efficient water management and application.



To view project images, click HERE