Architecture students to present plans for new South Bend housing project

Author: Michael O. Garvey

School of Architecture students in Boston School of Architecture students in Boston

A team of eight undergraduate students in the University of Notre Dame’s School of Architecture will formally present design proposals Friday (April 22) for a unique new housing project on South Bend’s south side.

The students, directed by Kim Rollings, assistant professor of architecture at Notre Dame, will present plans for a 30,000-square-foot facility to provide safe and affordable housing for chronically homeless people.

Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH), as it is called, is designed particularly to address the needs of homeless people whose plight arises from a complex web of health problems, including mental illness and addiction, which can entrap them in a cycle of ambulance rides, hospital emergency room visits and temporary stays in detox centers, homeless shelters and even in jail. The area’s first PSH facility, for which the South Bend Heritage Foundation and its local partners have recently received a state grant, will house 32 people

The students’ work on the project included extensive research on how architecture affects physical, mental and social health. Earlier this year, they visited Boston to study groundbreaking examples of PSH designed by The Narrow Gate Architecture Ltd., a firm started by three Notre Dame School of Architecture graduates to serve marginalized people in urban communities, and to share a meal with and interview residents of the PSH facilities there.

“These students are passionate about architecture and how it can support human flourishing,” Rollings said. “Their training in traditional and classical architecture, along with direct interactions with residents of PSH facilities, allows them to create human-centered designs that are dignified, functional and durable, reducing the stigma often associated with affordable housing for vulnerable populations.”

Among those to whom the students will be making their presentations will be South Bend Heritage Foundation executive director Marco Mariani; the PSH architect Bill Lamie of Alliance Architects in South Bend; Mary Gibson, regional/compliance manager of The Bradley Company in South Bend; and Notre Dame alumna Kitty Ryan of The Narrow Gate Architecture Ltd.

Contact: Kim Rollings, 574-631-4105,