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


 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., 29 Oct. 2014. Web. 29 Oct. 2014.

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.   

Images: Wysor Grand Opera House 3D models of details,, 2013. Indiana Architecture X 3D, Drawings + Documents Archive, Ball State University.
Screen captures of 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.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Losing Another Edward Pierre: 16th and Capitol

In a refrain that is becoming fearfully common, another building designed by Edward Pierre is expected to be torn down. The teardown of this particular building rips at the hearts of many in Indianapolis who know it as the former home of much beloved Crawford's Bakery, the local purveyor of delicious cream cheese brownies and splendid birthday cakes. For anyone interested in architecture, the loss from this rather small building will be heartbreaking, indeed. Its demure stature belies its historic significance to Indiana architecture.

It was built by Pierre & Wright, Architects, in 1926, and originally held George Pandell's Flower Shop. You can see Pandell's Flower Shop in the historic black and white photo, above, which is in the Pierre & Wright Collection at the Drawings + Documents Archive at Ball State University.

The handsome commercial building now stands at the corner of 16th Street and Capitol Avenue, but may not stand there for very long. Its shop fronts look much like they did in the 1920s, with large expanses of glass and stately limestone eagles perched atop ornamental columns along the façade. Rosettes are interspersed amongst the terra cotta arranged in a stylish diamond pattern.

It's an altogether elegant building that has stood the test of time well and provided a refuge for those in need of beauty, whether in the form of flowers for a sweet occasion or sweets for any occasion. But most of all it provided beauty in an area that is increasingly strained with its fast food chains and uninspired parking garages. This is not only a loss for Indianapolis architecture, but also a loss of what is beautiful about our city.

Indiana Landmarks has been trying valiantly to save this building for years, but to no avail. The building owner has offered to allow someone to salvage the terra cotta from the façade. If anyone is able to preserve this portion of the building, please contact Indiana Landmarks.

UPDATE: The building was indeed lost torn down on the very day that had historically kept the businesses it contained--a flower shop and sweet shop--thriving: Valentine's Day. It's a heartbreaking architectural loss for the city.

A call placed to the gentleman who worked quickly to salvage some of the decorative Terra Cotta pieces on the façade has led to a promised donation of one of the flower designs. The archive doesn't typically save building fragments, although we do have quite a few in the collection, but this building evokes generations of happy memories as well as provokes multifaceted discussions of preservation. If a sound, well-loved building cannot be protected, what can we protect?

Pandell Flower Shop/Crawford's Bakery building, 1926-2015.

Images: Pandell Flower Shop, 16th and Capitol, Indianapolis, 1926. Pierre & Wright Architectural Records, Drawings + Documents Archive, Ball State University.
Former Crawford's Bakery, 2014. Photo by Indiana Landmarks.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

On the market: Edward Pierre

A colleague recently alerted me to an Edward Pierre residence on the market that appeared in the July issue of Indianapolis Monthly under the title "Realty Check: What $550,000 Gets You in Brendonwood." Well, what someone will get is Pierre's 1954 Indianapolis Home Show model home, called The All American Home, for which we have fantastic interior and exterior renderings. And we get to see some of the changes to the home over the past 60 years. To look at current real estate photos, check the Indianapolis Monthly article online and the listing on Zillow. You can compare these current images with images in our collection, which you can see a sampling here or the full set in our online Pierre & Wright Architectural Records collection in the University Libraries' Digital Media Repository.

Photograph of the home on display at the Indiana State Fairgrounds in 1954:

 Interior renderings:

Landscape plan by James A. Maschmeyer:

Images: Indianapolis Home Show house and landscape, 1954. Photograph and renderings. Edward Pierre, architect; James A. Maschmeyer, landscape architect. Pierre & Wright Architectural Records, Drawings + Documents Archive, Ball State University. 

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Introducing Indiana Architecture X3D

Our Indiana Architecture X3D (IAX3D) initiative brings historic architecture to life using contemporary 3D model and print technology that you can download to your computer or print on a 3D printer. It enables anyone to research and discover designs from long-lost buildings that once graced Indiana environs.

