Posts tagged with "Indiana":

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The entire town of Story, Indiana, is up for sale

According to Fox, the entire town of Story, Indiana, is up for sale—although, the "town" isn't much more than a small collection of historic buildings that the current owner has fixed up for modern use. The focus of the town, founded in 1851, is the old general store, which Rick Hofstetter has turned into the Story Inn, a bed and breakfast. Hofstetter bought the town in 1999 but wants to sell it to someone younger who will maintain it in for the future. Last year, the California town of Cerro Gordo was sold for $1.4 million. Situated in the Brown County State Park, the town is probably most fit for tourism, or perhaps a Westworld-style amusement park. Interested buyers can contact Hofstetter for terms of sale.
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OLIN designing a 400-acre waterfront park for Southern Indiana

OLIN has been tapped to design a 400-acre park along the northern shore of the Ohio River in southern Indiana. Set within a swath of waterfront long-occupied by landfill and industrial facilities, the future park will give local residents a much-needed connection with the river and its history, while boosting the area’s link to Louisville, Kentucky. Though no design details have been released yet, OLIN partner Lucinda Sanders said the plan, spearheaded by the River Heritage Conservancy, will tie into both sides of the Ohio River. In doing this, the park will serve 1.2 million residents within a 30-mile radius, including those living in the adjacent Indiana towns of Jeffersonville, Clarksville, and New Albany. A slew of brownfield sites, landfills, wetlands, and river camps currently encompass the massive parcel of land, which also sits within a FEMA 100-year floodplain and is bounded by a large levee that was built after a devastating flood in 1937. Sanders said OLIN will pay homage to the river and the site’s complex past. “We have a lot to work with here,” she said. “This park is already a 21st-century park in every way, shape, and form due to the conditions that are presently there.” After investigating the entirety of the site, the design team will intervene with a major remediation effort and then integrate a landscape design that will call attention to its unique context, while also acting as a buffer against future flooding. In a statement, Sanders said the park won’t be “just a public amenity, but...a purveyor of resilience. The mighty Ohio River creates the awe of this site. But it also has to be given the respect it deserves.” “You’ve got this amazing quantity of land situated within an urban environment that’s also lying in a severe flood zone,” Sanders told AN. “The fact that it’s also been so highly manipulated through the abuses of human activity, and that it contains a rich history for the region make it incredibly compelling.” When complete, the parkland will tie residents to one another and to the abundant natural and historical resources that populate the region. It will sit downstream from the Falls of the Ohio State Park and the original home of George Rogers Clark, a Revolutionary War hero. It will also be a key element of the new Ohio River Greenway, a seven-mile linear park that’s currently under construction. On a larger scale, the parkland will connect southern Indiana with the Louisville region’s vast park system, much of which was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted. OLIN’s design will link people to the Big Four Bridge, an old railroad truss bridge that reopened to the public as a pedestrian and bicycle throughway in 2013, and allow them to cross over into the River City. According to Sanders, OLIN is eager to dive head-on into the challenging project thanks to such widespread local support. “This community knows great parks, and they know great design,” she said. “We see a tremendous ambition in the expansion of this regional park network and are excited by the possibilities.” OLIN hopes to unveil ideas for the site after conducting a thorough analysis with local collaborators over the next nine months.
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People aren’t using Kentucky’s new $1.3 billion bridge and highway system

To some cross-country travelers, Louisville, Kentucky, is considered the gateway to the East. For Southerners, it serves as a transition into the Midwest. From whichever direction you approach the city, it’s a metropolitan area that grants access to other major cities like St. Louis, Nashville, Cincinnati, and Pittsburgh. But it’s not just a pivotal bypass, it’s also a place where people actually live. As the symbolic southern border for Indiana, it’s home to tens of thousands of drivers who cross the Ohio River every day for work and play, making Louisville’s four major bridges vital to supporting the economies of two separate states.  Over the last decade, Kentucky and Indiana spent $1.3 billion on a 12-lane highway widening project that spliced through several new and old neighborhoods in downtown Louisville in an effort to ease congestion that’s long plagued commuters. The plan was part of the massive Ohio River Bridges Project that rehabilitated the I-65/John F. Kennedy Bridge and built out the new, cable-stayed Abraham Lincoln Bridge that stretches northbound over the Ohio River. According to Streetsblog, the project was critical to Louisville’s growth, but since officially reopening in late 2016, the Kennedy Bridge has proven of little use to drivers.  Per a post-construction study released by the State of Indiana, traffic has fallen 49 percent on the Kennedy bridge, which requires drivers to pay up to a $4 toll. Traffic has subsequently increased by 75 percent on the nearby US 31 Clark Memorial Bridge, a 90-year-old piece of infrastructure that’s completely free.  It’s no surprise that people are essentially boycotting the billion-dollar “transportation boondoggle,” as one local urbanist called it. The project received wide criticism from the start. Streetsblog reported that in 2013 a grassroots group got 11,000 people to sign a petition in support of tearing down the highway instead of expanding it. But with backing from two state governments, it was eventually built. Taxpayers will be paying for the project until 2053.  The result is a half-used bridge and a messy mixture of reconstructed roadway known as Spaghetti Junction. Louisville's crisscrossed 64, 65, 264, and 71 interstates were always tricky to navigate and still are despite this recent update. Throughout construction, thirty-three acres of urban forest and 30 storefronts in mostly minority neighborhoods were destroyed. Historic buildings were also leveled for the revamped highway system. In spite of plowing through these surrounding communities, the project has received national accolades. Louisvillians lament that new highways won’t solve the city's congestion problems, though the increased number of options to pass through the city are a bonus for anyone who doesn’t wish to make a pitstop on their way somewhere bigger and better. It’s a classic, tragic story that’s hurt many American cities suffering from mid-century highway build-outs. Some are making concerted efforts to replace aging infrastructure with beautiful boulevards and walkable, shared streets, but others aren't thinking as clearly about how to keep people in town, as opposed to letting them drive on by. Kentucky’s busiest bridge, the Sherman Minton, sits further outside downtown than its counterparts. As the city’s only toll-free link to Indiana, it sees 90,000 drivers per day. The 56-year-old structure is slated to begin a $90 million rehabilitation project in 2021. Time will tell whether or not its partial or full closure during construction will force people to start crossing the newer structures that spew out of the city’s core. The Indiana Department of Transportation and the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet just ended a public input period to figure out next steps. A recommendation will be made next fall.
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Jesus, Mary, and Joseph put in ICE detention by Indianapolis church

