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| Institution Name: Ursuline College |
Original/Historic Place Name: J. J. Mullen Academic Building, Dauby Science Center, and Ralph M. Besse Library
Location on Campus:
Date(s) of Construction and Designer(s): Type of Place: Building group
|Style(s) of majority of buildings: Modern/post-WWII, Contemporary, Modern/post-WWII, Contemporary |
|Style(s) of minority of buildings: Contemporary |
|Building group type: Irregular; Quadrangle; Modern; Other: the main campus buildings form a quadrangle that is decidedly modern in style. The architect envisioned a village-like environment for the campus. The isometric ‘U’ shape of the Mullen Building creates an ‘outdoor room’ within the courtyard. The irregular shape and arrangement of the buildings make for an irregular quadrangle. It is possible to walk from the south to the north end of the quad via a series of interconnecting hallways and/or breezeway. A covered breezeway at the north end of the quad connects Besse with Dauby and the O’Brian Athletic Center.
Additions to existing buildings and the most recently constructed facility, the Pilla Learning Center, link the quad (with its academic, administrative, and athletic functions) with the dormitories, the Wasmer Art Gallery, and Daley Dining Hall. |
|Relationship to landscape: |
|From Lander Road, the main administrative building presents as a long, low, two-story building. A large modernist sculpture of St. Angela Merici, the founder of the Order of St. Ursula and a leader in the education of women, sits in a grassy area formed by a circular driveway. This piece, and a second one entitled "Leading into the Light" located inside the quad, were sculpted by Norman Poirier. The quadrangle is reached through a breezeway that interrupts the second floor of Mullen, a result of nestling the building into the topography of the land. There are offices above the breezeway and in the student services area on the first floor. The interior quad contains a series of walking paths, picnic tables, benches, and a patio area with tables, chairs, and umbrellas at the north end of the area. A series of steps at the south end of the quad addresses the difference in elevation as the land slopes toward the lake. |
|Ideas associated with building group: |
| In addition to the structures which house classrooms and labs, Ursuline College's physical environment reflects a greater commitment to the whole person's intellectual, spiritual, emotional, and physical well-being . The green spaces and vista of the lake from the main quadrangle convey a sense of peace and offer an opportunity for reflection and contemplation, a core value inherited from the founders, the Ursuline Sisters of Cleveland. The building group that makes up the modified quadrangle is the academic hub of the campus, with classrooms, the library, the chapel, various student services, the gymnasium, and the fitness center. These are physical manifestations of the coherent holistic approach we offer to our students.
|| || Function: |
| 1966-present (2007)||outdoor space (quad)|
| 1966-present (2007)||master plan (campus)|
Significance: architecture, education, landscape, religion
Landmark designation: Narrative: see below
References: see below
Founded by the sisters of the Order of St. Ursula in 1871, Ursuline College received its charter from the state of Ohio and is acknowledged as the first women's college in the state. Situated on a 112-acre campus in a rural suburb east of Cleveland, the Pepper Pike site is the fifth home of the college. Previously located at four urban sites in Cleveland, the opening of the campus in 1966 ushered in a new era.
The campus and its buildings were designed by Peter van Dijk, a well-known architect whose designs in northern Ohio include the Blossom Music Center, the Akron Art Museum, the E. J. Thomas Performing Arts Hall, and the newest addition to the Cleveland Museum of Art and the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. Van Dijk is a modernist who studied with Buckminster Fuller and worked under Eero Saarinen before coming to Cleveland. His belief that modern architecture "must absorb and give meaning to modern materials and give form and meaning to a contemporary situation" is illustrated in the design of the buildings on the Ursuline College campus. Mindful of the college's history and its mission to educate women, Van Dijk held that a modern campus with 'honest' buildings would facilitate the creation of new traditions. He and his firm designed all the buildings on campus with the exception of the most recently completed Pilla Student Center.
Four units of the first building phase opened in 1966 and included the three-story brick Mullen Academic Building, the Dauby Science Center, Grace Residence Hall, and Fritzsche Student Center. The buildings in the quad were designed and sited to take advantage of the natural views in the landscape. Fitting purposefully within the topography of the land, the U-shape of the quadrangle opens to the lake, and the buildings adjust to the slope of the ground through varying heights. In 1968, the Mullen building received an Award of Merit from the Architects Society of Ohio and the American Institute of Architects in the category of administration and classroom buildings; the following year it won the Architectural Award of Excellence.
The quadrangle as originally envisioned by the architect was completed with the addition of the Besse Library in 1988. It is constructed with "Ursuline blend" brick, a local blend that complements the original building materials of buff Indiana limestone and Black Canadian granite used in the Ursuline Educational Center (the Ursuline Mother house). The Besse Library received the Cleveland Chapter of the American Institute of Architects Honor Award for achievement of excellence in architectural design in 1985 and the Award for Excellence in Masonry Design from the Ohio Masonry Council and the Architects Society of Ohio in 1986.
|I. Bibliographic sources: |
|II. Location of other data: |
|University: Facilities Management Office |