The St. John Paul II Newman Center’s nod to 16th-century monasteries was by design.

BVH Architecture’s task was to create a place with open spaces, tall windows and plenty of light, said the Rev. Joe Taphorn, pastor and director. The firm responded with a design resembling monasteries of an earlier time. Courtyard included.

“Give kudos to our architects,” Taphorn said of the natural gathering spot for students.

“The spaces work well together. There are always people hanging out. People are doing puzzles. They’re sitting by the fire. They’re studying. People are charging their phones. They’re on their iPads.”

Mark Bacon, design director for BVH Architecture, said that while features at other student residences can make it difficult to draw students from their rooms, that’s not the case at the center. “The amenities effectively draw students out of their suites to participate in communal activities,” he said.

Taphorn says God didn’t intend for his people to live a solitary life. “We’re not meant to be alone. The whole point of the Christian life is to be in communion with God and to be in communion with one another. To create a physical structure that supports the deeper spiritual and human needs.”

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