Tuesday, January 31, 2012

University Libraries’ Drawings and Documents Archive Exhibit Opens in Indianapolis for Super Bowl Weekend

Edward Pierre: Civic Pride Begins in Your Backyard
Exhibit opening at Blackline Studio for Architecture, February 3, 2012, 6-9pm.
1043 Virginia Avenue, Studio 211, Indianapolis, Indiana

To celebrate the hard work and civic pride that has been taking place around Indianapolis in preparation for this weekend's Super Bowl, Ball State University Libraries’ Drawings and Documents Archive and Blackline Architecture Studios have partnered to present the exhibit Edward Pierre: Civic Pride Begins in Your Backyard, opening at the Blackline Studio in Fountain Square’s Murphy Building, on Friday, February 3, 2012, from 6-9 p.m.

Curated by Carol Street, archivist for architectural records, and Vessel von Ruhtenberg, architectural historian, the exhibit highlights Pierre’s Modernist work throughout Indianapolis with large photographs and renderings from the Drawings and Documents Archive’s collection. Blackline Studios, where the exhibit will be held, is comprised of architects Craig Von Deylen, Scott Perkins, and Craig McCormick, all graduates from Ball State University’s College of Architecture and Planning.

Architect Edward Dienhart Pierre, FAIA, could be called the man who built Indianapolis due to his lifelong career shaping Indiana’s built environment and overwhelming dedication to make the city shine as brightly as possible. It is fitting to honor this extraordinary architect at a time when the city is shining brighter than it has in years, thanks to the Super Bowl coming to town. Much in the vein of today’s extraordinary Cultural Trail and the projects to beautify the city’s near east side, Pierre felt good design should engage the public and he pursued this through a wide array of buildings and civic events that we continue to enjoy today.

If you’ve ever seen Monument Circle lit up at Christmas, shopped in the Sears and Roebuck building on Mass. Avenue, eaten at Yats on College, visited the State Library, experienced a game at Bush Stadium, or driven around Meridian Kessler, Meridian Hills, or Butler Tarkington, you’ve experienced the benefits of having an architect like Edward Pierre in Indianapolis. He also designed, along with architect George Caleb Wright from 1925-1944, and in his own practice from 1945-1960s, the Old Trails Building, Oxford Gables Apartments, numerous schools (including IPS School 78, which is currently being repurposed into a IPD building), fire stations, and many jewel-like modest houses as well as expansive mansions throughout the city.

Of course, not all Pierre buildings are still standing or in use as originally intended. Bush Stadium is undergoing renovation and will be turned into condominiums, the Art Moderne-style Fire Station No. 18 on Washington Street stands vacant, and we just lost the small, but well-designed Tarkington Park Tennis Shelter to the wrecking ball in October. The exhibit will highlight numerous Pierre designs, buildings both lost and loved, and invites visitors to consider a little civic pride for Indiana’s architecture, as well as a thank you for all the hard work everyone has accomplished lately to make the city shine. The exhibit will run through March 1, 2012.

Blackline Studio is a full service architecture and interior design studio for commercial and residential architecture. Recent projects include the Speak Easy incubator space, City Gallery at the Harrison Center for the Arts, and The Hinge in Fountain Square which opens in late 2012.

Ball State University Libraries’ Drawings and Documents Archive preserves the history of Indiana’s built environment and contains over 100,000 original architectural drawings, landscape plans, blueprints, photographs, models, and building remnants. Located in Ball State University’s College of Architecture and Planning, the archive is open to all researchers. You can find thousands of drawings from the Pierre & Wright Architectural Records online in Ball State University Libraries’ Digital Media Repository.
Images: Civic Pride Begins in Your Backyard original drawing, 1950s [3-233]
"Planning the Metropolis of Tomorrow", Indianapolis Star Magazine, February 17, 1957 [3-176.2]
Tarkington Park Tennis Shelter architectural rendering, photostat, 1957, [3-128] 

Pierre & Wright Architectural Records, Drawings + Documents Archive, Archives and Special Collections, Ball State University Libraries.

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