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Mobile Map, South Side, Stops 49-60

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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.

Mental Health Center - Polshek

49 – Mental Health Center

Designed by James Stewart Polshek in 1972, the two-story building spans Haw Creek and is based on two offset rectangles. On one bank is Columbus Regional Hospital’s main campus and on the other is a city park and part of the 19 miles of People Trails. The site was chosen for its serene setting.

The building’s ends are solid concrete walls that cantilever over the glass entry with a single recessed window above. The west portion of the building is itself a bridge, supported with concrete piers.

Above the creek, the building features generous horizontal windows, with unique angled glass panels on the top floor creating a skylight effect for the individual rooms within.

Take me to the Mental Health Center.

Hospital lobby - Stern

50 – Columbus Regional Hospital

Robert A. M. Stern fashioned a master plan for Columbus Regional Hospital which included both major renovation of the existing facility and new construction. Two pavilions, a central lobby and a glass-enclosed dining pavilion are some of the newer features of the 35-acre campus site.

In contrast to a typical, sterile hospital design, Robert A.M. Stern’s design for the hospital was inspired by a more friendly, hotel character and is specifically Midwestern in style, referencing Frank Lloyd Wright, as well as the Irwin House and First Christian Church.

Warm beige brick and green clay-tile roofs create an exterior in harmony with the neighborhood and Columbus’ architectural heritage. Interior design, colors and furnishings emphasize comfort and convenience to minimize patient and family anxiety.

Distinctive landscape plantings and dozens of large-format photography enhance the campus atmosphere.

BCSC Headquarters

51 – BCSC Headquarters

The Robert Stewart bridge into downtown Columbus was completed as the second phase of the front door project. The site was aligned to create an entry vista centered on the historic courthouse tower. The bright red steel supports connect steel tension cables arranged in an arc that is lit in the evening.

Both front-door bridges were designed by Jean M. Muller of J. Muller International of Chicago, who said, “The unique quadripod configuration of this cable-stayed bridge is the first of it kind in North America, and serves both a functional and aesthetic purpose.”

Otter Creek clubhouse - Harry Weese

52 – Otter Creek Clubhouse

As one approaches Otter Creek Clubhouse and Golf Course, located five miles east of Columbus, the first impression is of the compatibility of the building and its setting. The rural sense of this modern building is achieved through an extensive use of wood. The precision of the building’s geometric patterns compliment the orderliness of the 27-hole golf course.

The Clubhouse includes spacious lounge and dining areas that overlook the golf course. The floor-to-ceiling perimeter windows are protected by thin shed roofs that create surrounding porches.

The golf course landscape extensively uses native trees. A double row of littleleaf linden trees line the entry drive. Robert Trent Jones returned to Otter Creek in 1982 to update his design so that the course would remain a challenging test of golf that is able to match new club and ball technology.

The original golf course and clubhouse were developed and given to the city by Cummins Engine Company, Inc. in June 1964.

Architect, Harry Weese / Landscape Architect, Dan Kiley / Golf Course Architect, Robert Trent Jones / Golf Course Expansion Architect, Rees Jones / Scoreboard Architect, Kevin Roche

Clifty Creek school - Richard Meier

53 – Clifty Creek School

When this school was built, the school board was looking for fresh design ideas and Richard Meier was selected, since he had yet to design a school.

Located on a sloping 22-acre site, the double-height, north-lit library features Meier’s signature glass curtain wall and open ramps, as well as a piano-curved story-telling balcony.

Meier is renowned for his solid white porcelain panel buildings, yet for this project, he instead selected white glazed and gray concrete block for a durable and low maintenance exterior, as well as white framed windows and glass block.

The interiors were originally all white, since Meier believed “color comes from the way light comes into the building…and serves as a canvas for the children’s paintings…kids add color and make each classroom different.”

Meier attended the dedication and modestly remarked that he hoped his then very young children would be able to attend a school as fine as this one.

Former Occupational Health

54 – Occupational Health

This building is in transition – Cummins opened a new facility, the LiveWell Center, in 2016.

Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer Associates designed the facility in 1973 as an alternative approach to industrial health care design. The facility has been designed with an abundance of glass and few interior walls. Finished in black glass, the walls become transparent at night, making the interior visible from the outside. The landscaping is by Dan Kiley.

The AIA (American Institute of Architects) gave the building an Honor award in 1976, one of five recognized in Columbus by the AIA.

This facility is an alternative approach to industrial health care design. Unlike the traditional concept of a clinic, the facility has been designed with an abundance of glass and few interior walls.

The design uses standard building materials in novel ways. The red corrugated metal siding entry wall is supported by roof trusses installed vertically. The curved continuous skylights are constructed of typical greenhouse components. Brightly colored mechanical and structural systems accentuate the building’s various layers inside.

First Financial - Deborah Berke

55 – First Financial Bank

Dwell magazine said “it may be the most refined bank branch in the world.”

The 4,000-square-foot structure, designed by Deborah Berke & Partners Architects, holds its own among superstores and parking lots. Suspended circular lamps and recessed fixtures bounce light off the white walls and the main lobby’s vaulted ceiling while lit glass roof panels give the exterior a bold glow. In Berke’s own words, “It’s a modernist building, but it’s absolutely inextricably linked to this site in relation to visibility.”

