Friday, June 29, 2012

Functional Modernism: Fire Station #18

Fire Station #18, located at Washington Street and Tibbs Avenue on the west side of Indianapolis, is the earliest of the two Pierre & Wright designed fire stations represented in our collection of Pierre & Wright drawings. They both have a similar, Art Deco style with curvilinear walls of windows flanking the central fire truck bays.The fire department moved out of #18 when they built a larger building; however this Art Deco gem still stands today, although it is in need of preservation. Below is a description of the building soon after it was built, that appeard in American Builder magazine in June 1937.

Functional modernism is the order of the day--now even fire stations are models of efficiency in planning and construction. The building above, Fire Station #18, in Indianapolis, lacks the classic bell tower, brass poles, and elaborate stalls which characterized such buildings of twenty years ago. Instead it is compactly planned on a single floor with an exterior having modern lines and clean cut decoration.

The layout shows a central apparatus room, the entrance equipped with upward acting doors. Dormitories on both sides provide bunk room for the fire company; the locker room with showers and toilets extends across the rear and is directly connecting with sleeping quarters. At one side of the front there is a pleasant, well lighted recreation or lounge room with fireplace and a small office adjoining to the rear. Opposite are placed the dining room and kitchen. The small tower which can be seen in the exterior view is used to dry hose and not house the fire bell, as was the former function of such details.

Construction is fireproof, with masonry walls of haydite concrete block and brick facing, reinforced concrete floor, concrete ceiling slabs on steel joists and steel casement. The cost was approximately $20,000; Pierre and Wright of Indianapolis were the architects responsible for the efficient planning and modern appearance of the structure.

Images: Fire Station #18 photograph, ca. 1937 [34-216], Fran E. Schroeder Architectural Records; Presentation Drawing photostat, construction drawing, 1936 [3-41], Pierre & Wright Architectural Records, Drawings + Documents Archive, Archives and Special Collections, Ball State University Libraries.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Arthur B. Henning Architectural Records Available Online

The Drawings + Documents Archive's collection of Arthur B. Henning Architectural Records has recently been digitized for enhanced research and discovery, and is available online in the Ball State University Libraries' Digital Media Repository. This digital collection consists of photographs, sketches, reference material, and ephemera from the office of architect Arthur B. Henning, from Anderson, Indiana. The collection spans from 1922-1980 and includes architectural drawings by architect Erwin F. Miller. Henning worked for Miller and later bought the firm; he acquired the drawings at that time. Henning's drawings were sold to a subsequent firm. Drawing sets are for projects in Madison County and include schools, residences, brewery facilities, and a business.

The bulk of the collection consists of Henning's projects, which were primarily schools, churches, government buildings, libraries, hospital and businesses in Anderson, Indiana, and surrounding Madison County. Some of his largest projects were City Hall, Community Hospital, Fire Department Headquarters, and Anderson High School, all in Anderson, Indiana. Other projects include multiple buildings on the Anderson College campus, Central Christian Church, First Methodist Church, and numerous schools in the area. Items in the collection include photographs, building dedication booklets, newspaper clippings, articles, and reference books.

One of his most outstanding projects is the threatened Anderson High School gymnasium, the second-largest high school gymnasium in the country. After the community of Anderson consolidated its two remaining high schools in recent years, the former Anderson High School and gymnasium were left vacant. The Wigwam, as it is known, has been a vital part of the community since its construction and dedicated preservationists are currently looking for new uses for the building. Above is a two-page spread from the building's dedication booklet, when the future burned bright for this gymnasium.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The beginning of the Ball State University College of Architecture & Planning

Until the College of Architecture and Planning was established at Ball State University in 1965, Indiana students who wanted to become architects had to leave the state because none of the state schools offered an architecture program. The board of directors of the Indiana Society of Architects keenly felt this lack of educational opportunity affected their profession negatively and began planning to discuss the matter at the State Legislature in January 1961.

This article dates from October 9, 1960, shows the Indiana Society of Architects meeting at the Tavern Hotel in New Albany, Indiana, to plan their proposal. The agenda reads:

1. Establishment of a school of architecture in Indiana.
2. Revision of architect registration laws in Indiana.

Architects in attendance include Fran Schroeder, Wayne Weber, Alfred Porteous, Walter Scholer, Jr., Jim Walker, Harry Hunter, Ralph Knapp, R. J. Schultz, and Don Gibson. Fran Schroeder, from whose collection this article can be found, is shown seated, the third person from the left.

Friday, June 8, 2012

E. F. Marburger and Son Building, 1819 N. Meridian Street, Indianapolis

My mother always told me not to judge a book by its cover, but now I'm starting to feel the same way about building facades. Take, for example, the E. F. Marburger and Son building at 1819 N. Meridian Street in Indianapolis. Does the elegant, original facade perhaps still reside behind the urban renewal-era facade?

The historic photo can be found in the Drawings + Documents Archives' Fran E. Schroeder Architectural Records. The building was likely designed by the esteemed architecture firm of Pierre & Wright because Schroeder worked for the firm at that time. A natural historian, Schroeder often kept photographs and documentation related to his participation in architects' organizations as well as building projects throughout his lengthy career. 

Images: E. F. Marburger and Son building photograph, ca. 1930. [34-214] Fran E. Schroeder Architectural Records, Drawings + Documents Archive, Archives and Special Collections, Ball State University Libraries.

Google street view, image accessed 8 June 2012.