The new Campus Crossroads marks the renewal of the iconic Notre Dame stadium - a symbol of strength and tradition that has endured for 87 years - that will now serve as a year-round center of athletics, academics and student life. Prior to the opening of Campus Crossroads, the stadium was used eight days each year for football home games and commencement. The gates were then locked, and the building was empty.
Four years in the making, the University of Notre Dame (UND) has completed its largest construction project in the school’s 175-year history. The Campus Crossroads Project, which opened in fall 2017, is made up of three adjacent buildings anchored to the south, east and west sides of the stadium—O’Neill Hall, Corbett Family Hall, and Duncan Student Center. The project is an integral and vibrant new face to the southeast side of the campus, while inspiring a collaborative and multidisciplinary approach to education and research amongst students and faculty. These new buildings add more than 800,000-sq. ft. of classroom, research, student life, fitness, digital media, performance, meeting, event and hospitality space, strengthening the stadium’s connectivity to the surrounding campus and drawing students in year-round. Upgrades to the stadium included widening of bowl seats, new team locker rooms, postgame media areas, and renovations to the traditional tunnel entrance for the Irish squad, as well as addition of a new visiting team tunnel.
The S/L/A/M Collaborative (SLAM), the Executive Architect for this $400 million construction endeavor, led the programming, planning and design through construction of the Campus Crossroads project. Working alongside SLAM is a complex and diverse team of industry partners that includes HOK Architects as the sports architects; RATIO teamed on early phases of design; Workshop Architects led the planning and design of the Student Center in Duncan Hall; and Champalimaud provided interior design for the South Club, University suites, and 9th floor clubs. Barton Malow is the design/build leader of the Campus Crossroads.
Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C. president, UND, says “The Campus Crossroads project is nearly complete and will provide students with a setting for discovery, community, performance and an enhanced gameday experience for football. But it’s Notre Dame’s special strength to dream bold dreams and then realize those dreams of the hard work of many. Today we celebrate not simply new buildings, but the expression of Notre Dame’s commitment to a distinctive kind of education, one that develops mind, body and spirit for service to the world.”
All student life and academic departments will be occupied in January 2018, except for the Psychology Department in Corbett Family Hall, which is anticipated to be occupied later in the spring.
A hallmark of SLAM’s work at Notre Dame has been the pursuit of a deep understanding of the University’s campus and architectural heritage, while seeking inspiration for new buildings from that rich legacy. The characteristic architectural style of the campus can be defined as Collegiate Gothic, but the name alone does not do it justice. The way gothic antecedents are used at Notre Dame are specific to that campus.
First there is the characteristic palette of materials, a buff blended brick whose origin is traced to the University’s buildings—a brick made using the clay dug from the lakes on campus. That blend has evolved over the decades to become a rich combination of colors, tans, greys, browns and reds, that gives an overall tan to buff color. To the brick blend is added a warm limestone color trim and detail as well as slate roofs.
The gothic at Notre Dame is simplified. It has an austerity and strength that is appropriate to its campus setting. While so much of the campus heritage at Notre Dame derives from those gothic antecedents, the stadium required a different response.
While the palette of campus materials was fully deployed in the Campus Crossroads project, the inspiration for the design of the new buildings looked to the original iconic Rockne stadium completed in 1930, named after the great coach who established the national reputation of Notre Dame football and convinced the University to build that structure.
The original exterior of the Rockne stadium can be seen inside the main concourse of the stadium expansion that was completed in the 1990s. SLAM also studied original drawings to further understand the key design elements of the original stadium. The Rockne stadium is not gothic, but it does have a number of characteristic elements which include:
The Crossroads required structures to be up to nine stories tall. SLAM maintained the human scale appropriate to a campus of mostly three and four-story buildings. To respect the original stadium and campus, a three to four-story base was developed for the new buildings. Entrances are marked by tower elements with a subtle evolution of the typical bay details seen in the rest of the structure and are consistent with the original Rockne stadium.
