In keeping with Madonna University’s mission to instill in its students Christian humanistic values, intellectual inquiry, a respect for diversity, and a commitment to serving others through a liberal arts education based on the truth and principles recognized within a Catholic tradition, the design of the Madonna University Welcome Center and Felician Sisters of North America Heritage Center and Archives was inspired by these Franciscan Values:
The Welcome Center and Felician Sisters Heritage Center building design is reflective of the Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi in Central Italy. It will maintain the Basilica’s sanctuary feeling with an open interior, meandering paths, special repetition of columns, and a center for gathering, reflection and learning.
The column-lined halls, like those in Assisi, will be preserved on both the interior and exterior of the Welcome Center and Felician Sisters Heritage Center. The open interior will be filled by the Felician Heritage Center, which presents the everlasting light from the five tenets of the Felician charism. Historical references are further maintained in the Welcome Center and Felician Sisters Heritage Center through the deconstructed use of temple fronts, which date to before the Parthenon. Elements of the temple fronts will be scrambled to extend outward from the building.
The site location of the Welcome Center and Felician Sisters Heritage Center is important. Therefore, it will be situated on the southwest corner of campus in what is being called “The Clearing,” a semi-open patch of land adjacent to Schoolcraft Road and Chalice Drive — the historic path to Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (BVM) Convent. The Welcome Center and Felician Sisters Heritage Center opens toward the main campus through expandable spaces. The design of the building focuses inward toward the courtyard. The iconic entry wing is a large open space flexible enough to hold a variety of student activities during the school year. Windows above the entry wing will flood the space with ambient light. The University wing (on the south side) features floor-to-ceiling suspended glass exterior walls. An open hallway provides immediate access to the central courtyard where the Heritage Center will be ever visible.