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Circle Idea Competition finalists selected

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A panel of judges has chosen three prize winners from among 12 finalists in the Monument Circle Idea Competition, a public call for suggestions on how to improve the look and use of Indianapolis’ city center.

Their top three picks—which received cash prizes—were unveiled Wednesday afternoon. Posters highlighting nine of the proposals have been on display in storefronts around the Circle since at least Tuesday afternoon.

First: From Inertia to Inner Circle, submitted by Jean-Baptiste Cuelle and Francois David of Paris, focuses on opening up the space around the monument to allow for more natural interactivity between pedestrians. $5,000 prize.

Second: RE:Centering Indianapolis 1001, submitted by Indianapolis-based Ratio Architects’ Urban Design Studio, envisions many small changes, including adding a local grocer and reducing vehicular traffic to one lane to allow for sidewalk cafes. $2,000 prize.

Third: Nexus: Indianapolis, submitted by Studio Three Architects Brian Hollars, Lohren Deeg and Kerry LaPrees of Muncie, proposes reserving the northwest quadrant of the Circle for pedestrian use only. $1,000 prize.

The competition, announced in March, came about after Indianapolis hosted a CEOs for Cities event last October that brought together local stakeholders and national experts to brainstorm ideas for making cities more livable. The group of urban leaders was dazzled by Monument Circle, but puzzled by its apparent under-use.

A similar competition in 2008 raised ideas for the Grand Army Plaza in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Ideas generated by the contest may be considered by planners already working on the future of the Circle.  The Indianapolis Department of Public Works has retained the team of local design firms Woolpert Inc., Browning Day Mullins Dierdorf Architects Inc. and Eden Collaborative to conduct a scoping study.

All the finalists suggest a variety of ways to make Monument Circle more dynamic, including expanded pedestrian space, reduced traffic lanes, more green space, interactive water features and cafes, all of which are common elements in successful public spaces, national design and urban planning experts told IBJ.

However, some suggestions are completely original.

Christopher Short, principal of Indianapolis-based Haus|The Architecture Studio and co-designer of the “The Pulse” proposal, said he and his partner tried to focus on the perimeter of Monument Circle. He and Derek Mills, designed mobile canopy structures that can be placed around the Circle in a variety of different arrangements. The canopies can cover parking, seating and food stands and could even accommodate a light show.

“We intended to improve the human scale by narrowing the vehicular traffic lanes and focus on the experience of looking toward the monument,” Short said.

Other original ideas include a pedestrian promenade from the monument to the state Capitol building and a glass-enclosed café at the base of the monument.

Finalists hailed from Indianapolis, Muncie, California, Georgia, Massachusetts, Ohio, France and England.

Posters representing all 12 finalists will remain on display on Monument Circle until June 26, to allow the public to vote via text message for the People’s Choice winner, which also gets a cash prize. That winner will be announced June 28.

All prize funds were raised through private donations.

CICF is a co-partner of the competition, along with Indianapolis Downtown Inc., which is overseeing the project.

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  • One More Thing
    Also, Alexis, I would point out that Ratio is not a "big corporation." It has 88 employees, and that includes all staff, not just architects. It is a small company under any standards.

    I have no personal connection to Ratio, but I do think it is ridiculous that a local Indiana company is getting flak from self-righteous and misguided inviduals such as a yourself.

    And, yes, I am waiting to read your response about my point about Frank Lloyd Wright's designs being appropriated by SOA.
  • Was Frank Lyod Wright Properly Credited?
    Alexis, you are making a mountain-out-of-a-molehill. Design always takes elements from other work. Moreover, there is a difference between copying exactly and/or claiming others' work as your own, and simply incorporating elements of other's ideas. Moreover, the graphic of the building in question is NOT integral to Ratio's proposal, and it was merely put up as a placeholder to represent the type of future buildings that may be built, and it was certainly not a substantial factor as to why anyone would like Ratio's proposal over the other 11. It could be easily removed and/or replaced without in any way detracting from Ratio's overall proposal.

