Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Relax, it's still summer!

 
 
 
Despite the back-to-school sales seen cropping up at the stores, according to the calendar it's still July and nearly a month before students return to classes here at Ball State University. It's still summer! Spend some time outside in the hammock, on the Adirondack, or a really cool mid-century chair before tackling that shopping list of pencils and Trapper Keepers.

Images: Russell Walcott patio photograph by Jessie Tarbox Beals, ca. 1935, Trowbridge and Beals Photographs; O. C. Catterlin house photograph for Fran Schroeder, 1952, Fran Schroeder Architectural Records; Lawn chair design drawing by Joseph Cezar, 1943. Drawings + Documents Archive, Ball State University.

Friday, July 24, 2015

City-County Building by Wright, Porteous & Lowe




This summer, Drawings + Documents Archive intern Mitchell Knigga, an undergraduate in Public History and Historic Preservation at Ball State University, has been processing the extensive Wright, Porteous & Lowe Architectural Records collection. We will be posting images of many of his discoveries while he works his way through the collection. 

Pictured above are presentation boards of the City-County Building in Indianapolis, Indiana. These include renderings of the project as well as a map depicting the location of the proposed site and other projects taking place in the city. Wright, Porteous & Lowe were the main architects for the project and J. M. Rotz Engineering Company were the structural engineers for the 28-story building that brought together the recently consolidated city and county governments known as Unigov. The building opened in 1962.

Images: City County Building Master Plan Development, Indianapolis, Indiana, presentation boards, ca. 1960. Wright, Porteous & Lowe Architectural Records, Drawings + Documents Archive, Ball State University.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Lincoln National Bank Tower Flora & Fauna



 
 
According to documentation in the collection, the allegory represented in the decorations of the Lincoln National Bank and Trust Company building in Fort Wayne, Indiana, refers to the energizing properties of the sun. Represented by the gold disc in the center of the lobby ceiling decoration, the sun radiates its energy into the natural elements depicted in the Art Deco terra-cotta molding, paintings, murals, bronze grills, and other decorative elements of the building. Above, you see examples of bronze fish, deer, birds, and other natural elements.

The bank also commissioned artist Paul Manship to create a sculpture depicting Abraham Lincoln during his boyhood in Indiana, shown above with his faithful canine companion. Abraham Lincoln, The Hoosier Youth has been on display at the headquarters since its dedication in 1932. Architect Benjamin Wistar Morris designed the base of the sculpture, which illustrates four characteristics attributed to Lincoln: charity, fortitude, justice, and patriotism. 




The Lincoln National Bank building in Fort Wayne, Indiana, was designed by the firm Walker & Weeks from Cleveland, Ohio, and production drawings were done by the local Fort Wayne firm A. M. Strauss. Buesching & Hagerman Brothers were chosen as general contractors and construction began for the original tower portion of the project on October 29, 1929. The 22 story structure in downtown Fort Wayne was dedicated and open for public inspection on November 15, 1930. At the time of its construction it was the tallest tenanted building in Indiana.

Later 20th century Lincoln National Bank buildings in the area are depicted below.















Images: Lincoln National Bank documentation report, 1976. Documentation Collection [DOC 1976.002], Drawings + Documents Archive, Ball State University.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Muncie Sesquicentennial:1925 City Hall

 

The city of Muncie, Indiana, celebrates its sesquicentennial this year and the Drawings + Documents Archive is participating in an exhibit opening soon in Ball State University Libraries' Bracken Library. We will also devote much of the blog in the next few months to exploring the city's architectural heritage.

In 1874, Muncie built a brick structure for the city offices, such as mayor's office, city jail, jailer's residence, fireman's hall, courtroom, and city clerk's office. This building quickly proved inadequate after the explosive growth experienced during the area's gas boom. It was razed in 1924 for the building you see in these photographs. Above is a construction photograph of the 1925 Muncie City Hall that stood at 401 E. Jackson Street. It was designed by local architects Charles Houck and Smenner, whose firm was called Houck and Smenner. Other notable buildings by the firm include Tempel Beth-El (1922), Grace Maring Library (1929), McKinley Junior High School (1938), and the William H. Ball residence (ca. 1940).


