Monday, August 31, 2009

Fall semester hours at the Archive

The Archive is open Monday, Tuesday Wednesday 9-noon, 1-5; Thursday 9-noon, 2-5; Friday by appointment. If you'd like to schedule an appointment, please email or call (765) 285-8441.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Archive Open House

The Drawings and Documents Archive, Architecture Library, and Visual Resource Center are hosting an open house for faculty Friday, August 21, from 1-4 p.m. During the lull between beginning of the school year meetings, please stop by to:

Check out the new Building Material Samples Collection in the Visual Resources Center (AB 117).

Discover resources in the Drawings and Documents Archive (AB 120).

Browse new books and videos in the library. (AB 116)

Have some refreshments! (sorry-only in the Library, not the Archive)

For non-BSU patrons, you are always invited to stop by the Archive, for the open house or to conduct research.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

International Open Building Student Competition

After the successful completion of the First International Student Competition in Open Building in 2008 here at Ball State University, the CIB W104 is organizing the 2nd student competition in association with Tecnalia in Bilbao, Spain in May 2010. The competition has two aims:
1) to invite critical observation of the traditions of architecture as a profession, and
2) to invite creative and focused thinking on the needed advancements in design methodology to meet the challenges of a dynamic new urban morphology mutating with the changes of contemporary urban life.

2008 competition award winners:

Information on the 2010 competition:

Students are encouraged to enter this prestigious competition!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Soldiers and Sailors Monument undergoes renovation work

At the very heart of the city of Indianapolis stands an impressive limestone monument erected to honor Indiana soldiers and sailors who fought in the Civil War and other wars prior to World War I. It's officially called the State Soldiers and Sailors Monument, but locals tend to refer to it as Monument Circle, or just the Circle. Visually, it's a stunning piece of art and architecture that functions as the central axis from which the original city plat radiates.

Completed in 1901, the structure and sculpture has spent over a century exposed to the harsh climate of Indiana so it's no surprise that it is in need of repairs. The City of Indianapolis is embarking on a $600,000 project to rebuild the leaky observation deck and repair the water damage that has resulted from the leaks. You can read more about the project at

One of the tasks of the project is to install anchors to make it easier to hang Christmas lights on the monument. Every Christmas since 1962, it transforms into a gigantic Christmas "tree", with lights strung from the top to the ground. It's a popular destination in December and a well-loved city symbol that brightens up the often-dreary winter weather.

Who do we have to thank for thinking to decorate the monument? Indianapolis architect Edward D. Pierre (1890-1971) came up with the idea in the 1930s, but due to limitations of the Depression, it wasn't realized until 1945. Pierre began with modest displays on each side of the monument that expanded over time, culminating with the addition of the lights in 1962. Themes of the first display were Peace on Earth, on the north side, Hoosier Christmas on the south, The Night Before Christmas, on the east fountain, and Fairy Land--Little Orphan Annie, on the west fountain.

Pierre was an extraordinary architect who combined is passions for architecture and urban planning into a long and influential career. He was so influential that Indianapolis mayor Richard Lugar eulogized him as being "one of the most significant and imaginative thinkers in regard to the beauty of Indianapolis." The Indiana Society of Architects established the Edward D. Pierre Medal to honor subsequent architects who also embody his spirit of urban renewal through architecture.

The Drawings and Documents Archive chose its Pierre and Wright Architectural Records as the first collection we digitize. Over 2,000 pieces of the collection are currently being photographed and scanned and entered into our online Digital Media Repository (

We're going to debut the first part of the collection--the amazing 3-D model set of downtown Indianapolis Edward Pierre created in 1953--soon, but I wanted to give you one sneak peak at the collection before it goes live, here is the model (scale is at 1:720) of the State Soldiers and Sailors Monument:

With the dark backdrop it looks remarkably similar to two night scene postcards we have in another collection:

For more information on the State Soldiers and Sailors Monument, visit

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Architecture as Aid

The Drawings + Documents Archive's mission, as mentioned above in the banner for the blog, is entirely focused on Indiana. However, the Archive is physically situated within a college that has a global world view. Ball State College of Architecture and Planning (CAP) students and faculty come from all over the planet, and students regularly conduct internships and study abroad during their time here. CAP also strives to help, through architecture, landscape architecture, planning, or historic preservation, communities as close as Muncie and as far away as New Delhi. For that extraordinary reason, you will see some postings here about architecture outside of Indiana.

One fascinating example of helping communities through architecture is happening in the high Himilaya of Northeast India, where exiled Tibetans are building new lives. American John Ullman first visited the region in 2007 to fulfill an internship requirement for his architecture license. Once in Tawang, Arucnacnal Pradesh, he experienced this impoverished community's need for architecture and decided to do something about it. Ullman organized Architecture for Tibet to improve the lives of these people, particularly children, who have had to leave their homes in Tibet. He also hopes to help preserve their culture at the same time. Their first project is to build an Academic Center for the Manjushree Orphanage, to replace their current schoolhouse.

You can learn more about Architecture for Tibet and the work they are doing, complete with photographs, maps, and architectural drawings, at