Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


Kade-Duesenberg German House and Cultural Center

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Institution Name: Valparaiso University
Original/Historic Place Name: Kade-Duesenberg German House and Cultural Center
Location on Campus: middle campus
Date(s) of Construction:
2000original construction Ritter, Victor Design Organization
Designer: Victor Ritter, Design Organization (Valparaiso, IN)
Type of Place: Individual building
Style: Contemporary (Glossary)
Significance: architecture, culture
Narrative: see below
References: see below
Foundation: steel reinforced concrete
Walls: masonry
Roof: rubber membrane
2000-present (2006)other (cultural center)
2000-present (2006)residence hall (for select students of German)

The Kade-Duesenberg German House and Cultural Center was dedicated Sept. 23, 2000, in Valparaiso's 75th anniversary year as a Lutheran university. The $3.2 million facility was financed by the Max Kade (CAH-dee) Foundation Inc. of New York and alumni benefactors Richard and Phyllis Duesenberg of St. Louis and Robert and Lori Duesenberg of Oakton, Va. Each of the twin brothers was presented the Officer's Cross of the Order of Merit by the Federal Republic of Germany in recognition of their efforts in strengthening the cultural and spiritual links between Germany and the United States. Victor Ritter of Design Organization Inc. of Valparaiso designed the award-winning building in the Bauhaus tradition. (The Bauhaus school was founded in Germany in 1919 and sought to bring all the arts under the wing of architecture.) The sleek lines of the building exterior are continued inside and in much of the furniture.

The two-story, 10,200-square-foot structure functions in two complementary ways. The German house on the upper floor provides living and dining facilities for twelve students who pledge to speak only German in the public areas of the house. The cultural center on the ground floor provides space for a variety of activities, including classes, conferences, library, films, visiting scholar presentations, and a "Kinder lernen deutsch" program which brings children in for fun and games in German.


Baepler, Richard. Flame of Faith, Lamp of Learning: A History of Valparaiso University. St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House, 2001.

Mullins, Lanette. Valparaiso: Looking Back, Moving Forward. Chicago, IL: Arcadia Publishing, 2002.


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Last update: November 2006