Notre Dame, Downtown South Bend collaborate on Jefferson Street bridge ‘ephemeral garden’

Jefferson Street bridge in South Bend (credit score: Nathan Holth)

For a couple of days in the spring, the view from Jefferson Street bridge in downtown South Bend will trigger residents to cease and take note.

The University of Notre Dame is working with South Bend officials and residents to design and style an “ephemeral garden” on the bridge, a temporary oasis of grassy spaces, plants and pavilions that would allow site visitors loosen up and take pleasure in nature and the elegance of the city. Notre Dame students will participate in an all-day design charrette Saturday (Nov. one), and will present their ideas from one to two p.m. Sunday (Nov. 2) at a public reception in the Bond Hall gallery at Notre Dame.

“The notion behind this is that the Jefferson Street bridge would be closed for two or 3 days only, and the backyard will be set up and then taken down,” explained Lucien Steil, associate professor of architecture at the University of Notre Dame. “It brings back the thought of nature in the city.”

Steil started collaborating with a group of folks doing work to shine a positive light on downtown South Bend, such as Notre Dame alumni Andrew Elegante, a regional company owner, and Aaron Perri, executive director of Downtown South Bend Inc. “The concept originated with them, and they are actually functioning on the advancement and building the park on Jefferson Bridge,” Steil stated.

A Notre Dame group, Students for New Urbanism, grew to become concerned along with students from the University’s Colleges of Engineering and Arts and Letters. On Saturday, the students will meet at the bridge and devote the day sketching out concepts, making versions and obtaining methods to highlight South Bend’s beauty.

“The idea is that individuals can use the room. People can just sit and talk to one an additional on the locations of grass. It must be actually available nature and not just to search at,” Steil mentioned. “We’re speaking about pavilions or sculpture pieces that will also be windows that will frame lovely views of South Bend, which folks have not been in a position to appear at because they’re just driving in excess of the bridge.

“Ideas for the area contain freestanding panels, the place people can paint or publish, in which the guests can participate. They can place their notes, their tips, their suggestions. We really want it to become a lively discussion between citizens and the city.”

Following the design and style charrette, the college students will share their concepts with the organizers of South Bend’s 150th anniversary celebration, scheduled for 2015. DTSB Inc. has planned several occasions to mark the event, such as the garden on the bridge. Even though DTSB is operating on its own programs for the bridge, Steil hopes that the students’ function will be incorporated. The styles will also be uploaded to a public gallery on the School of Architecture’s internet site.

The types for the backyard will have additional use, nonetheless. Steil explained the concepts created for the ephemeral backyard will inform Notre Dame’s plans to construct a permanent park at Bowman Creek, in which the University has been participating in cleanup function in excess of the previous a number of many years.

“Next semester we will do one more charrette on Bowman Creek, exactly where we take the findings, the drawings, the tips from this charrette and just relocate it in another location for a resilient park,” Steil mentioned. “Bowman Creek Park is a public park with excellent possible. The University has been working with Gary Gilot, the retired director of public works in South Bend and a Notre Dame alumnus, for a number of many years on restoring its good quality and offering back this wonderful piece of nature to the city and creating it usable.”

DTSB strategies to produce its garden in the spring, Steil explained. At the time of the 150th anniversary celebrations, the College of Architecture will host an exhibit of the students’ unique designs for each the Jefferson Street bridge and Bowman Creek tasks.

Steil is thrilled for residents of South Bend to slow down and enjoy the bridge in the spring.

“People typically really really don’t recognize the bridges,” he stated. “It’s a lovely bridge. Everyone will come and say, ‘We in no way imagined that rather than just crossing the bridge, we could stay and do one thing with it.’ The bridge gets like a living area, hanging above the river. You can see downtown South Bend, the place you have these stunning buildings and a quite nice skyline and waterfall.”

Get in touch with: Lucien Steil, College of Architecture, Courtney Rae Haddick, president of SNU,

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