Muncie City Hall was built in an Italian Renaissance Revival style with classical details. The facade was adorned with Greek Doric columns and broken pediments featuring urns. The building was made of light beige brick and trimmed in terra-cotta. The entrances, two-story pilasters, entablature, cornice, decorative urns, and corner eagles were all beige terra-cotta to match the brick.Total construction costs were $185,000.


While the exterior received few changes over the years, the interior experienced many damaging alterations in its lifetime. By the 1980s, city officials had found the historic building inadequate for their needs and the building was torn down in 1993.

Images: Muncie City Hall photographs, ca. 1925. DOC-87.010. Documentation Collection, Drawings + Documents Archive, Ball State University.


Thursday, June 25, 2015

Ball Brothers Community Gardens and Canning Center


In 1947, the makers of the iconic Ball canning jar, the Ball Brothers Company, hired local architects Hamilton & Graham to design a community canning center at their factory campus in Muncie, Indiana. The design was a simple, single story structure reminiscent of a military-style Quonset hut. The interior, however, was anything but simple. A complex of functional work stations built to accommodate specific tasks involved in canning--sorting, chopping, peeling, packing, scalding, steaming--fill the space and allow canners to migrate from sinks to tables in a logical work flow. Popular Midwestern produce such as tomatoes, green beans, and peaches are given distinct work areas and machines, as well as defined storage areas for the finished jars.

To assist with community members having enough produce to can at the new facility, the Ball Brothers Company also dedicated a significant area of land at the southern edge of their extensive factory. Over 100 garden plots are designated near the oil tank and coal pile near the railroad tracks that run through the property. The two site plans below depict the entire property and the layout of the garden plots.


Images: Ball Brothers Community Canning Center and Garden Plots, 1947-1948. Hamilton & Graham Architectural Records, Drawings + Documents Archive, Ball State University.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Michael Graves, 1934-2015

Michael Graves, who died yesterday at the age of 80, was born in Indianapolis and left to study architecture at the University of Cincinnati and Harvard University. He taught architecture at Princeton University for 40 years and is known as one of the most prominent architects of the latter 20th century.

 He returned to Indiana numerous times to design buildings such as the Indianapolis Art Center (1996) in Broad Ripple and the NCAA Hall of Champions (1997) in Indianapolis. Graves visited Ball State University's relatively young College of Architecture and Planning in 1974 to give a lecture titled "A Little of the Old In and Out," a recording of which resides in the Drawings + Documents Archive. In the lecture, available on the University Libraries' Digital Media Repository, Graves gives a fascinating discussion of his projects, concepts of how to look at space, and extensively discusses the paintings of Matisse, Picasso, and Cezanne in relation to his own work. He also discusses the work of other architects, such as Le Corbusier.

Monday, February 9, 2015

NEW! M. Carlton Smith Architectural Drawings Online

 
 
 
Marion Carlton Smith (1905-1984) was an Indianapolis architect known for his residential designs, both modest and extraordinary. He graduated from Broad Ripple High School Smith in 1924 and while he never received a formal education in architecture, he gained practical knowledge in construction and carpentry from working with his father during summer breaks.

After high school he went to work at the Henry L. Simons Company, which was known for their exclusive residential building designs. Smith later worked for Edward James Associates before starting his own firm.

This online collection in the University Libraries' Digital Media Repository contains examples of 241 different projects dating from 1932 to 1969. The drawings are mostly designs for private residences in Indianapolis; however there are some examples of commercial additions and remodeling jobs. Other drawing sets are for vacation cottages, a fraternity house, stadium, recreation center, Union Chapel Cemetery, and the Indianapolis Mirror Company. Most of the work is by Smith but a few projects are by architects Rollin Shuttleworth and Charles D. Ward.

The collection was donated to the Drawings + Documents Archive by Smith's son, Greg Smith, in 2012.

