Michael Christopher Duda Center for Preservation, Resilience, and Sustainability

Professor lecturing students with Vatican dome in the background.

The Michael Christopher Duda Center for Preservation, Resilience, and Sustainability was established in 2021 to offer the School of Architecture at the University of Notre Dame new and expanded opportunities to advance its mission, especially in the protection and conservation of “our common home,” as Pope Francis wrote in Laudato Si’.

University of Notre Dame Trustee Fritz Duda and his wife, Mary Lee, together with the family’s foundation made a $30 million gift to the University’s School of Architecture to establish a center dedicated to historic preservation and named in memory of the couple’s late son, a Notre Dame architecture alumnus who dedicated his too-brief career to historic preservation in Texas. 

Center for Resources

The Center is housed in the School of Architecture but serves as a hub for campus-wide work related to the Center’s objectives. The gift enables the School to expand its leading-edge curriculum in traditional architecture and urbanism, support hiring new faculty, sponsor national and international conferences, and provide financial assistance to graduate students enrolled in the Master of Science in Historic Preservation degree program. The Center will be an essential resource for teaching and research in the emerging field of historic preservation, community resilience, and environmental sustainability.

A Hub for Research

In pursuit of these themes the Center will provide resources in support of the academic program leading to the Master of Science in Historic Preservation (MSHP) degree, including full-tuition fellowships to attract and support a talented and diverse class of students and fund needed new faculty positions. The Center will underwrite educational expenses such as student design charrettes, class travel, public lectures by leaders in the field, conferences and exhibitions, and workshops or demonstrations offering opportunities for hands-on learning by students. 

Measuring A Corinthian Capital

In addition to this support of teaching, the Center will sponsor essential research to articulate and propagate ways in which conservation of cultural heritage (both tangible and intangible) can inform and inspire new sustainable development at the architectural and urban scales. The Center will sponsor and disseminate multidisciplinary research that advances understanding and practice of preservation, resilience, and sustainability in the built environment. This research will focus on such topics as the recovery of historic building cultures, renewable and nonpolluting materials and methods, revival of historic trades and crafts, urban planning and land use that reduces dependence on fossil fuels, reform of building codes to facilitate historic preservation, international Charters and guidance on heritage conservation, and the protection of cultural landscapes and natural resources.

This research program will also be enhanced by a network of allies and collaborators including individuals, organizations, and institutions with which the School of Architecture has existing connections or those with which we seek new relationships. One example is the current agreement with the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC, to establish a network/directory of individuals and groups engaged in the practice of and training for traditional building trades and crafts.

In all of these ways, and possibly in others yet to be discovered, the Duda Center is a vital resource for the School in furthering its mission within the University and the world.

Duda Center H Logo column on blue background

The Duda Center Faculty

Among the faculty for the Center are Steven Semes, director, and professors Selena Anders, Alan DeFrees, Krupali KruschePaolo Vitti, and Todd Zeiger.