The Notre Dame Design Team would like to thank the people of Northampton for graciously hosting and collaborating with us this fall. We will post the final drawings and book as soon as we are able.
Happy Holidays and best wishes to you all!
Who we are:
Traditional and classical architecture and urbansim occupy a premier place in the University of Notre Dame School of Architecture. We draw on the past to build a future at once more humane, more durable, more convenient, more beautiful and more sustainable. Under the tutelage of professor Philip Bess, the six graduate architecture and urban design students studying Northampton this semester---Kalinda Brown, Dan Degreve, Josh Eckert, Scott Ford, Aaron Helfand, and Crystal Olin---are placing the highest priority on beautiful, mixed-use, pedestrian-friendly traditional neighborhoods as the physical and spatial context for Northampton to best pursue her common objectives in a way that promotes the well-being of all her citizens. Aside from the studio's internal educational objectives, we seek to offer fresh eyes to assist Northampton in addressing the many challenges she faces today in a manner that will enhance and develop her historic identity as Paradise City.
The Northampton Charrette:
We visited Northampton, on behalf of the Northampton Design Forum, this past September 6 -14, 2008. The purpose of our visit was to document the existing conditions, and to hold public meetings where we listened to the community's concerns and presented drawings of our proposed ideas. We recognize that proposed changes affect numerous interests, both public and private, and while these interests may seem irreconcilable at times, we suggest that communities have always had to balance individual self-interest with their common good. Examples of our proposals include changes to Main Street, Route 66, the Center of Florence, King Street, Pleasant Street, and Hospital Hill. We have looked at other areas in the city, as well as the city as a whole, for which proposals will be made and updated periodically. We had lengthy discussions with the community about growth, sustainability, economic concerns, social concerns, transportation, agriculture, public services, zoning, and public spaces. We began to discuss in further detail the ideas of infill and refill, providing a diversity of housing options (including affordable housing), improving public infrastructure (such as transit, recreation, bike paths, and green space), improving the amount and quality of public space (such as plazas or market areas) within the city, and what would be needed in order for these ideas to come to fruition. Our goal is to help Northampton and the surrounding community to grow in a sustainable and natural way, and to suggest changes that would add value and beauty. Sprawl development, with expansive parking lots and architecturally anemic buildings is inappropriate for Northampton. Yet this is the type of development that is already encroaching on the city and its surroundings. Proactive planning and community involvement are important to secure and extend Northampton's historic character.
The Website:During our visit to Northampton it was suggested that a website be created so that public discussion could continue online. This website is our effort to provide such a forum. We will try to update the site with new designs, information, and links throughout the semester. We invite anyone who is interested to participate in the discussion. Points of view may conflict, making the process of dialogue and feedback vital to reaching a shared vision. We ask that all comments and questions, even critical ones, be respectful of others and directed towards positive solutions. To contribute to the discussion, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org (with "DISCUSSION" written in the subject line of the email).
Any general questions or suggestions concerning the website can be directed to Crystal Olin at email@example.com.