CSO’s Interior Design Studio partnered with Barnes & Thornburg, LLP to renovate an under-utilized asset at their national headquarters in downtown Indianapolis. Originally built in 1903 as a bank, their office at 11 S. Meridian Street still houses the original vault room in the lower level.
As is often the case, the client had ongoing relationships with other designers. However, they sought out CSO’s expertise when the other firms’ ideas for the space did not align with the client’s vision. CSO worked closely with the client to design the space, utilizing hand-drawn sketches and 3D renderings to align the client’s vision with designers’ interpretation.
The original space was comprised of multiple vaults, of varying sizes, within a larger secure area. Measuring at just 3,249 square feet, the space was going to need to maximize flexibility and style if it was going to satisfy the program. To accommodate the client’s goals for utilizing the space, the team also devised two furniture setups: lounge seating to support cocktail events or more casual gatherings, and a conference layout to support board meetings and other formal meetings. Each setup needed to look and function as if it was permanent so great care was taken to select pieces that looked substantial but could be easily moved.
Designers drew inspiration for detailing such as the scalloped frieze and oculus featured at the top of the walls from existing architecture in the client’s office and on the historic building. The primary, elaborate vault door was fully restored to become a focal point. When it was determined that one of the other vault doors needed to be removed it was deconstructed, with a portion of it becoming a feature inset into the floor. At either end of the newly created primary gathering space, bookcases are anchored with green safe deposit boxes which were intentionally preserved in their unrestored state, adding character to the design and embracing the vault’s storied journey.
As a subtle reference to height markers often seen in mugshots, the design team added a quirky tick mark detail set into the trim that frames each set of doors. Above each of the tick-mark details is a quatrefoil with a key-hole detail, personalizing the classic detailing to this unique project.
The result of the collaboration with the client is a uniquely branded space that is highly flexible. In a space that could easily have felt confined, designers achieved a warm elegance worthy of admiration by the client and visitors alike.
When the community supported WWS in their endeavor to address growing facility needs throughout the district with approval of a referendum, the largest allocation was put toward expanding the existing high school. Administrators saw this as an opportunity to not only address the needs of growing programs and an aging building, but to transform its education model and align the built environment with their pedagogical vision.
CSO studied existing facility use and programming information to quantify space utilization and projected student and program growth. Using CSO’s data, administrators decided to make the leap to a university model of education, allowing them to increase building efficiency and maximize the use of their budget to benefit as many parts of the building and programs as possible. In addition to this shift in space usage, WHS sought to accommodate growing demand for career ready programs, provide flexible areas for student use, and create spaces where students would want to spend time. All new and renovated spaces were designed to easily adapt to future program needs by minimizing built-in fixtures and maximizing use of mobile and flexible furniture. CSO worked closely with WHS to establish an aesthetic that mirrored the new educational direction with a high-tech, industrial feel while maintaining subtle touches that are distinctly Westfield.
The collaborative process between WHS and CSO and in-depth programming was critical to the success of this project. This approach allowed WHS to accomplish so much more than a traditional approach to projected growth would have allowed. The resultant custom tailored building will better support today’s students and staff in their endeavors and allow WHS to adapt to an unknown future much more readily and rapidly.
The Innovation Center would continue to strengthen the commitment to a flexible and focused learning environment, emphasizing Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math Learning Studios. The goal would be to encourage and promote a collaborative experience in all of the learning spaces, and provide a more open, group-oriented Science area, de-emphasizing compartmentalized education and promoting group and team learning across several disciplines. Plans for the open Science area include several laboratories in the same space allowing a more efficient teaching model, while providing enhanced interaction.
An informal study area and open faculty areas promote additional interaction between the faculty and students, faculty and faculty, and student to student. The proximity and accessibility of the faculty is purposeful. However, break out rooms and small group rooms would provide for one on one meetings or private conversations. The learning spaces are intentionally transparent as well as flexible in order to adapt to the changing use of the space and the continued connection to the learning environments.
The Innovation Center would also contain the relocated dining and kitchen space in the lower level, allowing students a more flexible approach to food service and more options to the traditional lunch period. An additional Café would also allow students to utilize a “grab-n-go” concept during the day. The relocation of the campus cafeteria creates a destination for students during the course of the day, while also creating informal interaction areas in the adjacent spaces. Additionally, a new Cathedral Spirit Shop will be located near the cafeteria in a prominent location for both students and visiting parents/alumni.
Architecturally, The Innovation Center will create a new “front door” to campus. The center is an addition to Kelly Hall and will be featured on the courtyard between the existing Student Life Center (SLC) and Loretta Hall. The new addition will incorporate a three-story open atrium between the old Kelly Hall and the architecture of the new addition. Exterior materials used on the addition are blonde brick (same used on SLC), glass, metal panel and stone veneer panels. The old limestone façade of Kelly Hall will be preserved and will be the feature of the new, glass-enclosed front entrance.
Through collaboration and funding with the City of Indianapolis, and donor support, Red Cross was able to achieve their goal of building a new, more efficient headquarters. The new building’s reduced footprint and efficient use of space allows the American Red Cross (ARC) to commit more dollars to what they do best: always being there in times of need. Flexible training rooms, a community center, teaming areas, local office spaces, and huddle spaces encapsulate the programs within the headquarters, creating an environment that promotes interaction where employees and volunteers feel energized and accommodated. Employees are not assigned desks or specific work spaces so the design of the facility is very flexible and adaptable. Amenities include a rooftop terrace that creates a respite and wellness destination, and a coffee house that connects and creates community.
The building is extremely sustainable, with the exterior wrapped in red brick, seamlessly blending in with the surrounding architectural aesthetic. The headquarters has large windows that welcome natural light creating a community-oriented atmosphere and providing views of the surrounding neighborhood of downtown Indianapolis. In addition, a key branding focal point is incorporated on the interior corridor that displays historical Red Cross artifacts, local to Indianapolis. The iconic, ARC-branded “red” is carried throughout the headquarters. The American Red Cross new Indiana Regional Headquarters is the first Red Cross facility to reflect new design standards developed for the organization by Perkins + Will.
Photography: © James Steinkamp