The project launches with the Wysor Grand Opera House built by Henry W. Matson for Jacob H. Wysor in 1891. This Romanesque Revival opera house exemplifies the exuberance and style of Muncie’s gas-boom era, and seems a perfect building to begin our project. Converted into a movie theater in the early 20th century, the building remained a theater until it was razed in 1967. Until now, a few photographs and the architect’s original drawings were the only methods researchers had to explore the ornate façade or intricate ironwork of the interior. Using the original, exquisite ink on linen drawings, we have modeled significant details and the entire building using cutting-edge 3D modeling software and printed them on the 3D printer located in the Ball State University College of Architecture & Planning.

Two different file types are available for download. To print the object on a 3D printer, download the 3D print-ready file which will open in Rhino. An object file is also available for those who want to look at the file in Photoshop.

The image, above, is a screenshot of the entire building model compared with the original drawing used to create the original and virtual front facades. We also recreated numerous details taken from the original drawings. Below, you can see examples of the details, as well as the original 1891 drawings.


Images: Wysor Grand Opera House front façades, 1891 and 2014, IAX3D; Details by Austin Pontius, 2013, IAX3D; Wysor Grand Opera House detail drawings, 1891, Kibele & Garrard Architectural Drawings. Drawings + Documents Archive, Ball State University.

Thursday, July 3, 2014


Connections between architects among our archival collections are usually rather interesting and offer perspectives into their personalities, friendships, and how they conducted business. These are often ephemeral exchanges removed from their professional design work, which is understandably the focus of each collection. Such is the case with the letter, above, from the young Terre Haute architect Ewing H. Miller II to the established Indianapolis architect Edward D. Pierre.

Miller had recently graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and was applying for his license from the National Council of Architectural Registration Board. He needed three references and asked Edward Pierre, a longtime friend of his uncle, architect Warren D. Miller, to serve as one of those references. Pierre's unequivocal response that not only does he love the Miller family, but he believes in Ewing's abilities, is striking.

We readers in the 21st century have the luxury of knowing that Edward Pierre was eventually considered one of the greatest Indiana architects, and we also know that Ewing Miller became another great architect for his generation. Pierre was right to believe in Ewing. He ended up having a long and prestigious career that altered the Hoosier landscape and brought the study of psychology into the process of design. Now retired, Miller was recently awarded the prestigious AIA Presidential Award on behalf of his work and that of two other Miller family architects--his father Ewing H. Miller and uncle Warren D. Miller.

We are currently processing a new, large collection of materials from Ewing Miller, and are finding many incredible photographs, professional papers, research, drawings, and, yes, correspondence. We'll post some of our finds on the blog as we prepare the collection for large-scale digitization.

Image: Ewing H. Miller II and Edward D. Pierre correspondence, 1953. Miller Family Architectural Records, Drawings + Documents Archive, Ball State University.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Leslie Ayres Architectural Drawings

We are very pleased to announce a recent donation from Stephen and Sharon Zimmerman of drawings, sketches, photographs, and watercolor paintings by Indiana architect Leslie F. Ayres. The collection includes some of his early work, likely for the architectural firm Pierre & Wright, his student work at Princeton University, and later examples of his own commissions. Many of the drawings, sketches, and paintings depict scenes around downtown Indianapolis during the 1920s through the 1940s. Ayres grew up on the east side of the city and went to school at Arsenal Technical High School, so many of the scenes show that area of town and nearby downtown. The image above is the DePew Memorial Fountain in downtown Indianapolis' University Park.
Ayres (1906-1952) was an extremely talented renderer and architect. 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.”

