Photo by Kate Rasmussen '05
Amy Grant wanted visionary ideas. The singer-songwriter’s Tennessee farm provides a variety of activities to visiting nonprofit groups — nature retreats, musical rehabilitation for veterans, recreation for disabled and disadvantaged children, and opportunities to plant, grow and harvest, to name a few. To maximize what the farm offers, and to increase its capacity to serve a wider array of organizations, Grant sought expertise to help her develop the land.
Kate Rasmussen ’05 works for Wade Weissmann Architecture, the firm Grant hired to reimagine the possibilities on her farm. Rasmussen contacted associate professor of architecture Aimee Buccellato ’00 to ask whether Notre Dame students might also generate ideas.
Amy Grant sat around the campfire with Notre Dame students during their September visit to the Grammy-winner's Tennessee farm. Photo by David Go '01
Buccellato and associate professor of aerospace and mechanical engineering David Go ’01 co-teach a design studio that brings architecture and engineering students into active collaboration — the kind of working relationships they’ll form as professionals. Their students have contributed ideas for projects such as the Notre Dame Linked Experimental Ecosystem Facility at nearby St. Patrick’s County Park and alternatives for the former married student housing complex, University Village. Grant’s farm project was an ideal fit.
The studio’s eight senior engineers and eight fourth- and fifth-year architecture students traveled to the Grammy Award-winning musician’s property outside Franklin, Tennessee, last September and later presented designs to a jury of architecture and engineering faculty and Grant’s representatives.
Grant sought concepts to develop her farm into a permanent therapeutic retreat, inspiring student designs such as this plan by architecture student Elise Emord '19 and engineering major Nicholas Wilt '19.
Beyond the practical experience of serving a real-world client, the value of encountering so many people who offer their time and talent at Grant’s farm made the studio project especially beneficial. Buccellato says the experience prompted students to reflect on using their skills to advance the greater good, inspired by Grant’s example to ask themselves, “How can I do that?”
Hannah Scherer is an intern at this magazine.