The upper stories of the Crossroads buildings progressively step back from the buildings’ base, and are meant to appear as if they unfold from those lower stories.
A series of interior spaces sought inspiration from Notre Dame’s heritage and range from the monumental Dahnke Ballroom located in the Duncan Student Center, to far more intimate spaces, such as the O’Neill Hall lobbies and Recital Hall. Millwork and stone details recall the composition and forms of the building exteriors while providing warm materiality and human scale.
The University of Notre Dame is steeped in a rich history and deeply rooted traditions, many time-honored on Game Day at Notre Dame stadium. Whether it’s students standing throughout the entire game, dancing the jig, wearing The Shirt, doing push-ups matching the Irish score on every touchdown, or the team approaching the student section to sing the Alma Mater together, each season the University builds upon its positive momentum to continuously improve the game day experience.
The Campus Crossroads Project brings new enhancements to the stadium that combine history and innovative technology, making an already extraordinary weekend for 80,000 Irish fans, students, alumni and visiting guests, an even more memorable experience.
Enhancements begin with the addition of two sideline buildings extending the length of the field and rising three stories above the stadium bowl—Duncan Student Center and Corbett Hall. In these structures are indoor and outdoor seating, in the form of clubs and suites, with enhanced hospitality spaces to serve those fans. Dramatic views of both the playing field and campus are now possible from the terraces atop each of these buildings, where fans and alumni can gather for a more intimate sporting experience. In addition, are the necessary accommodations for press, broadcast, coaches, and game day management.
O’Neill Hall, on the south side of the stadium, stands astride one of the grand game day entrances, the redesigned Frank Leahy Gate. In addition to serving as the new home for Music and Sacred Music, the South Club is located on the building’s fourth floor and aligned with the upper stadium concourse. This club will be a resource for bowl fans at each game and will also accommodate other scheduled University events.
Notable improvements for the game day experience are provided with new stadium technology – video and ribbon boards, stadium sound and field lighting. A first for Notre Dame Stadium is the addition of a video board, at the south end of the field, measuring 54 feet high and 95 feet wide, with a 4.7 million-pixel high resolution image. New sideline ribbon boards, along the east and west sides of the stadium display key game statistics. This upgrade in technology facilitated removal of the previous scoreboard at the north end of the bowl, providing improved sightlines to the famous mural affixed to the Hesburgh Library, affectionately known as Touchdown Jesus. Broadcast quality, energy efficient LED stadium lighting has been installed, providing exceptional visibility of the field and dramatic lighting of the seating bowl.
A parallel and separate project undertaken by the University has renewed the stadium concourses. References are made to the history of football at Notre Dame through graphics and signage. Architectural details and lighting reflect the original Rockne Stadium exterior, which remains visible at the main level concourse. Home and visiting team locker rooms were rebuilt and the original redwood bench seating in the bowl was replaced, while affording increased space for each seat.
An interesting interior application was the reuse of these salvaged benches from the stadium bowl. The weathered redwood benches with original seat numbers intact, provide an historic artifact applied to many interior spaces for all to enjoy when visiting each of the three new buildings.
Arriving early on campus, or staying until the team leaves the field, Notre Dame invites everyone to be a part of their history and traditions that define the Fighting Irish and a great Game Day experience!
As a fully-integrated, multi-disciplinary architecture firm, The S/L/A/M Collaborative (SLAM) has a national presence in programming/planning and designing professional schools of medicine, pharmacy, nursing, public health, law, business, science, engineering, and technology. SLAM has recently completed noteworthy projects with clients from the Johns Hopkins University, Emory University, Duke University, MIT, University of Texas at Austin, University of Tennessee, Rutgers University and the University of Cincinnati, among others. SLAM offers architecture, planning, interior design, landscape architecture and site planning, structural engineering and construction services that focus on various market sectors. SLAM has offices in Atlanta, Boston, and Glastonbury, CT.
For more information on The S/L/A/M Collaborative please visit www.slamcoll.com