Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Indiana State Library + Locavore Architecture

From the Pierre & Wright Architectural Records Collection, we have a wonderful collection of drawings and photographs of the impressive Indiana State Library, which was built while the country faced the Great Depression. In the construction photograph, above, you can see the Indiana State House in the background. The inverted photostat depicts wall shelving units for books with an overhead mural depicting scenes from Indiana's history. Designed by local architects and largely built with local materials, the State Library could be considered a good example of what we might call "locavore architecture" today.

From the Indiana State Library's website:
The General Assembly in 1929 authorized a special levy of two cents spread over three years in the expectation of raising about one million dollars for the cost of site and building. Governor Harry G. Leslie appointed the Building Commission and a site at the corner of Senate Avenue and Ohio Street was acquired in the summer of 1931. An architectural competition was held under the direction of Mr. Arthur Bohn [of Vonnegut & Bohn] of Indianapolis in October, 1931, the jury of award consisting of Mr. Edgerton Swartwout and Mr. Raymond Hood of New York, and Mr. Mitton J. Ferguson of Brooklyn. Pierre and Wright of Indianapolis were the architects selected and plans were ready in March, 1932.

And about local construction materials:
Throughout the construction of the building every effort was made to use Indiana materials. The exterior is of Indiana limestone; on the interior, much use has been made of the Monte Cassina sandstone from St. Meinrad Abbey, and all of the interior woodwork and much of the furniture is of Indiana walnut. With reference to the walnut it is an interesting fact that for the four principal rooms in the first story, the veneers used in each one are from a single tree. The glazed blocks, with which the walls in the stacks and service hails and stairs are faced are an Indiana product.

Images: Indiana State Library construction photograph and photostat, Pierre and Wright Architectural Records Collection, Drawings + Documents Archive, Archives and Special Collections, Ball State University Libraries.

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