Your favorite Indy building?

November 28, 2007
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Indy SkylineSeveral downtown projects, including Lucas Oil Stadium and the JW Marriott, will add new dimensions to a skyline that hasn't changed much in the last dozen years. What is your favorite building in downtown Indy, and why? What do you think about the skyline? The host of Property Lines, Cory Schouten, is on assignment this week. Meanwhile, the blog is featuring discussion questions about Indianapolis real estate. Look for another new topic on Friday. Live posting resumes Dec. 3.
  • My favorite building downtown is probably the Atheneum. Great architecture, wonderful history and I love the way it's being used today.
  • The best in Indy would have to include the Scottish Rite. What a wonderful facility with great history and architecture!
  • I like our brick classics like the Century Building and the Barnes and Thornburg Building. These buildings have great street level presence and have aged well.

    I also like the Artsgarden quite a bit. It's a strange space that is underused but iconic.

    As far as our towers are concerned, I look forward to the day the awful Chase Tower plays a supporting role instead of the lead in our skyline.
  • My favorite downtown building is the Eiteljorg Museum. I like how the building incorporates natural beauty in its architecture without being cheesy about it.
  • A second vote for the Atheneum. Talk about mixed-use. Too bad it's surrounded by surface parking lots, but I feel that will change in time. I also have to mention the Murat, Scottish Rite, IRT, and all the old buildings on the circle (the art-deco Circle Tower being my favorite). As for new buildings? My favorite new project is the Douglass Point live-work buildings at 25th and Delaware.
  • My vote is for Riley Towers. While obviously not the interesting buildings from the exterior, they are possibly the best example of high density, mixed-use urban development in the city. Having lived there, I can say they provide a unique living experience unmatched in Indiana. Sure, there are much prettier, more historic and grandiose buildings downtown, but few that contribute as much functionality to the urban fabric of downtown. The city would benefit if there was more of the same.
  • I can't say that I'm a big fan of any of the major towers that define our skyline, but I do look forward to the day when the One Indiana Square makeover is complete. While the redesigned building won't be all that unique, it will be nice to rid the skyline of that godawful white-trimmed nightmare. It's certainly a step in the right direction as far as improving our skyline goes.

    I'll second ablerock's feelings about our brick classics. It's a shame that the city lost so many of these gems throughout the mid-late 20th century.
  • City-county council building duh. It's like not even a contest. That baby's a gem and I'm so glad that it replaced the hidious building that used to sit on that site. Major improvement!
  • I agree Brad. That Marion County Courthouse was becoming an eyesore!
  • I think Circle Center Mall is underrated. It fits in with downtown instead of looking like it was dropped in. I also think that Conseco Fieldhouse is a classic. Best hoops stadium in the country.
  • Veto to Circle Center Mall... yes it preserved the building facades, but it took all the pedestrian traffic that should be on the street and hid it inside.
  • The MSA Site, so far. So much potential there.
  • Michael Says:
    November 28th, 2007 at 6:35 pm
    Veto to Circle Center Mall… yes it preserved the building facades, but it took all the pedestrian traffic that should be on the street and hid it inside.

    Very interesting point! I hope to see this change in the near future. First Floor Retail For All!
  • Michael Says:
    November 28th, 2007 at 6:35 pm

    Veto to Circle Center Mall… yes it preserved the building facades, but it took all the pedestrian traffic that should be on the street and hid it inside.

    Well, you have to consider the time when it was built. Back then, downtown was pretty dead anyway, and Circle Center was a major catalyst for getting people and activity downtown. The mall brought people downtown at a time when they weren't there, inside or on the street.
  • Not that its anywhere NEAR my favorite building, nut I have to agree with Dave on Circle Centre Mall. If that mall had never been built, I doubt very much that we'd even be having dsicussions about downtown today. There remains plenty of room for future development downtown.

    As for my favorite building(s), I'd have to say The Scottish Rite Cathedral, City Market and the World War Memorial.
  • Our skyline is pretty terrible. For my favorite building I would have to go with the World War Memorial. Definitely one of the most underrated pieces of architecture in the country.
  • Why is my post not on here? I can't believe it dissapeared! What happened to it Cory???
  • I know it is not around, but my vote for building NO LONGER standing is the ENGLISH building on the circle. It graces the cover of the Indianapolis before and now book and shows what a travesty it was for it to be replaced by a JCPenny's and now Wellpoint. A close second is the Marion County Courthouse.

