Mobile Map Guide,
Downtown Side, Stops 1-6
FIRST, PICK UP A MAP
This guide is a supplement to the $3 art and architecture guide that is available at the Visitors Center at 506 Fifth Street in downtown Columbus.
01 – Visitors Center
The building has repurposed multiple times – as a lodge for the order of Red Men, a furniture store, a Boy’s club, newspaper offices, and now a visitors center.
In 1973, J. Irwin Miller’s wife, Xenia, directed the renovation of the home into a visitors center for Columbus.
The back of the building was added in 1995 by Kevin Roche. His seamless addition repeats the original design, a technique known as adaptive reuse. Roche received architecture’s highest prize, the Pritzker Prize, in 1982.
The Dale Chihuly chandelier installation, near the steps to the second floor, was suggested by Roche.
02 – Visitors Center Signage
One of Paul Rand’s primary strengths was his ability as a salesman to explain the needs his corporate identities would address for the corporation. According to one designer, Rand “almost single-handedly convinced business that design was an effective tool. Anyone designing in the 1950s and 1960s owed much to Rand, who largely made it possible for us to work. He, more than anyone else, made the profession reputable. We went from being commercial artists to being graphic designers largely on his merits.”
– content adapted from paul-rand.com
03 – Chandelier and Persians
When it was installed, Dale Chihuly was about a year from creating his first major exhibition, in Venice.
Stop by in the evening and view it from outside, when the chandelier shows off its unique feature – it’s illuminated by neon tubes inside!
The accompanying Persians were named by Chihuly, who simply thought the name fit the shapes.
Want to own your own piece of Chihuly glass? The Visitors Center is one of the few places where you can purchase original Chihuly glass work and prints, in the gift shop.
04 – Modern Totem
The sculpture is an obelisk from two stacked, black granite stones, creating a modern and minimalist interpretation of a totem, an ancient symbol of community, gathering, and family.
The library’s stone steps came from the same quarry as these granite stones.
05 – Library
Pei also wanted the plaza to create an urban space and convinced the community to close Lafayette Street to achieve this.
I.M. Pei is also known for his design of the Louvre Pyramid in Paris, the John F. Kennedy Library in Boston, and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland.
Pei received architecture’s highest prize, the Pritzker Prize, in 1983.
The 1987 addition in the back is by local architect Jim Paris, who conferred with Pei during the process.
06 – Large Arch
The site and size of the work encourages people to walk around and through the sculpture, as Moore intended, he had said, “As a young sculptor, I saw Stonehenge and ever since I’ve wanted to do work that could be walked through and around.”
The sculpture was a gift to the community from J. Irwin and Xenia Miller.