Architecture faculty, students reflect on new facility
Alex Daugherty | Tuesday, April 24, 2018
Notre Dame’s School of Architecture is known for being one of the few architecture schools in the country that teaches a classical style of architecture. When the School of Architecture leaves its current home in Bond Hall and moves into the Matthew and Joyce Walsh Family Hall, the institution will move into a building designed to reflect this style.
Michael Lykoudis, dean of the School of Architecture, said the faculty felt it was important that the School of Architecture’s physical home reflected its academic program.
“The school’s faculty believes that traditional and classical architecture and urbanism are essential to the dialogue in contemporary architecture,” he said. “If we talk the talk, we should walk the walk. Realizing a building such as the one we are constructing is part of the validation of the philosophical direction.”
Walsh Family Hall will provide updated facilities and technologies that Bond Hall, which was originally designed to serve as the University’s library, does not offer. The new building will boast larger studios to increase interaction between classes, improved display areas for student work, an expanded library, a digital studio with upgraded technology, a historic preservation workshop, a larger auditorium and its basement will serve as the home of one of the University’s three geothermal plants. Neo-traditional architect Leon Krier has also donated his archives to the School’s library, and a specially crafted staircase to complete a stoa is currently being designed in France. A Hall of Casts will serve as both a place for teaching and a museum.
While the new hall will not have Bond Hall’s lakeside views or its famous red carpet, its location will bring the School of Architecture closer to other major buildings and the South Bend community as a whole, professor Philip Bess said.
“Notwithstanding my regrets at leaving the northwest side of campus behind, my hope is that the move will make the School of Architecture less culturally isolated, less ‘mysterious’ — in a bad way — than we currently are,” he said. “It will be good to be closer to DPAC and to the Nanovic Center and The Law School, to engineering and to business; and vice versa.”
Despite the updates and expanded capacities Walsh Family Hall will provide, the transition from Bond Hall will not occur without nostalgia, professor Alan DeFrees said.
“My love for Bond Hall goes back to the first time I walked through the doors in the fall of 1969,” he said. “I was a freshman, struggling in Mechanical Engineering and wondering if M.E. was the right choice. I was roaming around the Main Quad, dwelling on my problems, when I noticed strange and rather festive green and yellow lights at the end of a sidewalk. I walked to the west to see what it was and found myself at the foot of the steps to the architecture building [Bond Hall]. The strange lights were from the mercury vapor fixtures in the archway and yellow glow emanating from the arched window above the main entrance. As I walked into the main lobby, I was struck by the reverberations of dozens of students working in their studios. As I walked around the lobby, I saw the beautiful drawings and models on display. From that time forward I knew that architecture was my new path.”
Even those who have not been familiar with the building for as long will miss it. Cole Rembecki, a fourth-year architecture student, is not looking forward to leaving.
“I will miss Bond Hall so much it hurts,” he said. “I’ve made so many memories in that building. I honestly feel like I’m leaving my childhood home. I just hope they don’t let that building go to waste, because it’s a beautiful building and it deserves to be treated as such.”
Sophomore architecture student Hollie Hastings said the new facilities are an exciting development for students, but emotional ties to Bond Hall will still exist.
“I’ve asked around the sophomore studio if others will also miss it and the opinion is unanimous,” she said. “Bond Hall has become both a home and a family and it’ll be a shame to leave it behind.”
The new structure will provide updated resources for architecture students to advance in their own careers, as well as advance the field of architecture as a whole, Bess said.
“The challenges facing the upcoming generation of Notre Dame architecture faculty and their students seem to me far different than the challenges faced by my Boomer demographic cohort,” he said. “After 30 years, we now know it is in fact possible to initiate young adults into a tradition of building beautifully and building well, at the scale of both traditional urbanism and traditional architecture; and to do so such that virtually every graduate of the Notre Dame School of Architecture who wants a job in the architecture-related professions can get one.”