    Where were the preservationists in the 50's, 60's, and 70's?
  • As for the skyline..... it leaves a lot to be desired and hopefully it will change pretty dramatically over the next few years. That said, the undisputed BEST view of our skyline is from the James Whitcomb Riley gravesite atop the hill in Crown Point Cemetery (it actually doesn't seem all that bad from there).
  • Marshall, unfortunately, the skyline won't change over the next few years. Everything we are building is short, bland and boring. Just the way Indy likes it, I guess...
  • That's exactly the problem with Indy today E.R.H. I completely agree with you.
  • I think our skyline needs some water. Chicago, Seattle, Boston all have great skylines right along the water. But this undertaking would require a lot, wouldn't it? I guess it could be a benefit if global warming hits in a major way.

    Seriously though, I think that our skyline needs a little help. I'd like to see some of the buildings receive an updated facade. I'm excited about the new projects and I hope they bring some new life into the city.
  • Marshall, unfortunately, the skyline won’t change over the next few years. Everything we are building is short, bland and boring. Just the way Indy likes it, I guess…

    LOL! Look into the new character and appearance guidelines for the regional center. Not only is it bland, it looks like it will continue to be that way for the foreseeable future.

    It is sad that most of the buildings mentioned here where built nearly 100 years ago. That says a lot about Indy.
  • My favorite buildings downtown:
    The World War Memorial has one of the most stunning interior spaces I have ever been in.
    The Indiana State Museum continues to reveal intersting design details every time I go by it.
    The NCAA hall of champions is a wonderful blend of historic and modern formtypes.
    The New Central Library, while not perfect, is bold and dares to be different, and in turn, disliked. That is very commendable.
  • I say this very often yet... all things considered our skyline is rather admirable. Most of the buildings seem to complement one another quite well. Take the pitched roofs on the Chase Tower, Market Tower, First Indiana Plaza, etc. etc. They all have a different, yet unique look to them! Sure, we can do better yet we still do have a pretty impressive skyline. ESPECILLY at night!
  • *especially
  • This comment system hates me. Now that I've written nothing pertaining to the topic, I'm sure it will choose to actually post this....
  • LOL and simultaneously frustrated: I'm having the same problem, CorrND!
  • SEE?!? What happened to my thrice-posted list of buildings I like, will it now come up three separate time?

  • I may be the only person in Marion County who loves the City-County Building. I'm a fan of mid-century design, and I think there are some amazing details inside the building that I always appreciate. The offices are a bit bleak, but the public spaces are pretty cool to me.
  • misemici,
    I don't disagree with you. I think the City-County Building is a nice example of mid-century architecture. Its massing and facades have a good degree of nuances that bring another level of interest to the building of second and third looks.
  • The best thing about the City-County Building is the public assembly room. I love the way it floats out separately from the rest of the building, hovering near Market street. It reminds me of some of cinema's great sci-fi architecture.
  • I agree with a lot of the buildings mentioned thus far. I love the Daniel Burnham designed Barnes & Thornburg Building (it is incredible). As for newer skyscrapers, my favorite is the Market Tower.

    But I also wanted to mention some buildings that I thought had been left out thus far. 1) The Illinois Building (despite being vacant right now) 2) The Majestic Building 3) The Block Building 4) The IRT 5) The Circle Theater 6) The Omni Severin

    Just to name a few
  • I think the comment system is just out to prevent me from posting comments with anything related to this discussion.
  • YOU'VE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME! That went through too?!
  • Able, Corr and I were kind of joking about the Public Assembly Room during the IHPC meeting. I think it's awesomely bad. Otherwise the CCB is just bad, IMO.
  • Let's not for get the Columbia Club ladies & gentlemen. It is very nice & European lookin to me. :)
  • More modest in scale but a wonderful facade, the old Coca Cola building. I also remember a comment from Frank LLoyd Wright about the War Memorial, Tear it down and keep the churches. I agree.
  • Old Indy classic: Soldiers and Sailors Monument. What other structure more uniquely symbolizes Indy to others? A timeless monument that I take my kid to see everytime we're in town.

    Modern building: Market Tower (Mansur building). Pretty cool building. Nice detail, respectable height so as to add to the skyline, yet blends in nicely.

    Honorable Mention: American Fletcher Center/Bank One Indiana Tower/Chase Tower. (Forgot about AFNB, huh?!!). Besides being Indy's only legit skyscraper, the view while sitting in American Legion Mall is fantastic... such a compliment to the setting.

