SBM.20a03 View of the exterior of the Benedicta Arts Center from the southeast
FIRST 5O YEARS OF THE COLLEGE OF SAINT BENEDICT (CSB)
Just as the Sisters had surveyed the eastern and central U.S. in 1913 for a model for the building of Sacred Heart Chapel, so members of the building committee scouted the states for a model arts center. Not finding any building to match their vision, the Sisters proceeded to pioneer the construction with the help of the creative Hammel and Greene architects. After studying monastic architecture, Curtis Greene determined that the structure needed to be beautiful and formative in its materials and design but it was not to be ornamental. Every detail was planned on that principle. When completed, the BAC became a place of pilgrimage for many architects and builders in the nation who came to learn from this very successful venture.
An interesting feature of the BAC is that there are no windows in the exterior walls of the main part of the building. However, the art, music and classroom wings do have floor-to-ceiling windows or patio doors. Most of the interior lighting is achieved with skylights, glass entrances and glassed inner courts which are placed strategically as entries into the various departments throughout the building. The skylights placed above the art studios (see the extreme left of the photo) admitted light from the north. They were an interesting feature of the exterior architecture and of the interior lighting. However, they were not effective at this latitude or in this climate. Later, the leaky roof necessitated the removal of these skylights.
Though not visible on this photo, an expansive basement affords space for an ample theater arena, the college museum and storage rooms.
Vivarium; Saint Benedict's Monastery - St. Joseph, MN