A Modern Village
CTSFW is located on 191 acres of land with the design of the campus crafted by the world renowned architect Eero Saarinen. The inspiration for the village concept came from research done by Glen Paulson on villages in northern Germany. Several were studied, but one was chosen for its rooflines all running in the same direction.
Nestled between North Clinton Street and the Saint Joseph River on Fort Wayne’s north side, the campus provides the perfect combination of nearby amenities with secluded peace. The naturally flowing layout of the campus, combined with the meaning layered into every aspect of its design, makes it a wonderful place to immerse yourself in theological conversation, study and reflection.
“Designing within this villagelike concept, we could achieve a tranquil, unified environment into which the students could withdraw to find a life complete and balanced and still related to the outside world.”
It’s the tilt of the earth on its axis, but it’s also the pitch of every roof at CTSFW. (Even the Chapel follows this rule, though the angles are inverted to emphasize the vertical.)
That’s the number of architectural curves on campus. The first (and only original) is on the top of the canopy at the entrance to Kramer Chapel. The second is on the lower level of the Wayne and Barbara Kroemer Library Complex and provides a smooth flow from the services area into the study and stack areas. The Kramer Chapel curve was designed to follow the arc of a pendulum. It expresses the force of the weight of the Chapel above.
That’s the building block of campus. Every building is designed around 5 foot, 4 inch modules, giving a natural flow and symmetry to the diverse pieces of campus. Interestingly, this wasn’t originally part of the vision for campus, but was discovered by Glen Paulson, the local architectual lead for the original construction. By constructing the campus around that building block, Paulson and Saarinen have given us a campus without boundaries, where separate buildings form a unified, flowing whole.
That’s the direction of every single roofline on campus. Saarinen said, “By running all the roofs in one direction, the total order which one desires seemed to come about.”
“In a village of the North European type, the chapel is placed in the center, on the highest spot, an all-important symbol around which the other buildings are grouped.”