The Artsgarden and Visitor Information Center
The Artsgarden is owned and managed by the Arts Council of Indianapolis. It hosts many cultural events in this unique seven stories tall glass dome that sits suspended over the intersection of Illinois and Washington Streets. The structure also hosts the city's Visitor Information Center. The Artsgarden has featured a realm of performance art, including musical showcases. Its unique design sets it apart from its surroundings, making it as visually recognizable as the art events it houses.
Backstory and Context
The Indianapolis Artsgarden is a glassed dome spanning the intersection of Washington and Illinois streets in downtown Indianapolis, Indiana. It serves not only as a pedestrian connector between the Circle Centre Mall and nearby buildings but also as a venue for the display and performance of artistic and musical works (more than 300 performances take place in the Artsgarden each year). Also, the Artsgarden houses the Cultural Concierge, who provides local arts and cultural information, maps, and visitor guides. The structure, including the walkways connecting it to the adjacent buildings, is owned and operated by the Arts Council of Indianapolis.
The Artsgarden was designed by Ehrenkrantz Eckstut & Kuhn Architects who, also designed the adjacent Circle Centre Mall. Blackburn Architects collaborated on the design and execution. The $12 million costs were funded by Lilly Endowment.
The floor of the Artsgarden stands 17 feet above the intersection. A series of arched steel trusses create a graduated set of glassed vaults, the tallest of which is 75 feet above the floor and 95 feet above the street. The design yields a total free-span length of 110 feet within the dome. A total of 32,000 square feet of glass is used in the structure to give it an airy, open feel. The entire dome is set on two pairs of 185-foot plate girders that diagonally span the intersection.
When initially constructed in 1995, the Artsgarden connected the second level of Circle Centre Mall on the southeast corner of the intersection with an upper level of the Claypool Courts on the northwest corner, while stairways provided access to the ground-level sidewalks on the northeast and southwest corners. In 2006, the Conrad Indianapolis was built on the site of the small park that had been on the northeast corner, and the stairway there was replaced with a direct connection to the hotel. In 2011 construction was started on a connector to the 16-story PNC Center and Hyatt Regency hotel complex on the southwest corner. The owners of the complex in 1995 declined to help pay for the connector. In 2010, an agreement was reached to split the $1.2 million cost, allowing the fulfillment of the original concept of the Artsgarden. The connector was completed in January 2012
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