Panorama photo of The Commons, by Thomas R. Schiff
Hamilton Center Ice Arena, Harry Weese, 1958
The original Swiss chalet style building was designed by Harry Weese as a community building with warming house and changing rooms for an outdoor ice rink. The building exterior features rough-hewn granite boulder battered walls and glass with views to the exterior. The interior features triple-peaked roof with wood beams and planking. A central granite fireplace, highlighting the spacious interior, is surrounded by wooden benches, an inviting sight to chilled skaters.
Because of an increased community interest in ice skating and the need to extend the skating season, the community decided to enclose the outdoor rink in 1975. Koster and Associates designed the enclosure of the large ice arena as an extension of the existing center with similar exterior materials and architectural details, and now includes a regulation- sized hockey rink and an adjacent practice rink, so the facility offers year-round skating.
- The Harry Weese legacy in Columbus
BCSC Information Services, Norman Fletcher, 1963
This two-story octagonal brick building originally served as the headquarters for the administrative offices of the Bartholomew Consolidated School Corporation (BCSC). The building now houses BCSC’s Information Services.
The building corners are highlighted with vertical brick piers with full height windows on each side. Each side features a blank brick wall in the center. The entry is highlighted with expansive glass windows, with vertical concrete fins on the second floor and large glass windows below with a solid door in the center. Low brick walls extend out into the landscape to create an entry courtyard.
The lobby features a curved staircase with cantilevered concrete treads that extend out of the curved brick wall rising in the center of the building. The roof peaks above the stairwell with an eight-panel glass dome which allows natural light to highlight the interior. Offices fan out and surround this center.
Otter Creek Clubhouse, Harry Weese, 1964
11522 E. 50 N., Columbus
Architect, Harry Weese
Landscape Architect, Dan Kiley
Golf Course Architect, Robert Trent Jones
Golf Course Expansion Architect, Rees Jones
Scoreboard Architect, Kevin Roche
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, 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.
Cleo Rogers Memorial Library, I.M. Pei, 1969
From the Pei Cobb Freed & Partners website:
“Beyond the normal functional requirements of a county library, Cleo Rogers was designed to create the first civic space in downtown Columbus, a community where distinguished examples of modern architecture abound, but in isolation, unrelated to other buildings or to the city as a whole.In order to give focus to the center of town, the architect succeeded in the unprecedented proposal to close a city street. In consequence, the library established a vital dialogue with the historic Irwin House to the east and Eero Saarinen’s First Christian Church of 1940 on the south. The library serves as the north wall of this new urban space, reinforcing the unity of all three buildings with complementary native brick on its walls and outdoor plaza. At one end, the library’s windows drop in scale to align with the eaves of the low-rise Irwin House while at the other, a heightened entrance and large-scale glazing complement and frame the more monumental church. As none of the three buildings was powerful enough to dominate or control the space, a monumental Henry Moore bronze was introduced. Like the conductor of an orchestra, it organizes the different architectural voices, each from a different era, providing an essential focus for the first truly urban space in Columbus.”
The interior concrete “waffled” ceiling is both distinctive-looking and functional – the heat from the ceiling’s canister lights is recycled through an elaborate intake system and used to heat the building in the winter. Pei was interested in sustainable building practices well ahead of his time! Jim Paris, a local architect, designed the expansion, which had the approval of Mr. Pei.
Columbus Post Office, Kevin Roche, 1970
The Columbus Post Office, designed by Roche Dinkeloo in 1970, was the first post office in the country designed by architects whose fees were privately funded. It is built of a salt-glazed tile, mirrored glass and COR-Ten steel. The tile was glazed reddish brown to match the color of the steel. Outer walls are mirrored to provide interesting reflections. From the interior, the walls are see-through. Inside, high ceilings provide a feel of spaciousness.
Par 3 Clubhouse, Bruce Adams, 1972
Rocky Ford Road & Par 3 Dr, Columbus
This clubhouse was designed to be a good neighbor to the nearby First Baptist Church and W.D. Richards Elementary School. Built of wood shingle roof and cedar siding, it includes a pro shop, lounge, restrooms, and storage space.
The simplicity of this building’s form is dominated by the large pitched roof, which is then articulated with a skewed plan, an elongated eyebrow window and an arcade/loggia overlooking the golf course. A cube on a pole with super graphics creats a striking identity.
The golf course is landscaped with crabapple, blue spruce, scotch pine, and pin oak trees.
Columbus Regional Health - Mental Health Services, James Stewart Polshek, 1972
2075 Lincoln Park Drive, Columbus
Designed by James Stewart Polshek in 1972, the two-story building (originally Quinco Consulting Center) 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.
Chosen for its serene setting, this site was prominently featured in the 2017 motion picture COLUMBUS, starring John Cho and Haley Lu Richardson.
