Inside the new convention center

January 28, 2008
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Ratio Architects today unveiled detailed interior plans for a $275-million expansion of the Indiana Convention Center. The light-filled expansion will feature elevated walkways and a carpet pattern designed to mimic the Hoosier landscape. The plans were revealed at a meeting of the Indiana Stadium and Convention Building Authority. The group also awarded a $3.5 million contract to demolish the RCA Dome to New York-based Sabre Demolition Corp. What do you think?
  • Looks like a convention center.

    Honestly, who cares what the inside looks like? They're usually designed to be a benign backdrop to whatever stuff a convention host wants to show. The host does NOT want people paying attention to the walls and floors.
  • That is an amazingly uninspired design.
  • Cory:

    Anything new on the John Willard Mariott? Sodo? Ralston? IUPUI apartment towers?
  • That's about as corporate as it gets. And by corporate, I mean beige, inoffensive, an unremarkable.

    Several elements of the new ICC were supposedly inspired by the Hoosier landscape.

    And now the carpet? (Which looks straight out of the 80's, by the way)

    I don't buy it. Sounds like drivel conjured up to please a board.

    I'm sure it will function well. CorrND has a point, but I'm not sure he's right. :-)
  • its functional.
    Its not the interior of the state house but I think it will work.
  • Why are people so negative on here? What are you expecting, Sadaam's palace? It's a dagg-on convention center.
  • HA! Thanks ablerock...maybe?
  • What were you people seriously expecting from Ratio? Pritzker Prize quality work?
  • Looks like many of the convention centers I've been in, which I suppose is the point.

    It would be nice if it had a memorable feature somewhere, perhaps an interactive sculpture/meet people space that would get in photos. If a public art percentage requirement applies to the project, I'd urge the CIB to include such a feature.

    There are any number of artists who work in stone or bronze sculptural seating elements. A cluster of artistic seating could add some warmth and focus to the public spaces. Art as placemaking...
  • The carpet reminds me of a Carnival cruise ship - I didn't know part of the Indiana landscape was pink or turquoise.
  • What is it with Status Quo in this state? Architecture... Oh let's make it look like this one in somewhereville, because that's what a building for this use should look like. Why can't we have outlandishly original looking structures.... Look at the Sydney Operahouse for example... Would one know it was an operahouse without being told it was? That's what we should be going for here... ORIGINALITY! Whatever happened to thinking outside the box?
  • good call thunder, firewoman and peacehouse - good points!
  • Very Boring. I hear people talking about what do you expect from a convention center. Well most convention centers in America are a bit drab. If you really want to catch the business communities’ eye as being a World Class city, then start with a World Class looking Convention Center. Best example of a great convention center based on inside and outside appearances would be the Hong Kong Convention Centre. I have included links to the pictures. Now mind you we are talking about Indianapolis, but even Columbus Ohio has a bit more pleasing appearance than that of Indy's.
  • I think it's worth noting that these renderings show very little of the expansion. Consider that the main entrance is three stories tall but we can barely see two stories of it.
  • Scratch that. Just found the floorplan and was surprised to see how little new walk space is part of the expansion. What we're seeing here is just about all that's being added.

    Would still like to see a full three-story shot of the entrance...
  • Wait, is that the old convention center or the new one? It looks identical to the one we have now...
  • CorrND... You're welcome. :-)

    You're correct, it probably doesn't need a breathtaking interior to function perfectly well as a Convention Center. But, that doesn't make it right or the most excellent.

