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A few straggling thoughts on NDXC

by Mike (bart), Wednesday, March 05, 2014, 08:22

I don't think the inclusion of a rec center and student center in the same building is a head scratcher by any means. I do have misgivings, though, about just how large these buildings are going to seem. The west building (and the south building, really) is going to be have a profile about the size of the old cook county hospital (below). The bulk of this thing is just going to dwarf DeBart , Mendoza and the other surrounding structures:


My overall worry regarding the bulk of the design is the fact that you have a few slam dunk ideas (new student center at the heart of campus - 100% winner!) and then some layup ideas (swap a hoops facility with rec space in the new project - 85% winner!, new anthro space - 85% winner!) and soem decided jumpers (3rd floor lounge in the south building, move the new music building from Eddy to NDXC, etc.). You guys know enough about sportsmath to understand why this starts to seem like a potentially ill-advised $450M bet after a while. Given the unprecedented building scale for Notre Dame, that bet ends up being not another project that we hope ND does well, but an unmistakable touchstone that will define ND's campus more than any other project.

All that said, my hunch is that these designs are pretty locked in. If this is what is to be, this is what is to be. I could definitely end up being wrong about the project. Regardless of outcome, however, I do wish ND had sought more public involvement, for a few reasons:

- For a place with such a highly regarded architecture school, it seems odd to not want the input of experts who were educated and trained on ND's campus

- For a place that values its alumni community so highly, one imagines such a big project would be a perfect topic for engaging the larger ND family

- For a place that seems laudably intent on engaging more with the South Bend community, at least trying to sell the concept within the greater SB community (where I imagine this will be a significant portion of total construction investment over the next 5 years) would have been nice as well.



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