Brittany Collins | November 1, 2014
The University of Notre Dame is working with South Bend officials and residents to design an “ephemeral garden” on the bridge, a temporary oasis of grassy spaces, plants and pavilions that would let visitors relax and enjoy nature and the beauty of the city. Notre Dame students will participate in an all-day design charrette Saturday (Nov. 1), and will present their ideas from 1 to 2 p.m. Sunday (Nov. 2) at a public reception in the Bond Hall gallery at Notre Dame.
“The idea behind this is that the Jefferson Street bridge would be closed for two or three days only, and the garden will be set up and then taken down,” said Lucien Steil, associate professor of architecture at the University of Notre Dame. “It brings back the idea of nature in the city.”
Steil started collaborating with a group of people working to shine a positive light on downtown South Bend, including Notre Dame alumni Andrew Elegante, a local business owner, and Aaron Perri, executive director of Downtown South Bend Inc. “The idea originated with them, and they are really working on the development and building the park on Jefferson Bridge,” Steil said.
A Notre Dame group, Students for New Urbanism, became involved along with students from the University’s Colleges of Engineering andArts and Letters. On Saturday, the students will meet at the bridge and spend the day sketching out ideas, creating models and finding ways to highlight South Bend’s beauty.