“We are not just building a shelter: we are creating a teaching tool and a model for others who want to make environmentally sound choices.” – Luke Gascho, retired Merry Lea Executive Director


Rieth Village was created to house Goshen College’s expanding Sustainability Studies and Sustainable Food Systems programs and to enable students to live near the ecosystems they study at Merry Lea, the college’s 1,189-acre nature preserve.

Why Build Green?

“Initially, the idea of doing a green building was simply the right thing to do, but then delving deeper into why it is the right thing to do assured and affirmed that we weren’t doing this just to be a part of the green movement. Being a part of this movement is fine, but it’s not enough. Understanding the philosophical and faith belief systems that underlie environmental stewardship has been energizing for me.”

–Luke Gascho, retired Merry Lea Executive Director

Design Concepts

A building is an idea incarnate. It expresses its designer’s values, reflecting what they believe about their relationships to each other, to the environment, and even to God. An academic building also embodies assumptions about what is worth learning and how it is to be learned. It is, in a sense, a tenured “professor” in the program. Click “Continue Reading” to learn more about some of the ideas that shaped the design of Merry Lea’s collegiate facility.