University of Notre Dame Prayer for World Peace Plaza
Notre Dame, IN
The University of Notre Dame brought on Hoerr Schaudt in 2020 to revitalize a critical campus open space along St. Mary's Lake immediately adjacent to the historic campus core's Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes.
The university's project aspirations were fourfold: to create a place of individual contemplation and personal reflection; to create a place where people are welcomed to formally gather in groups, such as a class or an audience to listen to talks, lectures, readings, and prayers; to create a place where families and friends can gather informally with conversations and picnics; and finally, to create a place where people can safely come to the water's edge to feed the wildlife, such as birds, ducks, geese, swans, and fish, which call St. Mary's Lake their home. The Prayer for World Peace was to be displayed prominently in the plaza in multiple languages to support student reflection and prayer.
Inspired by the prayer of the Rosary, the design of the Prayer for World Peace Plaza proposes a series of five interconnected spaces (referential to the five decades of the Rosary) that provide visitors with a variety of spatial experiences, culminating at the central plaza and the celebration of the Prayer for World Peace. At the intersection of Holy Cross Drive and St. Mary's Road, an entry garden greets visitors arriving from the Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes and invites them to explore the garden environment. To the far south, a circular boardwalk invites visitors to engage with and enjoy the St. Mary's lakefront. Adjacent to the boardwalk, an intimate seat wall garden designed for quiet reflection or small group discussion leads the visitor to the central plaza, while to the north, another small garden space provides gathering space for students around one of the large existing sycamore trees on site. The central plaza space features a quiet, reflective water table with the Prayer for World Peace inscribed in six languages around the outer edge. Concentric seat walls radiate from the center of the space, providing seating opportunities for small groups and large audiences.