Just in: Project renderings

June 3, 2009
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Check out these conceptual renderings of a public-private downtown redevelopment project approved today by the Metropolitan Development Commission. The $65-million project calls for apartments and retail space adjacent to the former site of Market Square Arena. The renderings suggest the developer, Kosene & Kosene principal Tadd M. Miller, plans to continue the company's tradition of naming its downtown projects after former Hoosier car companies. The renderings call it The Marmon. Read more here.
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  • first off: I HATE SKETCHUP!

    second: needs more depth...it's as flat as that other Koesene building on Ohio.

    but, development is good
  • First floor looks like a fallout shelter.
  • Prepare to be assimilated.

    Resistance is futile.
  • Please open up the first floor.

    Pretty please. :-)
  • Wow, the first floor interface with the street is really bad. Needs to be like Kosene's other development on Ohio Street. Once the who market square area is redeveloped (whenever that is) this will be a high pedestrian traffic area and this design completely ignores this.

    As for the rest of the building, the best I can say is that it's relatively inoffensive.
  • Who cares.
  • First floor has to better engage the street. I hope that part of the design is truly better than what the renderings have to offer. The NW corner shown completely cuts the ground floor away from NJ and Market St - exactly what doesn't need to happen. Same problem on the SW corner off Washington. It appears the building has been boarded up (before it even has a chance to be foreclosed on.)

    I am sure there are many nice elements to the design. I enjoy the upper floors design, and the recessed portions. But the first floor, the most important, is failing.
  • Additional development is good in this area. It looks like a war zone. Remember projects always change from the initial renderings. The city has not had a project announced of this magnitude for quite awhile. Hopefully it will get financing. Do we know the architects? Hopefully they are local.
  • come on target & whole foods!!

    first floor development is so crucial, no one wants to walk next blank walls.. they want to walk next to store fronts!
  • It would also be amazing if if the other 3 corners of east & washington could be developed.. put a parking garage on one and some infill on the others... That whole area is stupid right now.. except for Maxine's chicken and waffles.. SOO GOOD!
  • To me this is leaning in the right direction. The recessing on the southwest corner is nice, perhaps we will see a green roof there above those three floors. The northwest corner however, seems a bit monotonous... i wish they could design it to be more appealing to the eye. Perhaps if that rectangular turret were to be brought out to address the street, or a glass facade curving inward to mimic the JW and Central library could be put in its place. Also i don't know if anyone picked up on the fact that if you look at where the fallout shelter has been boarded up, there are indeed windows behind them, you can see at the very bottom where the walls are setback in the higher def versions. I don't know what that means, but i pray the first floor incorporates the pedestrian better than it does now. With this building Awnings and lighting that work in tandem with the buildings style will be essential to create a successful, walkable, and enjoyable environment. Other than that this is a solid project, Good Infill, you cant complain about filling in another surface lot!!!!!!
  • Looks like some old manufacturing plant. It sure would be nice if Indianapolis could advance at least into the second half of the 20th, that's right, 20th century.
  • Please tell me these are preliminarys?
  • Well, this will certainly fit with the style of the local buildings....namely, the jail.
    As an architect, I'm definitely not impressed. I can't believe that the developer really thinks that this design is worth showing preliminary renderings to the public. I'm SURE that the project will end up looking completely different, but right now, I'd rather live in suburbia.
  • I think they should start a new tradition and name downtown projects after Pacers players. This one could be called the Tinsley...
  • Can I please ask WTF is going on with BR Ave? They have had signs up for 2 months with dates moved around. Did Ballard F this job up too?


    I called City Hall, no answers. Anyonme got a clue on this? first start date was posted as April14th????
  • oh. BR Ave. Broad Ripple / 62nd from Keystone to College Ave.
  • A- byss- mal!

    That's worth a big public subsidy.... NOT!

    The Administrations and the developers may change, but the bilking of taxpayers remains unchanged.
  • Could this place look any more horrible? Can we please add some excitement to the city? I feel like we are trying to re-create Cabrini Green! I mean come on it's 2009! We want make this place rock, the Super Bowl is in 2012 and it's a time to market ourselves as the 13th largest city that is awesome not become the 14th.
  • Back to the STBNamed MSA project. Build it already...anything. At least it's not a pre-fab tin structure that seems to be indigenous to the Hoosier landscape, rural and urban.

    The design is okay, what do you expect for apartments? But really, as so many posts have questioned, I hope that first-floor rendering is more of a fill-in-the-blank than an actual plan. Looks like a bunker.