Images: Mr. and Mrs. Gordon T. Kelly residence presentation drawing, 1940; M. Carlton Smith photographic portrait, 1930s. M. Carlton Smith Architectural Drawings, Drawings + Documents Archive, Ball State University.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Happy Architectural Holidays from the College of Architecture and Planning

 
 
In this 1967 photograph from the College of Architecture and Planning's open house, an undergraduate student is showing his noel-themed design board to his mother. The word noel features prominently in all of the personal holiday cards that can be found in Dean Charles Sappenfield's own collection in the archives, so it's likely this design project was directed by Dean Sappenfield.
 
Image: Open house, 1967. College of Architecture and Planning Images Collection, Drawings + Documents Archive, Ball State University.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Happy Architectural Holidays from Juliet Peddle

 
Architect Juliet Peddle (1899-1979) from Terre Haute, Indiana, created this charming block print of a house covered in snow that was likely destined for a Christmas card design. She was the first female architect registered in the state of Indiana. The Drawings + Documents Archive recently received this particular print in a donated collection of 60 sketches, prints, and architectural drawings by the architect. The collection spans from her early European sketches in 1928 to a residence built in 1967.
 
Peddle graduated from the University of Michigan in 1920 with a degree in architecture before going to work at the Chicago architectural firm Perkins, Fellows, and Hamilton. She had followed in the footsteps of her friend and former classmate at the University of Michigan, Bertha Yerex Whitman, who was the first female graduate in architecture from the school. They worked together at the firm and also founded, along with seven other women architect, the Women's Architectural Club of Chicago. The group exhibited their work at the first Women's World Fair in Chicago in 1927. Later they held exhibitions in the library and social hall of Perkins, Fellows, and Hamilton, and at other firms. Peddle served as the editor for the club's publication, The Architrave.

She returned home to Terre Haute in 1939 to open her own office, which she operated for over 30 years. She was known for her modern designs as well as her appreciation of historic architecture. A talented artist, she often drew local historic buildings and houses. Many of them appear to be houses destined to grace the fronts of holiday cards, such as this one.

You'll see  more of these drawings in the next few posts, as we celebrate architects and the holidays with our annual series of holiday cards by architects.

Image: Merry Christmas cottage in snow, undated. Juliet Peddle Architectural Drawings, Drawings + Documents  Archive, Ball State University

Friday, November 21, 2014

Rediscovering Ringgold Avenue Playgrounds



Among the  Ball State University College of Architecture and Planning students, practicing professionals, and researchers accessing Drawings + Documents Archive records are people working to thoughtfully reinvigorate neglected spaces with historic roots. The Indianapolis Parks Department Landscape Architectural Records 1898-1988 collection was recently referenced by residents of the Bates-Hendricks neighborhood on the near south side of Indianapolis to discover more about the history of a small city park within neighborhood borders. Members of the active Bates-Hendricks neighborhood association have worked diligently in recent decades to rejuvenate disused structures and spaces, some of which have been physically altered or have demanded reshaping and creative reuse because of urban blight and the disruption of the late 1960s-1970s interstate development. Seeking to connect with and honor the past community and structures, neighborhood association members often consult Sanborn fire insurance maps, city directories, and other invaluable archival resources when undertaking new projects. A new park and playground, recently transformed from a vacant lot with the help of Keep IndianapolisBeautiful, was named Baumann Park for the German immigrant family who originally settled and built several homes on the street.

After hearing from long-term neighborhood residents about the stark contrast between Ringgold Park before and after I-65 was built, neighborhood leadership became interested in learning more about the original park footprint and elements. The current park, a small triangular swath of land abutting I-65, leaves much to be desired. Attracting families and creating safe play space for children is a priority for any residential area, and well-maintained green space is especially important for dense city neighborhoods.
A detailed 1936 ink-on-vellum drawing of the playground on Ringgold Avenue was discovered in the Drawings + Documents collection catalog (now available online). This information about 1936 park features, along with Sanborn maps and City of Indianapolis aerial photography, is being used by Bates-Hendricks leadership to generate interest and spark discussion among residents regarding how the current physical space can be improved, while referencing elements of the past.
As the only archive dedicated to preserving the history of Indiana’s built environment, the Drawings + Documents Archive is more than just a repository for scholars and students.  The archive is uniquely poised to serve as a rich resource for residents and organizations working to revitalize city neighborhoods. By rediscovering the history of land use and footprints of past development, stakeholders wishing to make thoughtful changes to an area or recreate elements of the past are able to do so with a little additional digging.

