Mobile Map Guide,
Downtown Side, Stops 1-6
FIRST, PICK UP A MAP
This guide is intended as 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
This was originally the home of John Storey, who owned a mill that operated in the former Columbus Inn, the multi-story brick building across the street to the southwest.
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.
Take me to the Visitors Center.
02 – Visitors Center Signage
Indisputably, Rand’s most widely known contribution to graphic design are his corporate identities, many of which are still in use. IBM, ABC, Cummins Engine, Westinghouse, and UPS, among many others, owe their graphical heritage to him.
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
Take me to the Rand sign.
03 – Chandelier and Persians
This nine-foot-tall glass chandelier is made up of 900 pieces of glass in four shades of yellow.
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.
Take me to the Chandelier and Persians.
04 – Modern Totem
Columbus sculptor Martin Beach crafted this piece out of mesabi black granite which came from a Minnesota quarry.
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.
Take me to Modern Totem.
05 – Library
An early project in I.M. Pei’s career, Pei set out to present the library as quiet, dignified, and accessible to persons of all ages.
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.
Take me to the Pei Library.
06 – Large Arch
Henry Moore was asked to design a sculpture of the library plaza at the suggestion of I.M. Pei, architect of the library, who thought that a work placed there should serve as focal point as well as a counter-balance to the two modernist structures that surround it.
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.
Take me to Large Arch.