    And yes, I'll bite on Broad Ripple Ave.. So what's up with the construction delays? Given the timing and the seasons, is this another 2-3 year project? Either way, I sure hope recon includes the stretch of the Avenue that runs thru the business district. It's more moonscape than main street.
  • I like the elevation of the Southwest Corner, the recession and dimension it has. I like the possibility of the GReen Roof. Why couldn't they mimic some of the set backs that they have on the SW on the NW, or cut half of a space out and build up one more floor.

    Overall, for apartments they are nice. I would like to see some nice curved out balconeys, slight curve, to give some more functional space and make it seem larger. I don't like seeing square bathtub sized balconies everywhere.

    I'm all for this though, even if it does look like this - bout time that building got torn down. With the development of the East side of 65/70 in the Angies List Block and it spreading a little North and West, this could all tie in nicely some day.
  • I think any project over $20 million should get a descent design. This is not a good design. We need infill however. They need to go to peer cities like Charlotte and Nashville and see what they are building for around $35 million. Their projects blow ours away. They have an artistic eye. The Midwest must change its standards now.
  • Ehhh...pretty much sums it up. What is it with most of the architecture popping up in Indy? When are we going to start seeing better designs? As long as the building material isn't EIFS, I guess I'll be a little happier. It definitely is progress for that part of town though.
  • I'm from rural Indiana, so anything that doesn't look like a barn and is more that two stories tall is good 'nuff for me!
  • I will start off by my favorite quote of the week by Architect Frank Gehry...The Architecture of Underachievement

    I will first comment on the windows. I start there because windows is the only interface we have to see and they are of the most importance.

    After being fascinated by his building and the windows, I visited Carlos Jimenez in Houston to interview his design of the former Irwin Mortgage building off I-69 (who seems to be the muse in informing the recent window extravaganza that Scotties Brew Pub has revealed as part of their design and now this building. (I say building...not architecture. There is a difference).

    Carlos designed this style of window to frame the highway (I-69) in a more interesting way. He wanted to evoke a conversation about image, and billboard and how it is viewed both vertically, horizontally, etc. His concept was logical, filled with meaning, and drove the project.

    What I see here is the abuse of this technique for style sake. I could be wrong and will wait for the designer to explain, but these windows only complicate the overall mass and dominate the facade with little to zero meaning or substance. What is the viewer to frame? What is the experience for the person inside?

    We are always offered an outside image view of these projects with little glimpse into the quality of space from the person looking out. This is the difference between architects such as Carlos (http://www.media.rice.edu/media/NewsBot.asp?MODE=VIEW&ID=8542 ) and developers.

    I've read through the strains in this blog and respect the comments made. I will note that identifiers and adjectives such as nice are non-descriptive and describe a non-experience for architecture in this city. Nice for me is yet another metaphor for how long we have to go in the City of Indianapolis to create a design knowledge and culture that will evoke comments and environments that are maybe DYNAMIC VISEREAL IDEALISTIC CRITICAL EVOLUTIONARY or at best INTERESTING HIGH TECH

    I've not seen this style since Franco and Musulini. The building renders itself as not friendly, but Fascist. The influence of Albert Speer is perhaps my first thoughts (http://www.kubiss.de/kulturreferat/reichsparteitagsgelaende/bilder/umspannwerk.jpg) but perhaps I'm leaning towards even stripped classism.

    In closing...I will note other ideas that quickly come to mind. First, why does the building have a hat on top? What is the relationship of the pedestrian to the street? Why does the facade panels try to mimic the windows? So many questions...

    If architecture is to be part of our culture, a representation of how we feel about ourselves, a marker of our progress and ingenuity then I will be the first to say that this building in our city takes us backwards. It makes us look silly, inane, desperate, cold, and unfriendly and is simply a 65 million dollar catastrophe replacing another 1970's catastrophe.

    Bottom line...a building of underachievement and an icon that has become the default for this cities acceptance of blah...blah..blah design.

    I will in good faith offer a few inspirations that gives me confidence and can stand as a bench mark for Kosene and principal Tadd M. Miller.

    1. http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_VyKh-ydn2JM/SSXW5Fpb72I/AAAAAAAAAPk/xqnndqFfSeQ/s1600-h/zenithext1web.jpg
    2. http://static.zooomr.com/images/3679720_19b50e8c7b.jpg
    3. http://onearthtravel.com/blog/wp-content/cube.jpg
    4. http://images3.realestate.co.nz/edi/OSLBARF001/photos/410188-1.jpg

    These are my personal comments and do not the thoughts or ideas of our firm.

