In 2004, Mackey Mitchell was selected to study all 27 of Notre Dame's existing residence halls to make recommendations for renovations and to program two prospective new halls. Shortly after the study, we began designing Duncan Hall, the first new men’s residence hall in a dozen years. An undergraduate community of 232 men with an ornate chapel situated on the second floor, directly above social and study lounges. Completed in 2006, this $17million, 68,480SF hall has become one of Notre Dame’s most cohesive new communities.
Duncan Hall was conceived at a period of time when the university was reconsidering its housing priorities, tempted by the success of peer institutions attracting residents with apartment and other styles of undergraduate living. After leading an in-depth analysis, we helped Notre Dame understand that their unique success in retaining upperclassmen could be attributed to a robust “ladder effect” of desirable room and suite types in their stay-hall system. With the right unit mix and distribution in each building, upperclassmen will stay on campus to move up in the lottery, for their chance to live in memorable, historic settings.
So much of the charm and heritage of the Notre Dame experience owes to its buildings - not just the Collegiate Gothic style, but to the unique and sometimes quirky personality each one exudes. To succeed as a community, Duncan Hall had to be infused with its own distinct character and identity, with a wide variety of rooms and suites to attract freshman and sophomores while retaining juniors and seniors. Within the first academic year, a group of Junior residents had already christened their coveted three-room, third floor suite “the Duncan Penthouse,” and proudly handed out printed calling cards to visitors at the building dedication.
Passion + Perspective
In addition to genuine expertise in student housing, Mackey Mitchell brought a high level of passion, dedicated client service, and plain hard work that helped make both Duncan Hall and Ryan Hall wildly successful projects for the University.
- Doug Marsh, AIA, AUA, LEED AP
University Architect, University of Notre Dame