    I want to see the architecture and design in this city lifted above the merely functional or good-enough and into the realm of inspiring and memorable. It's possible to design an interior that is both, without distracting from a convention's products.
  • Aside from the fact that it IS (just) a convention center, it is an ADDITION to an existing structure, not a brand new facility. There has to be a certain amount of continuity between the two. As somebody who works in the convention industry, I understand that FUNCTIONALITY should be the prime focus of any convention facility, and Indy has a remarkably functional center. While it isn't as flashy as it could be, I suppose, it is still an attractive building. In my opinion, flare is less important in a building of this nature than design.
  • Right on Thundermutt! This bulding needs something inside the facility which raises eyebrows, makes people want to get their picture taken, and create conversation about why this convention center is unique! All the neutral colors are expected and it what is on display is the focal point of the convention. But a signature artistic focal point makes people think - wow - this is unique! What about getting local artistans together for a think-tank and then putting their creative ideas to work?
  • i feel like ive seen these a long time ago. I think its BORING as hell
  • What it needs is an Indianapolis/Indiana distinctive, iconic design sculpture. Something that screams where the visitor is and would even want to take a picture of with them in the foreground. It could be big and 3-D and grab attention from outside or less noticeable inside. But my vote would be for something dramatic and not-to-be-missed, like the modern art in Chicago's downtown that is not always loved, but IS recognized instantly.
    I'm talking an oversized, stylized race car to cash in on the only recognized (according to many visitor and even travel pro's responses in multiple surveys) image that exists in their minds that depicts the city to them. OH, there's some kind of race there.
    It's also the one sports venue that is self supporting, brings in major sponsors and cash both during the races and year round with related industries located here. But it's the one that you can't see from downtown.
    LOS, old MSA, the Dome till it's gone, all distinct sports palaces. IMS has become a showcase and with planned improvements will add to the luster of our sports-crazy locals and visitors.
    Conventioneers may not give a damn about the inside of the tradeshow space except wanting places to sit, go to the bathroom with convenience, decent parking (this is a whole other problem for tradeshow-goers that deserves some attention) for their transports, motorcoaches, semitrailers, vendor vehicles, etc., easy access to services, meals, entertainment, lodging and a good value for their money.
    As a volunteer working with thousands of the city's visitors during all kinds of events and activities, this is what I've observed. Not having the IMS represented where the downtown conventioneer can see it is a mistake because most think they will see the track while they are in town. Even motorcoach tours have to make off-the-beaten track treks out to the IMS where there is no place to eat, but there IS a place to park the coach, which many downtown museums/attractions lack along with easy unloading because of goofy one way streets (think about the Athenaeum, or worse, the NCAA Hall of Champions).
    So, they should put something in this sport fanatic town that plays off our best sports icons where there's always a winner and sometimes it's even a local we can call our own.
    In a town full of pro and amatuer sports venues this is a no-brainer.
    The rest of the design can be generic and non-threatening vanilla.
    But use what we've got to cash in on.
  • I can't resist:

    Amen, sister.

    When I go anywhere outside of Indiana, folks associate Indianapolis with racing.

    So maybe the lobby gets some bronze race cars to sit in, stand around, take pictures of...don't forget, the big ballroom in the Center is called The 500 Ballroom.
  • I concur w/ Naptown guy. Where's the excellence? Where's any
    indication of the heart or soul of Indiana?

    BTW, want to know what's happening in design around the world?
    check this out:
  • The convention center in Columbus Ohio looks like trash........
  • Sorry to be a critic, but the suspended walkways reminds me of the Kansas City Hyatt design.

    The Hyatt Regency hotel walkway collapse was a major disaster that occurred on July 17, 1981 in Kansas City, Missouri, killing 114 people and injuring more than 200 others during a tea dance. At the time it was the deadliest structural collapse in U.S. history.
  • Is it just me, or does anyone else picture Kathie Lee Gifford prancing around singing If you can see me now...
  • why not have like a massive painting of Indiana history? From the early days of Vincennes to the busy 21st century? I'd like to see more statues.. Perhaps of famous Indiana figures like Madam CJ Walker or Lew Wallace. Why not show more of Indiana's literature history or its days of German influence? Why should it just be racing? Why not massive wall sized photos of the Indianapolis street scape before WWII in the entrance?
  • Because pop culture (in the form of auto racing) sells the city, pays good salaries to your friends and neighbors, and puts sales, ticket, income and property taxes in local government coffers.
  • Helen, you need to quit living in lala land...
  • I know Nancy lol.
  • So they've dumbed-down the interior, what's the exterior looking like now?

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