Penn Centre at street level

October 18, 2007
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Here are two street-level renderings of Penn Centre, courtesy of Browning Day Mullins Dierdorf. The first shows the Omega Building along Maryland Street, and the second is a view from Pennsylvania Street. These still are early concepts and the developers are working with the Indianapolis Historic Preservation Commission to finalize the design. What do you think?

Penn Centre

Penn Centre

  • I think the ground level looks great!! The only thing that will make or break this project besides breaking ground :) is the colors they decide to use on the facade in my opinion.

    It seems like the buildings embrace the sidewalk and street very well and hopefully this baby will be u/c next month!!
  • Cory, do you have any insider information on when they officially plan to break ground? I have heard from a source that it would be roughly December...I saw when talking to the IHPC they did have to finalize the design on Georgia Street, but I was unclear if they had to go back to the IHPC for another approval or if the Committee would simply ok the design and construction could then commence?
  • I think it looks good, not fabulous, but good. And that's saying a lot for downtown Indy's urban aesthetic concept.
  • looks good
  • I think this looks great. I'm planning on going down there this weekend. I'm going to stand on the corner of Maryland and Penn and try to imagine this there.
  • Overall I think it looks good, however I was wondering if anyone could help me figure something out. Is that cornice and pediment shown on the Omega communications building currently there or is that faux? Does anyone know?
  • The street level renderings do seem to pick up the feel of the warehouse district. Looks like a great fit, at least at street level.
  • I like the building for what it will accomplish. Its placement, scale, and businesses will do wonders for that area of downtown. I hope it will spur redevelopment of the warehouse across the street on Georgia. That building has a lot of potential.

    As far as architecture is concerned, I give it a C+. (Which means absolutely squat, but hey, that's the beauty of the internet!) That's a far higher grade than most of the structures built downtown in the last 40 years would get. For example, the new JW Marriot, if built according to the latest renderings, will get a big F.

    In a nutshell, good architecture for Indianapolis=mediocre architecture in the rest of the world. This building is a step in the right direction.

    The Pennsylvania St. facade is OK. It's a bit repetitive. Reminds me of the new Indiana Convention Center design.

    Maryland St. is pretty blah. The parking levels are horrible. It seems that architects in Indianapolis just give up when asked to design parking garages. At least put some decorative screens on it. I'm looking forward to seeing the Omega Building's facade restored.

    Georgia St. was horrible. It was basically a big blank wall with a bit of glass in the corner of the first floor and. None of the facades on this structure should be considered less important than the others. They're all highly pedestrian corridors and should be treated as such.
  • JAK -- the cornice isn't there right now. The IHPC staff dug up an old photograph of the building that showed it and the developers added it to their design.
  • Thanks CorrND.
  • That's IT i think IM finally moving to Chicago! Ugh... I mean the concept of this project is great, however the overall design really is not... meh
  • Where will the entrance be for Le Meridien? Generally nicer hotel chains have a dramatic entrance of some sort.......or have they not released any renderings as of yet?
  • hey cory - i just saw a brief write-up about paramount towers (paramount realty group). it's on illinois street and will be an eleven- story student apartment. am i just late to the table? i feel like i haven't heard of this one...looking forward to more detail with the street level renderings. i'm not a huge fan of the overall design, but just having that street presence and 20-something story height will be great.
  • Personally, I wouldn't buy this project from either of these renderings. They don't tell me enough to make a rational decision or criticism. Maybe I missed previous renderings that showed the context and overall design but these seem mundane to me. This blog generally has comments that indicate a desire for better architectural design in Indianapolis, which I agree, but I don't see any of it here...yet.
  • Ryan,

    Where is this write-up? I've been waiting for this project to go public for a while.
  • ablerock,
    I asked Ryan the same question, via e-mail. If anyone knows, please share.
  • A lot of what I liked about the Penn Centre IHPC presentation was that they addressed the context of this new building in detail. The project is designed to fit into its surroundings, in material, step-back height and element size. It's hard to get a sense of that from these renderings, except perhaps for the Maryland-side brick -- the brick used for the Aloft is drawn from 2 of the 3-4 shades present in the Hampton Inn building. That helps it mesh with the surrounding buildings while not being an exact duplicate.
  • I think it's great. It will do wonders for the street activity and environment of that part of downtown. Most important: it appears very pedestrian friendly and inviting, unlike many of the skyscrapers downtown (ie One America building, Indiana Square).
  • I constantly read entries on this site knocking the architecture in Indy.
    From the standpoint of someone who's done a lot of traveling. . .we
    could do a lot worse (i.e. St. Louis). Seattle has great spot architecture,
    but as a city it's not unified in style and looks hodgepodge. You have to admit that
    our city, at least looks unified and like each building fits well with the others
    rather than like each architect was trying to outdo the other. Enjoy it for
    what it is.
  • ^^ I completely agree with Matthew! I've LONG stressed that while many think of our skyline as blah & bland it really is not... Many if not all the buildings complement one another in a real refreshing sense, while not being exact carbon copies of one another. Take for example the pitched roofs of Chase Tower, Market Tower, First Indiana Plaza, AUL, etc. etc. It's subtle cues like this that make me really respect if not admire our very own skyline! :)
  • hey ablerock and cory - sorry i haven't gotten back on email (works killing me today)....i happened to look at indianapolis downtown's website ( under live. it's in the new residential projects section. probably not what you were looking for, but it was the first time i'd heard about it. please post with any info when/if you come across any. i tried a google search for a company website with no avail...
  • Thats great! The design goes with the street very well!
    I am loving the Omega building, after the restoration I think it will be one of the more ornate 1860s buildings downtown.
    Is the Omega building going to be renamed its original historic name?(somethign like osteymer and holland or something like that)
    I can't wait for construction to start.
  • I can't take credit for this observation, but it's true. Someone said it on a few months ago: If Paramount Towers gets built, that liquor store on Illinois is going to make a killing!
  • Cory,

    Paramount Towers was designed by Heartland Design/Architects.
  • I think it looks just fine. It engages thye street, which, in this City, is never a fore-gone assumption.

    As for Paramount Towers, any idea when this will go public Cory?
  • Stay tuned.
  • yes, I also hope for a more dramatic entrance. a hotel of 25 stories is significant, so an equally significant entrance would be appropriate. would the entrance be on the Conseco-facing side? I LOVE the lobby of would be cool if Penn Center did something to complement it somehow.

    i hope that article on skyscrapernews is accurate in describing the potential redesign of the JW. Penn Center isn't my favorite design in the world, but I'd gladly take it over the JW.

    Erich actually has a good point about the skyline. You may get a fresh perspective on it if you view it from the parking garage at the airport. Actually, I HIGHLY recommend looking at it from there. You can REALLY see how BIG Lucas Oil stadium is from out there! Anyway, our skyline is not the most impressive, the most beautiful, or anything else, but it ain't that bad, especially if you view the silhouette, and to me it'll always represent home! (cue the sappy home-coming music).
  • For big city feel, I really like the view from the top of the parking garage behind Wellpoint in the second block of North Illinois.
  • Now whats going to happen to the Hilton parking lot? =/
  • I just read a piece about the Test Building, next to Market St. on the SW quadrant of the circle. The building was among the first mixed-use commercial/office/parking structure in Indianapolis, and it's far better than anything being proposed today. When people grumble about Penn Centre's ugly parking levels or its icky face on Georgia, it must be because of buildings like the Test.

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