The clean lines and bright lighting of Eero Saarinen’s downtown Irwin Union Bank and Trust design carried over to Berke’s vision for the new bank building (formerly Irwin Union Bank and Trust), a design representative of a safe and accepting environment for customers.

The major component of this branch bank building is the drive-through banking treatment Floating above the masonry building, a translucent “light box,” made of planks of structural channel glass, permits natural light to filter down into the banking hall.

Owing to quality of this glass, the “Light Box” also glows outwardly as an ambiguous sculptural object that is neither building nor sign. It floats in the air, lending the new bank building a steady, quietly elegant presence that serves as a counterpoint to the heavy, sprawling “big box” retail buildings nearby.

Deborah Berke also designed the Hope library branch.

From Deborah Berke’s website: “We designed this small drive-through branch for a regional bank with a long history of supporting innovative architecture. Sited on a commercial strip surrounded by big-box stores, we set a glass volume on top of and perpendicular to a brick volume that housed the banking hall below. The dramatic lighting of the channel glass allowed the building an iconic visibility beyond the limits of its physical size. This same glass volume creates a generously day lit hall for customers inside and dramatic canopy for drive-thru customers outside.”

Cummins Tech Center - Harry Weese

56 – Cummins Tech Center

Designed in 1968 by Harry Weese Associates of Chicago, Cummins Technical Center incorporates two connecting buildings, a six-story, window-wall office building for the professional engineering staff, and a two-story research and engine testing facility.

Both buildings are constructed of steel, glass and concrete. The research and engine testing facility utilizes modular, pre-cast concrete panels to create the exterior curtain wall, a method used in several other Cummins buildings constructed since 1957. In contrast, the concrete of the six-story office building was poured floor by floor. Oblong pre-cast concrete forms provide sun screening for the glass windows in each floor. The office interior features formed pre-cast concrete which incorporated the mechanical and electrical systems.

The area around the Technical Center has been landscaped by Dan Kiley with trees, grass, pools, and plantings. Kiley also designed the rows of london plane trees lining Central Avenue (Haw Creek Boulevard) and the plantings around the Cummins Columbus Engine Plant and Cummins Health Center across the boulevard.

McDowell Educ. Center - Warnecke

57 – McDowell Education Ctr.

John Carl Warnecke designed McDowell in 1960 as an elementary school with four cluster buildings that had three classrooms each and connecting open-air walkways.

Named a National Historic Landmark as one of the seven Columbus structures for its development of modernism in architecture and landscape architecture and possessing national significance in commemorating the history of the United States.

McDowell was the first school built under the “park school” concept, with adjacent land and the building utilized year-round as a neighborhood playground.

Originally designed to serve elementary students, the school’s design flexibility was demonstrated by the 1983 conversion to an adult education facility.

The school is named in honor of Miss Mabel McDowell (1880-1961), an elementary school teacher in Columbus for 25 years.

Take me to McDowell.

Fire Station 3 - William Burd

58 – Fire Station 3

William Burd is a Columbus architect who has designed several fire stations as well as other buildings around the area.

The exterior features bright graphics and large towers resembling the nearby Fodrea Elementary School. The two-story building has a hose-drying tower in the rear and a glass enclosed tower in the front with a visible fire pole.

The architect added a playful touch with a visible fire pole so the neighborhood children could run and watch the fireman sliding down the pole when they heard the fire alarm sounding. The fire pole is the main focal point of the design accented by the red brick and the “supergraphic” numeral 3 behind the glass front at the left of the fire pole.

A cylindrical form is repeated in the towers and horizontally at the main entrance and the engine bay doors. The curves at the entrances and engine bays are accented by the red glazed brick contrasting with the grey fluted masonry block walls.

Take me to Fire Station 3.

Columbus East High School

59 – Columbus East High School

Columbus East High School was designed by Mitchell-Giurgola Architects in 1972. The sleek building is sandwiched in a white skin and rests on 52 acres. The large brick entries define the courtyard spaces and emphasize the role of the entry.

The architects were challenged by the school administration to design a high school building to fit a flexible program.

The school program emphasizes individual study with faculty guidance, and the open floor plan reflects the concept that exposure to other subjects will generate wider interests.

The AIA (American Institute of Architects) gave the building an Honor award in 1975, one of five recognized in Columbus by the AIA.

Fodrea School - Paul Kennon

60 – Fodrea School

John Carl Warnecke designed McDowell in 1960 as an elementary school with four cluster buildings that had three classrooms each and connecting open-air walkways.

Named a National Historic Landmark as one of the seven Columbus structures for its development of modernism in architecture and landscape architecture and possessing national significance in commemorating the history of the United States.

McDowell was the first school built under the “park school” concept, with adjacent land and the building utilized year-round as a neighborhood playground.

Originally designed to serve elementary students, the school’s design flexibility was demonstrated by the 1983 conversion to an adult education facility.

The school is named in honor of Miss Mabel McDowell (1880-1961), an elementary school teacher in Columbus for 25 years.

Take me to Fodrea School.

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