Columbus City Hall, Edward Bassett, 1981
123 Washington Street, Columbus
City Hall was designed in 1981 by Edward Charles Bassett of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. The triangular building is sited to create a strong visual relationship between the old and new architecture downtown. The cantilevered arms frame the two-story, semi-circular window wall of glass, shaped to reflect the courthouse to approaching visitors.
Bassett worked with Eero Saarinen before joining the San Francisco office of SOM in 1955 later becoming a general partner in the firm. City Hall was one of his last projects completed and one of the first SOM projects to break away from the strict Miesian/International style of design.
Surpisingly, Columbus has two buildings from the firm of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill (SOM) right across the street from each other [ City Hall and The Republic Newspaper offices. SOM is one of the largest architecture firms in the world, and has created many of the major projects of the 20th century. SOM was named AIA Firm of the Year in 1961 and again in 1996, no other firm has been awarded the prize more than once.
An excerpt from a 1982 interview with Bassett in Columbus…
Office buildings are so much a part of our life now. All the things that go on in City Halls nowadays are so office-like, where we’re really Xeroxing each other and transferring each other back and forth across our desks. That whole “communication by paper” thing is taking over. Most City Halls being built today are nothing but office buildings, and they look like nothing but office buildings. They have that anonymous, non-engagement quality about them of not really being anything, but simply a building which is a vehicle to hold a Xerox machine.
Maybe I’m just old enough to have other memories. Having come from a similar town with a nice brick courthouse, a nice lawn, flowers around the flagpole, and all the damn things that make it nice, I felt it had to happen. So we manipulated our design, as you can see, because these things are very critical.
The seat of government, such as it is in a small town, should be dignified. Presumably, the decisions therefore that are made in it will be more dignified.The building should represent the very best aspects of our culture and our community. I think it should have a presence, as you say. You should look at it and say yes, you wouldn’t buy a used car there. You wouldn’t go and get some aspirin. That’s a place of government.
If you can do that and do it in a friendly way, not in an off-putting way, that’s what that was all about.
Interviewed by Christine Lemley, for Bartholomew County Library Architectural Archives
- Read the New York Times obituary for Edward Bassett
Bartholomew County Jail, Don M Hisaka, 1990
Designed by Don M Hisaka in 1990, the four-story building has a wire-mesh dome for outdoor recreation. The oval-shaped jail features brick and limestone materials that are compatible with nearby Columbus City Hall and the Bartholomew County Courthouse.
- Read a newspaper feature on Don Hisaka
Columbus Regional Hospital, Robert A.M. Stern, 1995
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.
- Learn more about this project at Stern’s website
Columbus Area Visitors Center expansion, Kevin Roche, 1995
506 Fifth Street, Columbus
The Columbus Area Visitors Center was the home of John Vaulter Storey in 1864. The building style is Italianate and the building materials are brick and limestone. The building has long rectangular windows, bracketed eaves, and window hoods. In addition to being a home, it later served on separate occasions as a lodge for the order of Red Men, a furniture store, a Boy’s club and an office. It opened as the Visitors Center in 1973. The expansion was designed by Kevin Roche and was completed in 1995. The Yellow Neon Chandelier and Persians, designed by Dale Chihuly, hangs in the bay window.
Comments by Xenia Miller at the dedication ceremony:
When John Storey had this house built 100 years ago, it was not easy to travel in Indiana. Hoosiers have always been good to strangers and “Hoosier Hospitality” is no empty phrase. This house was once a warm and gracious home to an early family and their friends, it is now restored to offer, once again, a warm welcome, this time to all friends of our city. It expresses the oldest and best tradition we inherit and I feel the original owners would be proud of the new use to which it will serve.
Hope Library branch, Deborah Berke, 1998
The Hope Branch of the Bartholomew County Public is situated on the east side of the Town Square in Hope, designed by Deborah Berke in 1998. Large windows, providing natural light for a comfortable daytime reading environment, dominate the high-ceilings and asymmetrical reading room. The library serves as an after-school gathering center in this small town and is designed to be an inviting, child-friendly place.
The Commons, Koetter Kim, 2011
Designed by the Boston-based firm, Koetter Kim, this community center is a community resource. Upstairs is a venue for live performances, lectures, gala events, and exhibitions. A five thousand square foot indoor playground with a 35-foot tall “Luckey Climber” is a family favorite. The Jean Tinguely kinetic sculpture, Chaos I, is the quirky centerpiece to the space.
Mill Race Center, William Rawn Associates, 2011
The community center, completed February 2011, was designed by William Rawn Associates of Boston. The gently curving brick building is positioned to take advantage of natural lighting and offer views of Mill Race Park. The bricks used are made four inches longer than normal to strengthen the horizontal nature of the building.
For driving directions to the sites, click the “about” buttons next to the listings above