First Financial Bank, Harry Weese

61 – Schmitt Elementary

This was the first building constructed under the Cummins architecture program. The Baby Boom was in full swing, the need for new schools in Columbus was a growing concern. J. Irwin Miller, as the CEO of Cummins Engine Co. made an offer to the school board to pay the architect’s design fees for a new school with an architect chosen by the school board from a list provided by Cummins. The Lillian Schmitt Elementary School launched what would become the Cummins Foundation Architecture Program.

This school (like most of Columbus elementary schools) was named for a community educator, Miss Lillian C. Schmitt who taught in the Columbus school system for 43 years.

The original 1957 building consisted of a kindergarten area and 12 classrooms designed by Harry Weese in close collaboration with Brewster (Bruce) Adams. In the center of the structure was a hexagonal multi-purpose room.

Weese kept the building low to the ground, much like the houses in the surrounding neighborhood, so as not to overwhelm the children in their introduction to school. The building is a natural blend of brick, glass, and wood, with a peaked roofline on each classroom designed to resemble a little house.

First Financial Bank, Harry Weese

62 – Schmitt Elementary Addition

The 1991 addition was designed by Andrea Leers and Jane Weinzapfel at the same time they were designing the addition to the nearby Northside Middle School, which is also by Harry Weese. The red steel in both structures complements other community projects, such as Mill Race Park and the gateway bridges.

In 2007, Leers, Weinzapfel & Associates were awarded the Architecture Firm of the Year Award by The American Institute of Architects.

First Financial Bank, Harry Weese

63 – Northside Middle School

This three-story building is distinguished by the repetitive use of brick arches (on the interior as well as the exterior) over the windows. It is very reminiscent of the old Mooney Tannery which used to sit in the Mill Race Park area.

The building is a compact rectangle of brick and masonry bearing wall construction. Harry Weese described the building as “a firm statement of the dignity and prominence in the community that a school should possess.”

This three-story building is in contrast to the sprawling, mostly one-level, schools built during this time period. Unlike many architects, Harry Weese buildings never had a definitive signature look, which might become identified as “Weese.” Each of his buildings were an attempt to solve the unique design problem at hand.

Take me to Northside School.
First Financial Bank, Harry Weese

64 – Northside Middle School Addition

The 1991 addition was designed by Leers and Weinzapfel at the same time they were designing the addition to the nearby Schmitt School, whichi s also by Harry Weese. The red steel in both structures plays off the “Columbus Red” seen in other community projects, such as the Saitowitz structures at Mill Race Park and the gateway bridges. Leers, Weinzapfel & Associates were The American Institute of Architects recipients of the Architecture Firm of the Year Award in 2007.
Take me to Northside School.
First Financial Bank, Harry Weese

65 – North Christian Church

Visitors are welcome to view the interior of this church on weekdays (subject to availability) – all guests must check in at the office, enter from the main parking lot on the east side of the building.

Eero Saarinen designed North Christian Church, which was completed in 1964. This is the last building designed by Eero Saarinen before his untimely death on September 1, 1961. Roche Dinkeloo & Associates, the successor architectural firm, completed the building.

The sloping roof of this six-sided building blends with the landscaped earth-mound which surrounds it. This low line accentuates the slender 192-foot spire, topped with a gold-leaf cross, which gives its distinctive design. Dan Kiley created the landscape design.

In April 1961, Saarinen wrote, “We have finally to solve this church so that it can become a great building. I feel I have this obligation to the congregation, and as an architect, I have that obligation to my profession and my ideals. I want to solve it so that as an architect when I face St. Peter I am able to say that out of the buildings I did during my lifetime, one of the best was this little church, because it has in it a real spirit that speaks forth to all Christians as a witness to their faith.”

Direct natural light enters the sanctuary through an oculus high in the ceiling at the base of the spire, and other natural lighting is diffused from under the edge of the roof line.

St. Bartholomew Church, interior

66 – St. Bartholomew Catholic Church

The church’s unique roof shape from the nautilus plan creates a large uplifting space above the large quarter circle, spiraling down to create a more intimate seating area. Two large north and east facing clerestory windows result, providing natural lighting and featuring an abstract stained glass window.

The “perfect” shapes and regulating lines of the golden section and square are used throughout the building. Primary building materials are golden buff Kasota limestone with three finish textures (rough cut, honed, and polished) and diamond shaped copper shingles.

The site is landscaped on the north with large natural stones tiered to allow natural light into the basement level.

The stained glass is by artist Elizabeth Devereaux of Chico, California.