    However, as you claim that you wish to stand firm on principle, then I would stated that you that you cannot pick and choose as to when to stand firm and when to stand down. So, I ask, did SOA properly credit Frank Llyod Wright for providing the idea for their "green design" building? I ask because their supposed novel building looks suspiciously similar to many of Wright's famous (and never built) skyscraper designs. Hold SOA to the same standard you wish to hold Ratio, and then I and others may take your comments a bit more seriously.
  • larger photos
    Chuck, You can view larger renderings of the top 12 finalists on the competition website: http://www.monumentcircleidea.com/ViewTop12_Judges.cfm
  • RE:
    I think your comparison to other global scenarios is a bit sensationalized, and inappropriate. Your use of the word robbing is also exaggerated. What monetary gain would a 'big corporation' seek out of this? The prize money is miniscule, which again, alludes to that this was about macro level improvements for the city. I would venture to guess that the majority of the entries were by those who love Indianapolis and only want improvements. You’re acting as though this was an architectural competition with much to gain (i.e. implementing a multimillion dollar design project). Also, who is the big corporation here? I'm trying to understand where your hostility is stemming from.
  • I think
    I think ... that Ratio has committed a violation of the design community rules; namely, not to claim the design of others as your own. This is a specific building design and not just a "green building" which could have been expressed in a more general manner. Otherwise, I think Ratio should have credited the architect appropriately. I don't think Ratio would like other architects using Ratio's designs in their submittals on other competitions or for jobs.
  • Circle's New Look
    I truly hope the natural beauty of the Circle is not lost in the designs of people or groups who may not even be aware of the history of this city, let alone the history of the Soldiers and Sailors Monument. This is what the Circle is and this history should be included in any future plans for that area and our city, Indianapolis.
  • Definitely not mistaken
    It is not about if the image in the background or not. When you have an idea represented and claimed by the plagiarizing team, No matter it is in a background or foreground
    ( clearly not their idea ), then credit it, be truthful and move on. Isn't that all we were taught to be from our society? being truthful and don't take ideas from others and CLAIM it as your own? This case is worst, just cut and paste and submit as their submission...Then win from it, Are we saying to the public that such act is right?

    This is a question of being fair and I do not think that the other entrants and the public will leave it to rest as this is truely a matter of what is right or wrong ( Intregrity )...and clearly a small act of plagiarism is still plagiarism. Can anyone being caught robbing say to the public that they were just robbing a little? robbing is still robbing and I would just wish that the winning team will man up and just apologize and move on. The longer this drags out the more outrage the design community will get...and trust me this will not go away softly because this is NOT RIGHT! Luckily for social media, even big corporations will not be able to cover this up anymore..just see recent incidents around the world. Fight for what is right and show our next generation that such act will not be tolerated.

    We are gearing up to create blogs, tweets, letters, petitions etc to expose this to the public that might not know about this and push for a JUST response from IDI and Ratio...
    • Mistaken
      I feel that you're not necessarily being unbieased in your remarks, though I may be unaware of the reasoning behind it. First, if this competition was a design competition; that is, one basing accolades on inventive design and design philosophy, then yes, you would have every right to be upset at the use of such an image. What this competition was about was a collective of ideas. The 2nd place team's use of an image that shows a piece of architecture is nothing out-of-bounds. The image is a simple representation of an idea that architecture embraces. Had the image been in the foreground of the composition then I would, myself, question the merit of its use. But, it was a background image. I doubt the intent was to suggest that their idea was this building, but primarily a precedent of a strong idea. The idea of sustainable architecture is nothing new, and they clearly ID the image by calling it an IDEA. The idea being sustainable architecture. They cite more than one idea, with the majority being clearly in the foreground. Should we insult the remainder of their ideas because they have been implimented prior to this? No.

      This competition was primarily meant to benefit the city, not create award winners etc. Humility in this matter would be worth while to clearly understand the scope of the competition. Do not allow your personal relationships with people on other teams skew what this was about.
      • Not so fast
        to reply to Chuck's comments. First it was labelled as 'idea 979' in the submission describing its function as 'design for future generations use sustainable materials and utilize green technology, within it's 1001 ideas, so that is definitely NOT just a background building dropped just for fun..its part of the idea for selling their point of view and without proper credit that the design is not from them but from SOA.
        For the general public that is not familiar with current french architecture, they will definitely be 100% misguided that what they see are what is from the designers, and definitely will find the green technology a way to go for the future and vote for it then,
        If this is just a fun thing to do cropping out a design not from them and place it in the submission knowingly that the general public will be misguided..then why not just draw a box and label the same thing or even just list it in the submission text? i know some might just think that this is nothing but to the entrants that put so many hours and hard work on the submission and knowing that what might take to just cut and paste a few ideas from others and submit the design will get themselves into 2nd place...who will ever want to work for anything else anymore! this is a bad example for where the profession is heading...and Just some respect for people that really work for it...That's all Chuck.
        • pictures
          Ratio's design does not intend to turn the Soldier and Sailor monument into La Tour Vivante. That building is just dropped into the back ground. Seems like an odd thing to do, but certainly is not plagiarism.

          Having said that, IBJ's slide show is just about worthless. Gabrielle, can't you link to some larger photos?
          • PLAGIARISM
            The second prize winner has submitted a plagiarized image as their idea for the submission from a French architecture firm called SOA. If you look at their submission, it clearly shows that ! compare the 2nd place winning submission, look at Idea no.979 at http://www.monumentcircleidea.com/ProjectPDF/2.pdf
            to (SOA) at http://www.soa-architectes.fr/media/pdfs/1304949577p016_tour_vivante.pdf

            This is Plagiarism and the ethical question is that, Can we as design professionals just cut and past anything we find interesting ,submit as our own idea and win a prize? What should IDI do to address concerns from a lot of people that used countless of hours to submit original ideas?

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