The J. Irwin and Xenia S. Miller Prize Competition honors two great patrons of architecture, art, and design by furthering their mission to make Columbus the best community of its size. Ten finalists participated in the 2016 symposium and presented proposals for temporary installations that respond to iconic sites on Fifth Street. Five prize-winning designs were selected by the jury to transform the cityscape and spark new conversations about Columbus’ design heritage during the exhibition.
Another Circle by Aranda\Lasch at Mill Race ParkPresenting sponsor: Upland Brewing Company
Anything can happen in the woods by Plan B Architecture & Urbanism at Cummins Corporate Office BuildingPresenting sponsor: Cummins Inc.
Conversation Plinth by IKD at Cleo Rogers Memorial LibraryPresenting sponsor: Elwood Staffing
The Exchange by Oyler Wu Collaborative at Irwin Conference Center
Wiikiaami by studio:indigenous at First Christian ChurchPresenting sponsor: Haddad Foundation
Another Circle by Aranda\Lasch responds to the strong formal and architectural elements already present in Mill Race Park, using 1,100 pieces of salvaged Indiana limestone to tie together the round lake, the People Trail, and the river with a new 3.5-acre stone circle. While the design hearkens back to ancient henges and modern earthworks, its primary goal is to articulate fields of activity for contemporary park visitors. Within the circle, stones are placed, stacked, or arrayed to create a theater and areas for discussion, games, and relaxation: a loose gathering of function inside a scattering of stone.
Plan B imagines the columns of the Cummins Corporate Office Building pergola multiplying to form a kind of urban forest, titled Anything can happen in the woods. The new columns are mirrored as a nod to Roche Dinkeloo’s aesthetic and to reflect their surroundings: green hedges, the busy street, and the Post Office opposite, another Roche Dinkeloo design. Landscape forms — grass-covered mounds that serve as places of relaxation, contemplation, and conversation — punctuate the mirrored woodland, enticing viewers to explore and inhabit a space that is usually passed through or passed by.
IKD’s design for Conversation Plinth takes inspiration from the conversation pit in the Miller House and the plinths that elevate the landmarks immediately surrounding the Cleo Rogers Memorial Library. Encircling the Moore sculpture on the eastern half of the site, large shifting timber discs compose a series of plinths that rise upward towards the west and encourage dynamic circulation around the sculpture, allowing the plaza to be experienced in new ways — even by night, thanks to dramatic lighting. IKD is collaborating with cross-laminated timber (CLT) specialists to develop CLT made from Indiana hardwood by-products, potentially revolutionizing an industry that currently uses softwoods.
Oyler Wu Collaborative’s research into Eero Saarinen’s oeuvre leads them to focus on three key concepts: Euclidean geometries, solid/void relationships, and tectonics. Their design fabricates a new space within the site by completing the geometries implied by three canopies, legacies of the Irwin Conference Center’s history as a drive-up bank. The rectilinear space, defined by the existing canopies and completed by new walls of welded steel — some solid, some sketched in lines or carved away into voids — is enlivened by sophisticated tectonic interplay with embedded objects derived from Oyler Wu’s particular idiom. The resulting complex of canopies, walls, and benches produce new areas of containment and new points of destination.
Inspired by the dwellings of the Myaamia people indigenous to Indiana, Cornelius adorns a walkway leading to First Christian Church with a contemporary “wigwam” — wiikiaami in the Myaamia language — constructed of rebar and copper scales. The swooping conical form is aligned both to the church’s iconic campanile and to mark the autumnal equinox. The copper scales, equally reminiscent of eagle feathers and textile designs, are perforated and patinated to make shifting patterns of sunlight and shade, creating a space for gathering as well as a gateway to Saarinen’s church.