About Bates-Hendricks:
The Bates-Hendricks neighborhood, on the near south side of Indianapolis, is an old city neighborhood with some great architectural gems and historic public spaces. The very interstates that serve as neighborhood borders, I-70 and I-65, pose challenges, as well as create opportunities, for revitalization.

Bates-Hendricks Neighborhood (in turquoise), Google Maps, 2014

The area is named for the striking Bates-Hendricks house and was platted and developed primarily from the 1890s to the 1920s by German immigrant communities. Residential buildings range from late 19th century working-class homes to 20th century American Four Squares. Most of the historical commercial buildings, including the first Hook's Drugstore, no longer grace the East Street corridor. However, several early 20th century churches, as well as the South Side Turnverein designed by architects Vonnegut & Bohn, punctuate the clapboard siding building-scape with their red brick facades. For more information about the neighborhood, visit bateshendricks.org

 

 
 
 About the author: Lydia Spotts is a Bates-Hendricks resident and professional archivist in Indianapolis. She enjoys making connections across local history collections and exploring historic neighborhoods.
 
Images: Ringgold Park drawing, 1936. Indianapolis Parks Department Landscape Architectural Records, Drawings + Documents Archive, Ball State University.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Indiana Architecture X 3D in the news

For those interested in learning more about our Indiana Architecture X 3D (IAX3D) project using current 3D modeling technology to create online and printed 3D models, here are two recent articles that profile the project:


Krassenstein, Eddie. "Ball State University Students Recreate 3D Model of Demolished Landmark with 3D Printing Technology." 3DPrintcom. 3DPrint.com, 29 Oct. 2014. Web. 29 Oct. 2014. http://3dprint.com/21516/ball-state-3d-printing/
 
 

Trendler, Amy, and Carol Street. "Harnessing the Power of 3D Technologies for Library and Archives Collections." ARCHSEC. Art Libraries Society of North American Architecture Section, 15 Oct. 2014. Web. 29 Oct. 2014. http://archsec.arlisna.org/?p=296   



Images: Wysor Grand Opera House 3D models of details,, 2013. Indiana Architecture X 3D, Drawings + Documents Archive, Ball State University.
Screen captures of 3DPrint.com and ARCHSEC blogs where the stories appear.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Struco Slate and Spiders

 
 
It's the perfect time of year to discover this decorative paper sheet with spiders and their webs bound in the Struco Slate architectural  trade catalog from 1930. Judging from the rest of the collection, using decorative paper was relatively unusual in trade catalogs, which were targeted advertisements directed toward those in the building professions. The expense of a beautiful, finely crafted blank sheet of paper would seem superfluous to many companies, but perhaps the designers at the Strucural Slate Company felt it distinguished their catalog from the others. 
 
The leaf is a translucent white. We placed orange paper behind the delicate paper to highlight the intricate webbing details and the spider at the center of its web.

 
 
Images: Struco slate and its application with modern architecture, 1930. Trade Catalog Collection, Drawings + Documents Archive, Ball State University. Photo by Carol Street.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Art Moderne Indiana armories


 
The Indianapolis Heslar Naval Armory, along with another naval armory in Michigan City and an infantry armory in Darlington, were the focus of the feature story in the 1938 issue of Architectural Concrete magazine for their striking and cost-saving use of reinforced concrete. All three armories were designed by Indianapolis architects Ben H. Bacon and John P. Parrish in the streamlined Art Moderne style and built using labor supplied from the Works Progress Administration, known as the WPA. Completed during the Great Depression, concrete was chosen over other masonry choices due to lower materials cost as well as for the relative ease in training unskilled labor how to work with concrete.

The Drawings + Documents Archive maintains a collection of Architectural Concrete publications from 1935 to 1947. Produced by the Portland Cement Association, a national advocacy group for concrete manufacturers, the publication profiled building projects where concrete was used extensively. The article on the Indiana armories was written by the architects for all three projects, Bacon and Parrish, after the buildings were finished and had their dedication ceremonies.

