Notre Dame students share designs for future homeless housing

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Some Notre Dame students are pitching ideas to city leaders about the future of housing for the homeless.

Notre Dame seniors share eight design plans with the South Bend Heritage Foundation for a future apartment complex for transitional housing.

Thanks in part to a state tax credit, South Bend Heritage is moving ahead with plans for a $3.5 million living space.

The Heritage Foundation has already chosen Alliance Architects to design the new apartments, but they wanted to hear if some Notre Dame architecture students had some good ideas to contribute.

“They're taking this on as a project to really help us ensure that we provide the best designed building we can to serve this particular population,” South Bend Heritage executive director Marco Mariani said.

Seniors presented eight designs to the South Bend Heritage Foundation on campus.

“What we try to do is break that up and create some public spaces so it was like you're walking through a city. You go through a narrow walkway and then open up into a great plaza. So we tried to incorporate that into an architectural scale,” Notre Dame senior Taryn Gutierrez said.

“There's 32 one-bedroom apartment units, but then a lot of shared spaces, so they referred a lot to their dorms. We talked about how you could provide a sense of community and interaction among tenants and residents,” Notre Dame assistant professor Kim Rollings said.

The class was tasked with designing a living space that's attractive but modest, while fitting with the city's history.

“The old South Bend Central High School, the old South Bend Tribune building, I really tried to take a lot of influences from there and use it in my design so I was really looking at buildings that're similar in style, but are from the area to try to keep everything local,” Notre Dame senior Gabe Jacobs said.

Even though the Heritage Foundation has already chosen an Alliance Architects to design to the new complex, the students say they'd be honored if their drafts were used by the time the first brick is laid.

“Even if it's just a few of the features you've incorporated, because it means we're helping out in the community and putting our education to good use,” Jacobs said.

Alliance Architects are expected to finish their final designs in a few months and put the project up for bids sometime this summer.
Mariani says the new complex will be built in the Rum Village neighborhood along Indiana Avenue.
They hope to start construction in October and, if all goes according to plan, cut the ribbon in the fall of 2017.