John Nagy '00 M.A. | October 7, 2018
Ask Notre Dame alumni to name their favorite campus buildings and chances are you’ll hear two consistent answers: the basilica and the Golden Dome.
Ask architecture professors, and the consensus may surprise you: South Dining Hall, the tone-setting collegiate gothic masterwork of Ralph Adams Cram, and the stately, neoclassical Bond Hall, erected 101 years ago to house the University’s first freestanding library. The Department of Architecture moved into the latter during the 1960s.
Bond is beloved, and beautiful. Just by looking at it you’re absorbing Alberti’s Ten Books on Architecture — whether you’ve heard of Alberti or not. It offers some of campus’ best views of Sacred Heart and the Main Building, of the geese and restful waters of Saint Mary’s Lake. So, why would the School of Architecture ever want to leave?
Start with location, location, location. Aesthetics aside, Bond Quad “is out of sight of the rest of the campus and academic life. It’s a nice little residential quarter, if you will,” says Michael Lykoudis, the school’s Francis and Kathleen Rooney Dean. “We try to talk loudly so people hear us.”
Come January, the faculty will be able to use their inside voices when they move into the new Walsh Family Hall and trade in their country home for the rapidly urbanizing surrounds of Angela Boulevard and Eddy Street Commons, their bucolic back slope for the asphalt of stadium parking lots, their bedroom community for a front door minutes away from peers in music, film and theater, in business, engineering and global affairs.
As important to Lykoudis as the proximities that will better foster academic collaborations will be the improved access for off-campus visitors.
“We need to be closer to the city that nurtures us — and that we have made a contribution to,” he says, reminiscing for instance about the 85-year envisioning plan he and his students drew up for South Bend in 1995 with then-Mayor Joe Kernan ’68 — a plan he says informs the city’s economic and cultural renaissance today. It’s been a hard conversation to maintain. “It seems like I never heard the end of, ‘You know, I tried to come to your lecture, but they turned me around at the East Gate.”
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