Founded in 1855 by the Congregation of Holy Cross, a Roman Catholic religious order, Saint Mary’s College is situated on a densely wooded bluff overlooking the St. Joseph River. When the college decided to embark upon an aggressive facilities expansion program in late 1999, it became imperative that the historical and picturesque character of the campus ASSOCIATED FIRMChapple Design-BuildFEATURED IN2001 Architectural Portfolio preserved.
The new Welcome Center was conceived as the “jewel in the crown” of the institution. Its purpose was to establish an appropriate identity for the prestigious women’s college, as well as to create a memorable first impression for visitors and prospective students.
Several exterior wall panel mockups ensured that the brick blend was compatible with the other masonry buildings on campus. Details for window arches, coursing patterns, slate roofing and the fireplace chimney also echoed those found nearby.
Warm, informal spaces with abundant natural light were designed to accommodate an office suite for the campus security director, a history display, interactive computer and video technology, and the “signature” reception hall space.