    -Wil
  • 65 million for this p.o.s.? You've got to be kidding me. It's just infuriating to see this low-rise crap going up on a major street in the d/t. Personally, I'd rather it stay empty than this go up. Sorry, I'm just not that desperate.
  • Add some more color to it! Make it interesting for crying out loud.
  • Street/sidewalk interface for big-box retail in today's world presents a real problem. Everyone wants ground-floor retail, but no one wants what it brings: the architecture of reality.

    Groceries, drug, hardware and discount stores need walls (not windows) to the outside so they can stack the merchandise higher than head-high. So for every 50-60 feet of glass storefront, they want at least an additional 250 feet of blank wall, loading dock, dumpster space, etc. And those are the retailers people say they want downtown.

    To say that it's a design challenge is an understatement. To imagine changing that entire corporate culture is way more than a challenge.
  • Well clearly these are very, VERY preliminary renderings. In fact, I'd take a small bet that they were prepared in-house by a young development intern who has learned Sketch=Up at his/her boss' request. That is to say, they weren't prepared by an actual designer.

    The comments regarding how dismal the street level is are spot on. That said: is the dark brick-ish base the existing building, or new? Are those horizontal ribbed panel thingeys applied to the existing building at location where a large expanse of glass is not possible?

    I'm not excusing the similarity to a bunker; it's really unacceptable to be so closed tot he street. I'm just trying to parse out why the ground level interface, as shown, is so, ummmm, unfriendly.

    Also: who said target/Whole Foods above? Let's throw Trader Joe's in too, they've been doing downtown locations for years now.
  • Nice post Wil. Thanks for the links.
  • Thank you Donna. I was beginning to think I was those only person that believed these were preliminary renderings. To me, this just screams we need to show SOMETHING, it doesn't matter what.

    It's also worth noting that these renderings are showing the NW and SW corners of the site. Presumably, this would then be the second phase, the section NOT using the Bank One Operations Center. Corey's full article mentions that the city retains an 18 month option to buy back the western portions of the site for a transit center, so what’s shown in the renderings likely won’t be built for quite a long time anyway.
  • I see a C in the lower right corner of the top image titled View from Southwest.

    It reminds me of the C in Indy-based CSO Architects.

    http://www.csoinc.net/

    Could they be the responsible firm?

    Any word on that, Cory?
  • Looking at it again, the character after the C could only be an S or 5.

    Hmmm....
  • This parcel is on the doorstep of the city of Indianpolis. As visitors enter the city from the East, this is the gateway. What is the lasting impression of this structure? Cool? Highly-desirable? Memorable? Innovative? A place that creates some buzz and a person/tenant wants to live in? If the developer (and bank) are going to spend the money, why would they not invest in great design that adds further value? That's right. Great design adds a multiplier. It differentiates. It creates DESIRE. Look no further than similiar projects in Seattle, Portland and Chicago. It is time for our city to no longer settle and benchmark against the best. Everything matters. Everything makes an impression. Is this the best we can do? Great design and responsible construction budgets can co-exist. It is time to raise the game.
  • To Donna and CorrND's points, Cory's post does say these are conceptual renderings.

    Perhaps Mr. Miller will find it in his heart/budget to consult some local talent, such as Wil Marquez, as to how he can improve the project
  • As long as there is a tanning salon, check cashing and Panda Express in the lower level retail, Ill be happy.
  • PLEASE let a super-store of some sort move in here. The downtown residents really need it. I can't do all my shopping at walgreens, carsons, and Marsh. I'm exhausted of having to drive to the glendale target or kmart on s. madison avenue. I feel very strongly that a target, kmart, meijer, or even God-forbid, a walmart, would thrive here. Not only would the downtown residents shop there, but daytime business people that don't live downtown would as well. This has got to be the biggest downtown in the nation without a place to do mass shopping all in one place.
  • Ablerock, nice catch on the CSO logo. I missed it completely.

    I know for a fact that more than one local architect who specializes in urban mixed-use design has reached out to Tadd to offer help. I'm betting that many more will soon follow after seeing the SketchUp renderings of today.

    And I agree, that first floor design has to go. Thundermutt has already explained why this is a challenge. However, there are many local examples of retail storefronts with storage or back-of-house spaces behind them. It's really not that hard.
  • i am not that impressed, and hope this project will evolve for the better. Do they plan on demolishing the bank one building or rehab it (it looks like they are rehabbing the old building, that's how awful it looks.) I hope that is not the case.
  • The ground floor needs to engage the street better and the developers and potential tenants can figure out how to accomplish this. This is a good time to make buzz about this, so the FINAL design reflects those changes.