An excerpt:
To many people an armory is just a place to go to see a wrestling match, prize fight, or a visiting soprano, but it has far more serious functions. It is a peace time training station for a war time army, a mobilization point for the National Guard in times of civil unrest, and a public shelter for victims of floods, hurricanes, and other local disasters. In many communities, particularly smaller towns and cities, the armory is the civic center. An armory can be the most used and most useful building in any community.

For this reason armory construction for many years has tended toward sturdy, permanent structures of architectural merit. And it is for this reason that the three new Indiana armories, erected during the past two years, are sturdy architectural concrete buildings, designed to reflect credit to the surrounding areas, and built to stand hard use for many a long year.

To learn more about the Indiana armories, visit Indiana Landmark's Hidden Gems website.

Images: Architectural Concrete, v. 5, no. 1, 1938. Trade Catalog Collection, Drawings + Documents Archive, Ball State University.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

NEW! Leslie F. Ayres collection now online

 
Thanks to the generosity of donors Steve and Sharon Zimmerman, a new collection of Leslie F. Ayres drawings was donated to the archive this summer. The entire collection has been digitized and is available for viewing online in the University Libraries' Digital Media Repository. It consists of drawings, sketches, presentation drawings, photographs, and reproductions of drawings made by the Indianapolis architect from 1926 to 1945. The finding aid for the collection can be found on our website.
 
 
The earliest drawings and sketches depict his student work at Princeton University, possibly his work at the prestigious architectural firm Pierre & Wright, and scenes around Indianapolis that caught his interest. The Indianapolis scenes include a wide range of subjects that include power plants, high schools, monuments, clubs, civic structures, and religious buildings. During a visit to the Chicago World’s Fair in 1933 he sketched scenes from the Belgian Village.

 
Ayres was well known among Indiana architectural circles for his highly refined and exquisite renderings. Even after he embarked on his own architectural practice he continued to receive rendering commissions from his former employers, Pierre & Wright, as well as from other prominent firms such as Rubush & Hunter, A. M. Strauss, and Robert Frost Daggett. His beautiful and atmospheric renderings, which were often made in watercolor and colored pencil, lent an air of sophistication to any project and were used to sell the client on the architect’s design. He was so successful that in 1948 the magazine National Architect described him as "just about the only professional renderer in Indiana."


His professional drawings from the 1930s and 1940s depict residences, apartment buildings, and churches that it is not yet known whether they were ever built or where they stand. One realized project represented by seven black-and-white photographs in the collection is the Wilkinson House in Muncie, Indiana. This Art Moderne masterpiece has been widely celebrated as one of the best examples of this style of residential architecture in Indiana.

Images: Indianapolis Athletic Club sketch, 1933; Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument and Monument Circle sketch, 1933; Chicago World's Fair Belgian Village sketch, 1933; Small house similar to Honeymoon House presentation drawing, undated. Leslie F. Ayres Architectural Drawings, Drawings + Documents Archive, Ball State University.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Jay C. Bixby Collection now online!




Researchers of southern Indiana architectural history will be thrilled that the Jay C. Bixby Architectural Records are now online in the University Libraries' Digital Media Repository. This collection contains architectural and business records from the Vincennes, Indiana, architectural office founded by John B. Bayard and continued by Rudolph W. Schucker and Jay C. Bixby, from 1910-1965. 

Included are architectural working drawings by the firm for 15 projects in southwestern Indiana, and additional projects represented by specifications, photographs, newspaper clippings, contracts, and bills for architectural services. The images, above, show the Vermillion, Indiana, Courthouse from concept drawings to photographs of construction and the completed building.

The collection also contains drawings for two houses in Nevada, Iowa, designed by Bixby early in his career, scrapbook material, and plans by the Hirons & Mellor architectural firm from New York, New York, for the George Rogers Clark Memorial in Vincennes, Indiana.

Images: Vermillion County Courthouse drawing; construction and completed building photographs, 1924-1925. Jay C. Bixby Architectural Records, Drawings + Documents Archive, Ball State University.