While his time was in high demand for other architect's projects, he also built his architectural practice by designing residences, apartments, commercial buildings, and chapels in his distinctive Art Moderne and Art Deco styles. Buildings such as the Federal Economic Recovery Act Building (1934) at the Indiana State Fairgrounds and the Wilkinson House (1936) in Muncie, Indiana, exemplify his modern and glamorous contributions to Indiana architecture. An active leader in the Indianapolis Home Show from 1940-1947, Ayres designed many of the model homes during this time. He created sophisticated small homes that did not trade style for square footage.
Ayres died at the young age of 46, but left behind extraordinary contributions to Indiana architecture. His buildings that remain typify the elegance of an age long lost, and his drawings, now archived at the Drawings + Documents Archive, allow us a glimpse into that era.
Image: DePew Memorial Fountain, University Park, Indianapolis, undated. Watercolor on paper. Leslie Ayres Architectural Drawings, Drawings + Documents Archive, Ball State University.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Historic Indianapolis Architecture Video on YouTube

You can now view a selection of historic images of Indianapolis architecture on our new video available at YouTube. See Bush Stadium, formerly known as Perry Stadium, soon after it was built in 1932 by architects Edward Pierre and George Caleb Wright. Recently renovated to condos, the façade remains intact much as you see in the historic photographs. Notice the ticket booths in the columns of the stadium--Pierre later wrote that was one of his most clever design elements of the project. Other highlights of the short film include buildings, such as the Athenaeum and Herron Art Gallery, by the venerable firm Vonnegut & Bohn.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Recent donation: Sidney & Lois Eskenazi Hospital and landscape models

The Drawings + Documents Archive is pleased to announce the recent donation of building and landscape models for the new Sidney & Lois Eskenazi Hospital and Eskenazi Health campus in Indianapolis. HOK led the design team of architects and landscape architects that includes RATIO Architects, BSA LifeStructures, A2SO4, Blackburn Architects Inc., Olin, Context, PlatinumEarth, and Synthesis Inc. The hospital, which just opened four months ago, stands  11-stories tall, contains 1.7 million square feet, and cost $754 million to build. It is expected to achieve LEED Gold certification and boasts, among many state-of-the-art features, the “Sky Farm,” a rooftop vegetable garden intended to provide food for staff, patients, and visitors.
The models depict the hospital building and the landscape plan along the north side of the building's entrance. Both are currently on display in the College of Architecture & Planning Gallery.

Images: Sidney &Lois Eskenazi Hospital building and landscape models, 2013. Drawings + Documents Archive, Ball State University. Photographs courtesy of Malcolm Cairns.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Archives on the radio: Edwin Gibson

Join us this Saturday morning when the Drawings + Documents Archive archivist will be with Olon Dotson, Ball State University College of Architecture and Planning professor, and Gary Gibson, son of architect Edwin Gibson (1925-2011), to talk on the Harambee radio program hosted by Dr. Thomas L. Brown on Indianapolis radio station WTLC 1310. We will be talking about Edwin Gibson's impressive legacy as the first African American architect registered in Indiana, as well as Indiana's first African American State Architect. Tune in to WTLC from 9-10 a.m. to learn about an architect who succeeded despite many obstacles and the buildings he created.

To listen to our broadcast click the play button below.

Image: Edwin Gibson at the drafting table in the office of A.M. Strauss, 1940s. Edwin A. Gibson Architectural Records, Drawings + Documents Archive, Ball State University.

Byers Snow Melting Systems

For those of us who may be a little tired of shoveling snow this winter, this snow melting system from the A. M. Byers Company looks like a dream come true. The company operated out of the great steel state of Pennsylvania, with their plant located in Ambridge and main offices in Pittsburgh. The Ambridge plant opened in 1930, during the beginning throes of the Depression, and closed its doors in 1969. At the time of this publication, which we believe is 1953, they also had offices in nine additional cities around the country. The company developed a specific process that became known as the Byers Process to manufacture wrought iron in greater quantity with a more consistent quality product.

Images: Byers Wrought Iron Pipe for Snow Melting Systems, circa 1953. Trade Catalog Collection, Drawings + Documents Archive, Ball State University Libraries.