South Bend Novitiate

Graduate School: Spring 2013

Studio: Thomas Gordon Smith

The South Bend Franciscan Novitiate at Pier Park in downtown South Bend was an exploration in site constraints.  In addition to a 16'8" drop in elevation from street level to the park, the site was also bounded by the river on two sides.  This design explored the idea of the novitiate as a "fortress" rising from the river.  In order to achieve this expression, the exterior walls were built on the existing retaining walls, and the entire site was used.  In the end, the odd and varying shapes of the compound were subordinated by the strong geometric statement of the chapel dome, the center of the novice's life, rising from the river.