Monday, August 22, 2022

Notre Dame: Sorin Hall's New West Wing Opens

Renovations to John Bellairs's one-time Notre Dame dorm, Sorin Hall - which he once lovingly referred to as "South Bend's answer to the House of Usher" - are complete, as Margaret Fosmoe discussed in the Notre Dame Magazine:

Students and visitors to campus this fall might not even notice it when they pass the west wing of Sorin Hall. The building’s entirely new western section — faced with vintage yellow Notre Dame bricks — blends in so seamlessly that it looks like part of the original 19th-century residence hall.

Fresh off a year-long major renovation and expansion, the University’s oldest dorm is ready for the arrival of students for the 2022-23 academic year. The distinctive 134-year-old building with four turrets on the Main Quad has a new central courtyard, accessible via an elegant arched walkway. And inside there is plenty of what was sorely lacking before: abundant study lounges, social gathering spaces, a hall office, an exercise room and two kitchens for residents (who are known as the Otters).

Sorin now has an elevator, which replaced one of the building’s four-story staircases. The southwest corner turret room on the main floor — for many years a room traditionally reserved for seven sophomores — is now a quiet reading room for residents. It features comfortable sofas and deeply cushioned chairs, with no TVs or other electronic distractions. Just south of the building is a new shady patio.

A major goal of the project was to provide Sorin residents with the amount and variety of social, study and common spaces that are typical in other Notre Dame dormitories, Anthony Polotto, Notre Dame’s director of construction and quality assurance, said during a tour of the building.

The new three-story west wing encloses the courtyard and architecturally mirrors the rest of the hall. The addition is faced with yellow bricks made of clay from the campus lakes. The bricks were reclaimed during the demolition and replacement of Corby Hall and Brownson Hall.

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