Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


Taube Conference Center

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Institution Name: Notre Dame de Namur University
Original/Historic Place Name: Church of the Immaculate Heart of Mary
Location on Campus:
Date(s) of Construction and Designer(s):
1929-1930original construction Unknown
ca. 1974-1976remodeled interior Unknown
1992-1994renovations after the Loma Prieta earthquake Unknown
2003renovations Unknown
Type of Place: Individual building
Style(s): (Glossary)
Foundation: concrete; wood
Walls: stone; cement
Roof: red Spanish tile
1959-1992academic department building (art)
1994-present (2007)other (conference center)
1994-present (2007)classroom

Significance: architecture, education, history, religion
Landmark designation:
Narrative: see below
References: see below

In 1930, a small church with a capacity for about 200 people was built on the property of the College of Notre Dame, now Notre Dame de Namur University. It was built with the understanding that when a permanent parish church was built for Belmont, the building would be given to the university for its use. It was a wood frame building with a concrete foundation, stucco wall cladding, a gabled roof with red Spanish tile, and two tall pillars with Byzantine capitals and arches with bas relief stucco decorations at its entrance. It has been described as a Venetian model of the Romanesque Style but also as a Mission style building. It had stained glass windows on either side of the entrance and over the altar on the west side of the building. In 1974, the City of Belmont declared it an historical landmark. For thirty-eight years it was used as a church and then turned over to the University for its use. After two years of renovation, the building was converted into an art studio and classroom for the Art Department.

It is a treasure of a building that is cherished by faculty, students, and alumni. All through its tenure as a church, it was used by students and faculty alike as a center of worship on the campus, and many still believe it still functions in this capacity. Boarding school students attended Sunday services there regularly. There are alumni who remember being married in the church or having their children baptized there.

The Taube Conference Center enhances the entrance to the University and symbolizes its Catholic identity. Because of the building, the Music Department is able to open performances to the public and introduce them to the University's talented students. Sometimes the building is used as a theatre for the Theater Arts Department, which enables them to have plays very close to the audience; and it is a symbol of the history of the University, since it is one of the oldest buildings on the campus. Its unique design separates it from the rest of the campus, and its free standing location away from any other building makes it particularly distinguished.

I. Bibliographic sources:

Selected papers. Taub Conference Center Renovation. Archives, Notre Dame de Namur University, Belmont, CA.

II. Location of other data:

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