    TM: It's just a building. Your issues have been overcome in other projects and are minor in comparison to other design challenges.
  • I'm not saying the issues haven't been overcome or that they can't be. They can, and will. But the first floor of the building won't ever be a glass box, either.
  • Is there some reason to believe that the ground floor retail would actually be occupied by some type of big box retailer? If the success of this project hinged on landing such a tenant, and a deal hadn't already been inked, the City would appear even more naive/irresponsible/(insert your favorite description here) in approving this garage purchase.
  • I'm having a hard time believing that this is a CSO project, but that is DEFINITELY their logo on the bottom right of that board. It's also the CSO layout for presentation boards.
    CSO never does SketchUp garbage....how weird.
  • You all have some great insight. Why dont some of you start posting your own sketches/renderings. If you believe you know what 21st century architecture is stop writing about it and show us what you've got. Prove that you are more creative and thoughtful.
  • Guy:

    Great post.
  • So, when something is terrible we should just be still and not voice an opinion - typical Hoosier response. Maybe that's why Lucas Oil Stadium looks like a big Marsh grocery store and we have a doughnut hanging from the front of the library.
  • i like the donut. great motivation when running. seriously though, I think littlebird/thinman is great.
  • Guy from midtown: Discussion is why a board like this exists in the first place: as many upthread have pointed out, by publishing comments here one can hope that the developers of the design can benefit from considered input. I and others have also offered opinions that these are preliminary renderings, and that there is likely time for the design to evolve.

    That said, several have pointed out specific problems with this design: for me, the important point is the engagement with the street is not, well, very engaging. Would you like to offer up a defense of the project in regards to how it engages the street?

    I'll also note that good street presence is not only a 21st Century idea; it's been a touchstone of urban design since the 60s in this country, based on examples going back hundreds of years.
  • Midtown: Post your address and I'll mail you my drawings.
  • I am neither defending the design (of this or other structures cited above) nor diminishing the quality and validity of the suggestions. I absolutly agree that the discussion is critical. However, showing some concrete alternatives and displaying some of the creative ideas above would be a great alternative to some of the negative biting commentary.

    I would rather these ideas be posted in a public forum rather than to my personal email account. I am not requesting them for my personal use.
  • Fred, some of us who appreciate modern art actually LIKE the doughnut (aka littlebird) and thinman. You might also be surprised that many people actually LIKE the design of Lucas Oil Stadium, as well. You see, taste in architecture, just as in art, is VERY subjective.
  • Guy from Midtown,

    What you're asking for is exactly what Wil Marquez wrote in post #25.

    If you need to see examples of better residential architecture, they're readily available on the internet. There are also a myriad of books on the subject.

    Here are some popular design/architecture sites to get you started:

    http://www.archdaily.com/
    http://www.dezeen.com/
    http://www.bdonline.co.uk/
    http://www.thecoolhunter.net/
    http://bldgblog.blogspot.com/
    http://core77.com/

    Be careful, you might get addicted!
  • Please view link to MJP architects of London, and compare to current renderings for downtown development. MJP manage to create 'modern' architecture for living and retail space. This is what Indpls needs!

    http://www.mjparchitects.co.uk/Priory_Place.php
  • I’m Wight, no, I’m Wight, no, you have to like what I like, NO, you have to like what I like, and I like it so you MUST like it. If you don't like it, well, you wrong. And I'm Wight. And when I don't like it, you can't like it. Because I don't like it.

    BUT, if you don't like it, don’t say anything. Because, I don't like you saying you don't like it. When you should like it. And If you like it you should say you like it. ONLY if I say I like it.....

    I’m just saying I don't like it.........................like it of not......
  • Amazing the response this post has received...

    Everyone seems to have been waiting for this announcement...I love the excitement and the passion!

    Viva Indianapolis!
  • I don't remember this RFP being republished. Last time the City tried this Cory posted a handful of the designs that were submitted. Did they win a bid?
  • Woody -- this is a proposal for land that is currently privately held, therefore no RFP.
  • I have been to Seattle and Portland several times and I can assure you they are not building low-rise suburban developments in their urban cores. This project is more appropriate for B’Ripple, the north Meridian corridor or Carmel. Not for a major city that needs to add density and height to its downtown. To call this a gateway project is laughable at best, you would be hard-pressed to see it from I-65. This is strictly infill and a poor use of the site.

    As to those who do not care for the critical remarks, GET OUT! As long as people aren’t making personal attacks they have every right to post what they think. If many of us had not screamed bloody murder we would have been stuck with a high-rise Wal-Mart for the J.W. Mariott. So, if you think people do not pay attention to these forums, think again. I think it’s awesome that so many care enough about Indy to take the time to post, kudos to you.

