New HQ for classical revival

Rendering of the planned new School of Architecture building at Notre Dame. (johnsimpsonarchitects.com)

Rendering of the planned new School of Architecture building at Notre Dame. (johnsimpsonarchitects.com)

The School of Architecture at Notre Dame hosts the only major classical curriculum in the world, so far as I know. There are one or two schools and departments at the university level that offer a choice of curricula, such as at Yale, and some smaller colleges that offer a classical curriculum or courses in classical architecture, such as Judson, in Elgin, Ill. Courses in architectural history are offered at a few. A program devoted to contemporary classical architecture and urbanism has recently been founded at the University of Colorado Denver under Christine Franck. But such progress is not without its steps backward. The Boston Architecture College last year dumped its new classical curriculum for reasons it claimed were entirely financial. Right.

So Notre Dame remains the focus of classicism in the modern world, the unchallenged headquarters of the classical revival, such as it is and may one day be. It has announced a design for the new campus of its school of architecture, designed by John Simpson, the British architect whose firm won last year’s competition. The lovely rendering above, by Chris Draper, and other images on the Simpson website, show that pride may be taken in the school’s decision to build a new campus that beautifully suggests its role in rolling back the continuing attack on the built environment.

May the new campus be swiftly erected, occupied with brio, and boost the spirit of the classical revival!

Hats off to Josh Arcurio for sending the render to TradArch, whose members are already embarked on a spirited debate of the buildings’ design.

And here is a list, sent to TradArch by architect Michael Imber, of the 100 most beautiful campuses in America, a list that contains extraordinarily few modernist campuses. The fact that any modernist campus is listed above the stunning campus of Brown University, however, casts doubt on its compilers’ aesthetic sensibility. Indeed, Brown is not even on the list. For shame!

About David Brussat

For a living, I edit the writing of some of the nation's leading architects, urbanists and design theorists. This blog was begun in 2009 as a feature of the Providence Journal, where I was on the editorial board and wrote a weekly column of architecture criticism for three decades. Architecture Here and There fights the style wars for classical architecture and against modern architecture, no holds barred. My freelance writing and editing on that topic and others addresses issues of design and culture locally and globally. I am a fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts, and a member of the board of the New England chapter of the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art, which bestowed an Arthur Ross Award on me in 2002. I work from Providence, R.I., where I live with my wife Victoria, my son Billy and our cat Gato. If you would like to invest your prose with even more style and clarity, please email me at my consultancy, dbrussat@gmail.com, or call 401.351.0457. Testimonial: "Your work is so wonderful - you now enter my mind and write what I would have written." - Nikos Salingaros, mathematician at the University of Texas, architectural theorist and author of many books.
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4 Responses to New HQ for classical revival

  1. Raf T says:

    As a graduate of the Notre Dame School of Architecture all I can say is that the defense & promotion of classicism which started when I was attending there has finally come to fruition. And it is Horrendous. Thank God Almighty there is only one school of Classical Architecture in the world, but pity it is at Notre Dame.

    Like

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  3. Corey Strange says:

    Check out what Christine Frank is doing at UC Denver with CARTA.

    Like

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