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.