University of Notre Dame Freshens Pizza Pi



Architecture, Engineering


South Bend, Indiana


University of Notre Dame





Project Brief

Freshens has long been a staple franchise on the University of Notre Dame campus – serving up freshly made custom smoothies for students and faculty alike. Freshens decided to establish its inaugural dining experience – Pizza Pi – on Notre Dame’s campus and in place of an existing student dining cafe. Without a major renovation for over 20 years, the existing student dining option at South Dining Hall suffered from a lack of foot traffic and an old, and tired, aesthetic. It needed to be hospitable and be a new dining destination for all. The challenge was to make a franchise’s new and inaugural dining experience differentiate itself from the other dining offerings on campus, most of which have been renovated regularly.

It started with the deliberate use of a Marra Forni authentic brick oven from Italy as a focal point of the kitchen/bar area. A portion of this barscape was designated to serve beer and wine and needed to feel special, more upscale. The design of the café provided a variety of experiences within one space, whether it be collaborative at the large farmhouse table or more private while tucked into a booth underneath a wood trellis.

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