Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


Residence Hall, Dining Rooms and Sisters' Residence

Click on image titles for larger views.
Institution Name: Madonna University
Original/Historic Place Name: Residence Hall, Dining Rooms and Sisters' Residence
Location on Campus: 36600 Schoolcraft Rd.
Date(s) of Construction:
1963-1965original construction Svobode, Robert
Designer: Robert Svobode
Type of Place: Individual building
Style: Modern/post-WWII (Glossary)
Significance: culture, education, religion
Narrative: see below
References: see below
Foundation: cement block
Walls: steel, brick, stone, and glass, and spandrel glass panels
Roof: rubber membrane
1965-present (2006)dining hall
1965-present (2006)residence hall

Originally constructed in a country setting on 49-plus acres, Madonna University today is bordered by residential housing from a suburb of metropolitan Detroit. The Italianate Romanesque revival Felician Sister's Motherhouse, built on 350 acres, provided classrooms and dormitory space for the initial college classes in 1937. In the early 1960s the modern style academic building and residence and dining halls were completed, utilizing brick, steel, and glass in repetitive modular forms and flat surfaces. The activities building, also built in the modern style, was joined to the academic building in 1970. It houses the gymnasium, classrooms, and offices. An additional wing housing the library, exhibit gallery, and the Kresge auditorium was constructed in 1984. This new wing represents the contemporary style, with glass hanging window walls combined with brick and stone and glass sections curving above, forming raised parts of the otherwise flat roof covered in rubber membrane.

The cultural development of the University campus is thereby enhanced by three architectural styles all built within easy walking distance in a particularly lovely, spacious setting. The fountain pond with gazebo shrine dedicated to St. Francis provides an appealing vista from both the Academic building and residence dining and student rooms and the academic Sister's residence. Architecture and setting thereby contribute to an especially handsome environment for study and personal development.


Kujawa, Rose Marie. Madonna Milestones, A History of Madonna University, 1937-1977. Livonia, MI: Madonna College Press, [1986].


Contact us / About Site / About CIC
© 2006
Council of Independent Colleges
Washington, DC
All rights reserved
Last update: November 2006