Richard Kroeker


Peggie’s Bell

Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

Peggie’s Bell was designed as an acoustic resonating chamber for informal acapella singing groups on the campus of Lehigh University in a place called the Sacred Grove. A place for group singing or for quiet reflection seemed an appropriate response to the site. The form was generated by studying the acoustics of HelmhoIz resonators, and the tiled vaulted spaces in subways that are a sweet spot for busking musicians. Peggie’s vault was built by architecture, engineering and design students at Lehigh University under the direction of Richard Kroeker & Anthony Viscardi. The construction method is a further development of form-free Catalan vaulting methods. The innovation is in using rebar to define the form of the tile vault, and then incorporating the rebar into the structure by locating it in the mortar layer between the tile layers. Peggie’s Bell is named after Peggie Sisson, a lover of music and collector of Bells, whose mother was a “Bell”. The project won an American Architecture Bronze Medal Award in 2016.