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Champion Enterprises Makes Five-Year Commitment to the University of Notre Dame School of Architecture

Champion supports urban renewal proposals that emphasize wood and steel modular construction for projects across the country

AUBURN HILLS, Mich., May 10, 2007 – Champion Enterprises, Inc., a leader in both wood and steel framed factory-built construction and the largest nationwide builder of modular homes, today announced a five-year commitment to support design studios affiliated with the University of Notre Dame School of Architecture’s Center for Building Communities (CBC). The CBC is a new initiative to address architectural and urban design needs around the country.

Champion made the commitment at a dinner on April 23 on the University of Notre Dame campus in South Bend, Ind.  Spearheaded by Professors Sallie Hood and Ron Sakal, the CBC is an interdisciplinary research center addressing community design needs around the country with a special emphasis on modular construction.   Its use can quickly and dramatically help strengthen communities with both affordable and market-rate housing solutions as well as civic, commercial and mixed-use buildings.

Champion’s international experience and exposure in urban building and redevelopment, combined with its flexible and cutting edge manufacturing techniques provide an ideal partner for Notre Dame Architecture proposals.  In addition, the Company affords a greater breadth of material components, utilizing both wood and steel construction options.

“Champion’s involvement in these projects is ideal for many reasons,” said Ron Sakal.  “Sallie Hood and I believe in the superior ability of modular construction to quickly provide high-quality solutions to urban redevelopment challenges. In addition, modular construction supplies urban communities with a consistent, beautifully designed product, further enhancing the community and city scape.”

Through Champion’s commitment, students can spend time living in a community and meeting with its citizens, planners, elected officials and developers to understand the community’s unique needs and aspirations.  Champion's commitment further supports the CBC and its related design studios by enabling students to tour and work with teams at the Genesis Homes Topeka, Ind. manufacturing center, and to meet with Caledonian steel modular plant experts to gain experience and understanding of the solutions capable with Champion’s steel modular solutions.  Students return to the communities to present their designs and receive citizen reviews.

"The Notre Dame students’ work makes evident the fact that modular construction techniques provide the same or better style and function as traditional building methods.  It also demonstrates the numerous and compelling benefits of modular construction that are best realized when architects consider this process at the beginning of the design process,” said Kevin Flaherty, vice president of sales and marketing for Champion’s Genesis Homes. 

In the fall of 2006, 15 fifth-year students designed and presented proposals to Elkhart, Ind. officials for 21 sites clustered around the downtown center.  Modular designs utilizing wood construction were proposed for 14 urban residential sites.  In addition, modular designs for seven mixed use (residential and business) sites of up to 10 stories each were proposed, utilizing steel modular construction for the upper nine residential floors. 

Two fifth-year thesis students and 16 fourth-year students are currently completing similar design proposals for downtown Conway, Ark.

At the invitation of the Community Redevelopment Agency of the City of Los Angeles, fall 2007’s CBC studio will take architecture, industrial design and graphic design students to California to offer design assistance for the 90-block downtown Fashion District.  Spring 2008’s CBC studio will work in downtown Benton Harbor, Mich. with the city’s Cornerstone Alliance, and fall 2009’s studio will work at a yet to be determined location in New Mexico.

“Champion is pleased to partner with such a forward thinking, progressive institution to bring to fruition the bright and creative ideas of some of the most talented architectural students in the country, while at the same time improving urban communities,” said Bill Griffiths, Champion’s chairman, president and CEO. 

About Notre Dame School of Architecture

Traditional and classical architecture occupy a premier place in the University of Notre Dame School of Architecture. With nationally-acclaimed undergraduate and post-graduate programs, Notre Dame Architecture students learn not only the principles of designing and constructing buildings, but also the importance of enriching the identity and cohesiveness of the communities where they live and work.

About Champion

Auburn Hills, Michigan-based Champion, a leader in factory-built housing and the nation’s largest builder of modular homes, operates 32 manufacturing facilities in North America and the United Kingdom and works with over 3,000 independent retailers, builders and developers, including approximately 900 retailers that are part of the Champion Home Center retail distribution network.  Champion produces manufactured and modular homes through its family of homebuilders, as well as modular buildings for government and commercial applications.  For more information, please visit


Christine Fisher, for Champion
PR Director, pushtwentytwo
248-335-9500 x30

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