People have spoken on ideas for Monument Circle

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A former Indianapolis resident who now lives in Philadelphia won the Monument Circle Idea Competition People’s Choice award, Indianapolis Downtown Inc. announced Tuesday.

Circle Idea Competition People's Choice winnerGreg Meckstroth's vision for Monument Circle won the People's Choice award. (Rendering courtesy Indianapolis Downtown Inc.)

Greg Meckstroth was awarded $1,000 for his design, entitled “Square One: A Monument Circle Vision.”

Meckstroth’s design aims to increase green space, activate first-floor storefronts and improve pedestrian areas to encourage more interaction. He works at a design firm in Philadelphia.

Posters featuring the top 12 entries, chosen by a jury of industry professionals, were displayed on Monument Circle storefront windows for about two weeks. More than 800 votes for the People’s Choice award were cast via a text-to-vote campaign.

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 so-called scoping study to get that process started.

The public unveiling of the top proposals this month generated some buzz for another entry, too. The judges’ No. 2 choice, Re: Centering Indianapolis 1001—submitted by Indianapolis-based Ratio Architects’ Urban Design Studio—included a building design that some critics said was too similar to La Tour Vivante, a French building designed by Paris firm SOA Architects. Accusations of plagiarism abounded in blog posts and online forums.

Ratio Principal Bill Browne said the building in the upper center of the entry, marked “Idea 979,” was never meant to be passed off as an original design. Rather, it was merely meant as a placeholder.

Circle Idea Competition finalist Critics said a building in Ratio's design was too similar to an existing building. (Rendering courtesy Indianapolis Downtown Inc.)

“We should have visually credited SOA for the design of that building and that was our mistake,” he said. “It was just meant as an example of what would be a good idea to do with buildings in and around the Circle to achieve 24/7 vitality.”

In a formal statement on the Monument Circle Idea Competition’s blog, Browne said he is donating the firm’s $2,000 prize to IDI.

Some members of the local design community look at the use of La Tour Vivante’s image more as a missed opportunity than a major ethical lapse.

“We need original ideas for Indianapolis. It’s time for us to quit looking outside and trying to copy what other cities are doing,” said Craig Von Deylen, principal of Black Line Studio.



  • Hope Work Moves Forward
    Mr. Meckstroth proposal had some interesting ideas, and I see it appealed to a wide group of people.

    I also really liked Ratio's proposal, too, as it suggested a thousand little changes that would add together to create a big positive change to the Circle. As for the supposed "accusations of plagiarism abound[ing] in blog posts and online forums," that was really a mountain out-of-a-molehill. I read ONE stupid post on the Star's website from someone naive person in LA who claimed "plagerism" over the placeholder building in Ratio's proposal. I pointed out that plagerism has no meaning outside of academic and/or literary circles, and that the contested graphic was placed far in the background and not integral to Ratio's proposal, and most importantly, as Ratio's architects pointed out, it was merely inserted as a placeholder (just as I or anyone else could put a graphic of any building, e.g. the Empire State Building, as a placeholder in the background of a design proposal simply to show massing, height, etc.). I guess someone people have to create drama over nothing.

    I also liked the winning French design, though I know the suggested changes to the Monument's base would never be made.
  • Hard to tell
    Perhaps I am the only one who was unable -- in most cases-- to actually see what each plan intended to do. The posters on the buildings and the plans online were designed in such a way that they were impossible to read. With one exception, none of the visual presentations looked all that much different than what we currently have. They were so stylized that one sketch showed a car ready to plow into a cafe table and patrons. None spelled out exactly, to the public anyway, what was to be done..speaking only in vague trade language terms like "inertia" and "interactions". We dont know if there would be one, two, or six lanes of traffic. Do any of the plans involve seasonal activities? We just dont know, unless I've overlooked something.
  • Unfortunate
    This project ws meant to be a jumping off point for grand plans on the circle, instead, awards were given to some very generic, mediocre and conservative designs. I wish for once this city would do something other than the expected.

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