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John Simpson unveils vision for American architecture school

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‘New classicist’ practice John Simpson Architects has released the first images of its designs for a new school of architecture at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana

In May 2014, the London-based practice defeated shortlisted rivals Demetri Porphyrios and South African architect Allan Greenberg in the race to re-home the famous Indiana faculty of traditional architecture and urban planning.

The new institute, which starts on site today (31 October) will sit at the heart of a new visual arts district on the university campus, which is intended to serve as the ‘front door’ to the university.

A statement from John Simpson Architects said: ‘The building was to be a pedagogical and symbolic icon for the school’s architectural principles such that students and faculty could point to the massing, character, and details to teach classes and give public lectures.’

The practice said that it met the brief, which called for the exterior to fit with the character of existing classical buildings on the campus, and use brick for exterior wall finishes and granite for the base of the building.

It said: ‘The construction of the building was to emphasise economy while maximising the architectural character in keeping with the values of sustainability and conservation for the long-term life of the building.’

Originally, the university planned for the building to have a floorspace of 5,600m² but, during a preliminary consultation, this was increased to 7,400m².

Work started on site at the weekend and the building, funded by donors Matt and Joyce Walsh, is expected to be ready for occupancy in December 2018.

sk198 west elevation

sk198 west elevation

Proposed west elevation

Project data

Location Notre Dame, Indiana, USA
Type of project School of architecture
Client University of Notre Dame
Architect John Simpson Architects (with Stantec as executive architect)
Landscape architect Hoerr + Schaudt Landscape Architects
Structural engineer Thornton Tomasetti
M&E consultant ARUP
Cost Estimator CCS
Main contractor Walsh Group
Funding Donation from Matt and Joyce Walsh
Tender date Staggered bid packages, from September 2016
Start on site date 31 October, 2016
Completion date Building Occupancy scheduled for Dec 2018
Contract duration August 2014-December 2018
Completion date December 2018
Gross internal floor area 9,290m²
Total cost Total Construction Cost: $35.8 million



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Readers' comments (1)

  • The glazed infill to the ionic columns in the first image is presumably an example to the students of what not to do.
    Reminiscent of the naff alteration of a historic building by philistine owners to create more floorspace.

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