    Sentimental Corporate Favorite: Eli Lilly's HQ. When you stand outside the Dome, or Conseco, or look out any other southern facade downtown, you see the Lilly sign and realize many of the wonderful facilities in Indy were made possible by the Endowment's generosity. As someone said, Lilly is like the fairy godmother for Indy.
  • Many have mentioned the Scottish Rite and even the Murat, but I have a warm spot for the interior spaces of the Indianapolis Masonic Temple at North and Illinois Streets. One of those places you've driven past a thousand times and never noticed or known what it is. Props to the Masons for their new nighttime lighting - it was blue for a couple of months. I see it went green for Christmas this week.
  • My vote would be for the Scottish Rite Cathedral. That thing is drop-dead gorgeous!

    As for something Indy is still lacking.... Back in 1984 there was talk of an Indiana Tower. Indiana Tower was to be in White River Park and if I remember corrtectly, stand around 1000 feet tall, making it about 10-12 stories shorter than the Sears Tower. It would have been our own verison of the Leaning Tower of Piza (except without the lean hopefully). The tower would have had a spiraling ramp to the top, plus elevators.

    Wouldn't that have been super-cool?

    Anybody know what ever happened to those plans?
  • I echo many of the sentiments already mentioned, including The Majestic, Block, Barnes' brick building, etc.

    There are so many others that have appeal: Ratio Architect's building at Maryland and Penn (with the vertical Business Furniture sign affixed to the corner!), St. Elmo's, Harry & Izzy's....

    I REALLY like our Romaneque Union Station, too!! I miss the accessibility of the beautiful Great Hall (or am I wrong, and the public really can enter freely?), plus the single-level corroded copper structure across the street that reminds me of the 1800s French Exposition Building.

    For iconic sake, I like the Pyramids, and I miss the original Zipper facade.
  • The old City Hall building. It has a gorgeous interior space and I would love to see the windows returned...any use in there would be terrific, but is it too much to hope it would remain a public building?
  • I am quite fond of the Indiana State Museum, NCAA Headquarters and as well as the new library extension. There is also a special place in my heart for the Mavris Cultural Center on S. East Street.
  • I'd have to say the Atheneum. It has amazing German architecture and really shows the influence of the Germans through out Indy's history. Its a great structure that is being used in many ways. Though I wish they would construct more infill around it that kind of mimicks the sort of German gables. I like all of the old downtown buildings. My favorite highrise is the Chase tower.
  • If the Marion County Courthouse was still standing it would be my favorite due to its amazing architecture. Sadly the morons in charge at the time demolished the gem for the front courtyard of the retched CCB. Indy has lost many gems, now all we can do is try to construct new gems and preserve the buildings we have left.
  • It is sad that most of the buildings mentioned here where built nearly 100 years ago. That says a lot about Indy.

    This isn't just an indictment of Indy; it is an indictment of post-WWII architecture across the country. Atheneum gets my vote.
  • Barnes and Thornburg
  • ...while i'm no architecture pro, recently i was downtown standing on the monument looking around. i looked at the chase tower.. then i looked up at the key bank building.. and finally i looked at the war memorial.. it seems that at least someone was looking back for some (uninspired) inspiration. all three buildings have similar profiles but different heights, while the key bank building has what looks to be flying buttresses.

    from the correct distance and from the correct angle.. our skyline looks pretty good.

    btw.. has anyone actually been INSIDE the new central library yet? i have a feeling that everyone will be very suprised. go visit on the 9th.. take your camera.
  • Our skyline looks good from certain angles, and thin from other vantage points.
  • I agree........I don't think our skyline is bad at all.....there are many cities with average or boring skylines........if you were shown a picture of Boston's skyline would you be able to recognize it as such?
  • Boston may not have a magnificent skyline, but they have the culture, the neighborhhoods, the urbanity. Indy has none of this.

    Look at a city like Charlotte. They just opened their first light rail line, they have a BOOMING skyline. Their downtown has a ONE percent vacancy rate. Indy is so suburban minded, all out office space is being built in Carmel. I honestly don't think we will ever see another office high rise ever again in the CBD.
  • Here's some more info on the never-built Indiana Tower with picture

    750 feet tall
  • Is it any wonder that the favorite TV and Chamber of Commerce view of downtown is from the canal basin near the USS Indianapolis Memorial? Water, fountain, tall buildings.

    After a lot of reflection, I think The Downtown Canal is my favorite structure in Indy.
  • I'm a fan of Janice
  • I'm just here to speak the truth, not be a mouthpiece for the visitors bureau like some.

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