About Corby Bricks

July 6, 2020; Facade of reconstructed Corby Hall (Photo by Matt Cashore/University of Notre Dame)

In its very earliest years, Father Edward Sorin and the Brothers of Holy Cross made a distinctive yellow-buff construction material known as “Notre Dame brick”, excavated from the marl that lined the banks of nearby St. Mary’s Lake. It’s hard to imagine a single ingredient more determinative of Notre Dame’s unique beauty than its brick. With its coal fired power plant and the cinders used for roads and sidewalks, as well as the natural biological growth, this unusual and antique brick turns a “very unique shade of black”. These 130+ year old Notre Dame bricks remain an important piece of its earliest history and functionally sheltered thousands of students, priests and brothers as they helped build one of today’s premiere faith-based international universities.

Another distinctive feature of Notre Dame architecture is its use of slate roofs. Generally made up of 4 or 5 different shades of gray, green, and purple, these natural stone roofing materials are fireproof (especially important in the late 1800s), water resistant, durable (they come with a 100 year guarantee), and a favorite of the Green Construction industry. These slate roofs along with the distinctive Notre Dame brick, help create what so many students, faculty, alumni, and visitors call a “sense of place” where all the buildings and grassy quads capture the beauty and identity of this international center of research and learning.

This licensed piece of art is made from the 130+ year old Notre Dame bricks from the original Corby Hall, as well as slate roof pieces from the new, recently rebuilt Corby Hall.

The Center For the Homeless, in South Bend, Indiana, founded by Father Edward “Monk” Malloy, C.S.C. and several others from Notre Dame, have always had a deep and close connection to the Center. Recently the Center has embarked on a new social entrepreneurship venture to create unique and beautiful pieces of art. This venture is designed to enable guests (residents) to transition themselves back into the work setting by earning a competitive wage while working and living alongside fellow guests, volunteers, and a small staff. This venture also demonstrates that people experiencing homelessness can help create beautiful pieces of art that are both unique and functional. Guests learn the necessary skills to create this licensed Corby Bricks of Notre Dame piece of art, and each piece of brick and slate on your framed art was cleaned, sealed, and glued on by our guests at the Center. Finally, all profits from this venture will go into creating innovative ways to break the cycle of homelessness.

Center for Homeless Pics Take 2-18