Henn Mansion (circa 1934), one of the few original historic buildings
The Sustainable Living Center, a milestone of campus reconstruction
Photo by Ken West
An amphitheater on the slope east of the Argiro Student Center, part of the new master plan
Proposed pedestrian mall with ornamental garden
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Additional Photos by Ken West
MUM Celebrates 40 Years on Fairfield Campus
Founded in 1971, Maharishi International University first offered courses in Fiuggi, Italy and Santa Barbara, California. But it wasn’t until August 1974 that the University found its permanent home on the 250-acre campus of the former Parsons College in Fairfield, Iowa. Since that time, MUM has awarded degrees to 6,610 graduates from 128 countries.
Although the campus had classrooms, residence halls, and office buildings, there weren’t any large structures to accommodate sizable groups of people practicing the Transcendental Meditation® and TM-Sidhi® programs together. So in 1979 construction of the Golden Domes began, followed by the current Recreation Center in 1983, which served as a program hall during the Taste of Utopia Assembly.
By the 1990s, it became clear that the structural condition of many campus buildings would be unable to be resolved, restored, or even maintained without enormous expense. The University decided to demolish some of the buildings and replace them with new ones built according to the principles of Maharishi Vedic® architecture. Since then over 40 buildings have been demolished and over 70 buildings have been constructed, including classrooms, office buildings, dormitories, and homes. The University also purchased an additional 99 acres west of campus.
The transformation of the central campus began in March 2000 with the opening of the Dreier Building which was the first classroom building on campus constructed according to the principles of Maharishi Vedic architecture. The McLaughlin Building opened in 2002 as the home of our very successful Computer Professionals program. Maharishi Veda Bhavan followed in 2003 and became the home of the Department of Maharishi Vedic Science. The Golden Dome Market opened for business in 2005 as the world's first Vastu grocery store. And In February 2008 the 48,000 square-foot Argiro Student Center opened and quickly became the center of campus life.
The completion of the Sustainable Living Center in 2012 was another milestone. The one-of-a-kind, completely off-the-grid building not only conforms to the principles of Maharishi Vedic architecture, but also satisfies the requirements of LEED Platinum Certification as well as the Living Building Challenge and Building Biology. This building represents the University’s ongoing commitment to creating a sustainable campus.
The next phase of planning and construction involves a comprehensive master plan to create a beautiful, coherent, and safe campus. The master plan envisions what the campus will look like in 20–30 years, complete with pedestrian malls, rerouted traffic flows, and landscaping features such as an outdoor amphitheater. The plan includes new roads, walkways and bike paths, rearrangement of parking areas, new office buildings, classrooms, residence halls, a learning center, and other buildings. A major goal of the plan is to make the campus pedestrian-friendly.
The campus will be divided into eight districts, unique areas with different design considerations. These include academic districts, a recreation area, a riparian buffer area, and housing districts.
The new campus will be a more coherent and pleasant environment, will accommodate the growing number of students, and will reduce the carbon footprint of the University.
View the Fairfield Ledger article written by MUM faculty member Jim Karpen here.