MOBILE MAP STOPS 61 – 66
61 – First Financial Bank
The four brick towers, which originally housed drive-up windows and a depository, as well as mechanical units above, provide a prominent identity for the bank. The gray-glazed brick recalled the concrete of the adjacent bridge abutments. The architect said the “battlement towers” and adjacent creek were reminiscent of a child’s version of a castle.
The entry is a split-level with stairs stepping up to the main space and side stairs on both sides continuing up to the bank manager’s office on the open mezzanine level, featuring exceptional views.
The 1996 addition created a modern drive-up banking canopy, requiring fewer tellers. The canopy is supported by smaller brick towers, similar to the entry towers.
62 – Schmitt Elementary
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.
63 – Schmitt Elementary Addition
In 2007, Leers, Weinzapfel & Associates were awarded the Architecture Firm of the Year Award by The American Institute of Architects.
64 – Northside Middle School
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.
65 – Northside Middle School Addition
66 – 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.