    BTW, great posts from thundermutt, ablerock and all the folks from skyscrapercity.com, I’m vitamin R in that forum.
  • What this project needs to take it to the next level is two simple things:

    1. Hire A2SO4 and turn Wil Marquez loose on the design with the current budget, unit count, etc. as design constraints.

    2. Hire ablerock or another competent expert in urbanism to ensure the project engages well with the urban fabric around it.

    Easy improvements to make on what is otherwise the project I think a lot of people would like to see on that block. And eminently doable.
  • I thought of a third thing:

    3. Hire Nikki Sutton to do the interior design - have her work with A2SO4/Wil on some innovative floor plans plus quality finishes - again, budget, etc. constrained.
  • What is supposed to be happening on BR Ave?
  • Urbanophile, I'm just going to repeat one very important thing that you said:

    Easy improvements to make on what is otherwise the project I think a lot of people would like to see on that block.

    I think EVERYONE on this forum wants to see mixed-use, successful development happen on this block, and virtually every other block, downtown. Those of us questioning some aspects of the project are pro-development, but anti-missed-opportunity.

    And again, as these are obviously preliminary renderings, it's entirely possible that a friendlier street presence is in the future. Comments here just reinforce to the developers of this project, and others, that there are a lot of people in Naptown who want to see high quality design in our city.
  • Is this an extension of the Marion County Jail?
  • You all wear me out! It just goes to show that art (or architecture, in this case) is purely subjective. Quite a bit of passion in this group. By the way, Lucas Oil Stadium is an impressive building. From the eyes of someone who knows nothing about architecture, it could use a little more sizzle. And the retractable roof will end up being a waste of money. But it puts the Dome to shame.
  • Boomer,

    One person thinks Vanilla Ice is a musical genius, the best musician ever!

    Another person argues for Beethoven, that he's the greatest creator of music!

    Who's right?

    These are both subjective opinions, but surely you can see that one of these people is a little wet behind the ears.

    --

    Stating that architecture, or any creative endeavor for that matter, is purely subjective is a cop-out, plain and simple, and doesn't do the city any good. :-)
  • Hmmm... I honestly think the links given as examples are just as thoughtless if not urbanistically irresponsible than this design. The Miami roadway condo (or Dubai... or wherever - is that really an inspiration. no. those are terrible awful places)

    And sketchup? Who cares what they use?

    The groundfloor is the problem. And if I'm not mistaken, there have been a fair amount of other projects that use thoughtless style - the wedge that leans over the street... the real discussion should be about the strategy. They have not offered a written explanation of the design - nor do most architects.

    This is certainly not even remotely similar to Speer's work, however.
  • Also, Charlotte and Nashville are building terrible, horrible, trite garbage. Where did it come from that we should ever aspire to be like Charlotte? At least Nashville is a good city.

    And Portland and Seattle both have low-rise development as well. Why is everyone so eager for typical developer drivel... but taller?

    And the library sculpture is the best public work done in this city that I can remember.
  • Some guy,

    Written strategies and concept explanations would be great.

    World-class design is always driven by a great concept.

    BUT,

    It's also easy for architects to fool the unwitting public by slapping a lame concept onto the project after it's been designed to give it some false sense of meaning or emotional resonance. It's a great trick to mask a mediocre building.

    For example, perhaps you've watched the Phase V Convention Center rendering put together by Ratio?

    http://www.in.gov/iscba/2369.htm

    The BS is right at the beginning, just a few seconds in. Give it a whirl. :-)
  • I didn't mean to suggest that every architecture project should have a dissertation that bloggers can give approval to before something gets built. Most have a concept, but few have a strategy.

    I also don't think architects sit around, twisting their mustache, scheming to fool the public
  • Who said anything about bloggers approving dissertations?

    Dude, I was trying to support your point!

    Architects certainly don't sit around twisting their mustaches. But some designers will most certainly tack-on a concept or strategy after-the-fact.

    Regarding Urban Planning and Architecture, Concept and Strategy should be so intertwined, they're interchangeable.
  • A2so4??? Are U kidding? After the hot mess they let go up on West Street/MLK near Attucks?? That office does a lot of publicity-intensive rope-a-dope stuff like CAN-struction, but what have they really put up of any significance besides that mausoleum on Indiana Avenue that Urban League calls home? If youâ??re looking for architect suggestions who know how to do urban stuff, Iâ??d say Axis, maybe Domain.

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