Convention center design called futuristic

June 26, 2007
Ratio Architects' design for the Indiana Convention Center expansion is futuristic and will help set a new tone for downtown buildings, two Indianapolis architects who didn't work on the project said after seeing images released yesterday.

Plenty of glass and horizontal planes will make the expansion look high-tech and inviting to convention planners, said architects who commented on designs released yesterday for the expansion that will be built on the site of the RCA Dome after Lucas Oil Stadium is completed next year.

"If our goal is to be a world-class city, to entice major conventions, this exterior will provide the image of a world-class city," said Schmidt & Associates associate and program manager Deb Kunce. "It's pretty high-tech looking."

Axis Architects & Interiors principal Drew White said tipping a hat to the limestone and brick of the existing convention center coupled with more glazing in the addition will offer different sensations: "It will allow the building to change during the day, and even during the seasons."

Kunce said the translucent design will allow people on the inside to easily see the downtown, and for people outside to see activity on the interior.

Also, the roof forms at the entrance are a new look to the downtown. "This one isn't 'safe,'" Kunce said.

White wouldn't say whether he felt the design was safe or bold.

White added that he's puzzled by the roof forms.

"I don't dislike them," he said. "It's interesting, but I don't where it came from. I just don't know what inspired them, the shape."

Plans unveiled to the Indiana Stadium and Convention Building Authority by Indianapolis-based Ratio call for 254,000 square feet of additional exhibit space, 63,000 square feet of meeting rooms, a new banquet kitchen and 100,000 square feet of so-called "pre-function space"-including a three-story entry pavilion planned for the intersection of Capitol Avenue and Georgia Street.

A covered connector will be built between the convention center and Lucas Oil Stadium. The connector will stretch south from the center along Capitol before crossing South Street.

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