Philip Bess, director of graduate studies at the University of Notre Dame School of Architecture, delivered the commencement address May 22 at the American College of the Building Arts in Charleston, S.C. His adapted commencement address arguing that traditional building provides us with a durable and beautiful built environment, was published in the Witherspoon Institute's online journal, Public Discourse.
A member of the Notre Dame faculty since 2004, Bess received his master of architecture degree from the University of Virginia in 1981 after receiving a master’s degree in church history from Harvard and a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Whittier College.
He has directed the School of Architecture’s graduate program since his arrival at Notre Dame, in addition to teaching graduate courses in urban design and urban theory. In recent years his graduate urban design studio has produced detailed proposals for Lewis University in Romeoville, Ill.; and master plans and town plans for Cooperstown, N.Y.; Northampton, Mass.; and most recently, Ventura, Calif.
Bess also works as a design consultant for municipalities, architects and community development corporations, working through the office of Thursday Associates. From 1987 to 1988 he was the director and principal designer of the Urban Baseball Park Design Project of the Society for American Baseball Research. In August 2000 he directed and coordinated the ultimately successful “Save Fenway Park!” design charrette in Boston.
He lectures widely, and is the author of numerous articles as well as three books: City Baseball Magic: Plain Talk and Uncommon Sense About Cities and Baseball Parks(1989); Inland Architecture: Subterranean Essays on Moral Order and Formal Order in Chicago (2000); and most recently, Till We Have Built Jerusalem: Architecture, Urbanism, and the Sacred (2007).