This past Sunday, my wife and I had the last minute pleasure of attending the first pre-season Colts game. It was a hot August Indianapolis weekend. We witnessed a great performance by the first team, and then a mediocre performance by the Colts “B” team.
When we decided to make our way out of Lucas Oil Stadium, we left by way of the north gate which lies on South Street and gives you a grand view of downtown Indianapolis’ skyline.
If we back up for a second and take a look at what is going on in this area of downtown, we should go back a few years when planners decided to build a new stadium. This also included the renovation and expansion of the Convention Center; a place that could be considered one of Indianapolis financial main arteries. The renovation included moving into some of the space made clear by the demolition of the RCA dome.
If you happen to witness the current on going construction from Maryland, Capital or Georgia Street, the design represents a modern looking and attractive structure. One could see it from these sides and proclaim that even while it is a low profile structure for a CBD, it will get the job done in a somewhat attractive manner.
Then you look at what is going on from South Street, and by extension, the North Gate of Lucas Oil Stadium and it looks like Ford or General Motors moved in and constructed a parts manufacturing plant. There is nothing but an entire block of two stories of aluminum siding. My wife made this comment, and I couldn’t agree more.
Digging into this, I found that Ratio Architects covered the design as well as a couple of other local architecture firms Blackburn Architects and Domain Architects. I attempted to research on each of the architect’s websites what they may have been involved with, but Blackburn’s website cited that they were involved in some of the interior design and Domain’s website was so difficult to navigate, I closed the browser after 5 frustrating minutes.
How could this have happened? In looking at how comparatively good the rest of the expansion is looking, how was one of the most visible facades of the convention center allowed to turn out this way? Was this part assigned to the design “B” team like the remaining 3 quarters of the football game I witnessed this weekend? I have spent about an hour’s worth of time trying to dig into the available information on the web to see if there is anything covering the exterior, but there does not seem to be that level of detail readily available.
I hope that eventually I am proven wrong and that something will be here to replace what looks like the side of an automobile parts manufacturing plant. Is this the face that we want to show to the people who will be attending the Super Bowl here in 2012? Granted, there is plenty of good looking skyline, but a two block long corrugated aluminum wall is going to detract from that.
Some other ideas for sprucing this up could involve some sort of Indianapolis themed mural. Maybe some sort of foliage along the CSX viaduct that travels adjacent and in the foreground would help to distract from the plain appearance. At this point, I am spitballing. As always, comment is welcome and if someone in the know has something to add to this, please comment on it so that the rest of us will know.
Editor’s Note: This post is referenced in an IBJ Property Lines Blog post located here