Overnight, a church in Indianapolis made headlines with a bold message regarding America's current zero-tolerance immigration policy. Christ Church Cathedral, a 161-year-old episcopal institution located in the heart of Indy's downtown at Monument Circle, put up a display on their lawn showcasing the statues of Mary, Joseph, and Jesus fenced inside a cage topped with barbed wire. The image calls attention to idea of The Holy Family as refugees seeking asylum from Egypt. In a statement released this morning, the church announced that the display is part of their #EveryFamilyisHoly campaign, which is designed to bring awareness to the immigrant family separations happening at the US-Mexico border. The church first revealed the display on Twitter at 1:12 a.m. with the caption: “On our lawn tonight we placed The Holy Family...in #ICE detention.” In addition to the display, the church placed a banner on their grounds that reads #EveryFamilyisHoly and the equivalent in Spanish, #CadaFamiliaEsSagrada. “The Holy Family today calls us to stand with all families seeking safety and a future for their children,” said the church's Dean and Rector Steve Carlsen in the press release. “We will not stand by while children are being taken from their parents, and families are being taken from our communities and organizations.” Church officials haven’t specified exactly when the display will come down, but they’ve suggested it could remain up as long as families are detained.
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Mónica Ponce de León and Oyler Wu Collaborative are among 2018 ACADIA Award winners

ACADIA, or the Association for Computer Aided Design in Architecture, established the ACADIA Awards of Excellence to recognize outstanding individuals and practices that think critically about the impact and possibilities of computer-aided design. This year, the ACADIA Awards recipients, including Mónica Ponce de León and Oyler Wu Collaborative, will present their work at the conference titled Recalibration: On Imprecision and Infidelity at the Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City from October 18–20. Dean of Princeton University School of Architecture Mónica Ponce de León won the Teaching Award of Excellence. Ponce de León is a Venezuelan-American architect who is also a renowned educator. She is the founding principal of MPdL Studio, which has officesin New York, Boston, and Ann Arbor. Prior to her deanship at Princeton, she was dean of University of Michigan’s Taubman College and a professor at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design (GSD). The awards committee commended her for the “integration of digital technologies into architectural education.” Jenny Wu and Dwayne Oyler, partners at Oyler Wu Collaborative, were awarded with the Digital Practice Award of Excellence. The L.A.-based, award-winning firm is widely recognized for its expertise in material research and digital fabrication. The firm is known for projects such as The Exchange in Columbus, IN, the 2013 Beijing Biennale installation named The Cube, and their installations and pavilions with SCI-Arc. The partners are both currently teaching at SCI-Arc and Harvard GSD. Other awards included the Innovative Academic Program Award of Excellence, given to the Institute of Advanced Architecture Catalonia; the Innovative Research Award of Excellence bestowed upon NVIDIA robotics researcher Dr. Madeline Gannon; and the Society Award of Excellence won by Association for Robots in Architecture co-founders Sigrid Brell-Cokcan and Johannes Braumann. Check out the complete list of winners here.
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Indiana University architecture program to inhabit SOM modernist landmark

When the local newspaper in Columbus, Indiana no longer needed its landmark headquarters building, completed in 1971 by Myron Goldsmith of Skidmore Owings and Merrill (SOM), the future of the building became unclear. Rumors swirled, but eventually the perfect local partner—the new Indiana University (IU) M.Arch program—pulled through to take over the structure, which was designated a National Historic Landmark in 2012. The program—which is part of the IU School of Art, Architecture + Design in and will be named after Columbus native and legendary industrialist J. Irwin Miller— will begin its first year in fall 2018 with an expected 20 students. Studios and classes will be hosted in the former Republic newspaper building where printing presses once whizzed through the night in plain view of the downtown streets. IU President Michael McRobbie also announced the endowment of a full-time professorship for the M.Arch program, which is intended to draw talent to the city. "The generous gift from the president and first lady reflects their continued commitment to the School of Art, Architecture + Design," Peg Faimon, dean of the school, said in a statement. "Their support for the J. Irwin Miller Architecture Program will help attract world-class faculty to what is an exciting new academic program that will provide an outstanding education and increased opportunities to Indiana University students." The J. Irwin Miller Architecture Program is partnered with the Columbus Architectural Archives and the Institute for Coalition Building of the Columbus Education Coalition and builds on the IU Center for Art and Design Columbus, which has been operating in the city since 2011.
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Columbus, Indiana…Don’t call it a comeback

Columbus, Indiana, is known for its legacy of midcentury, late modern, and postmodern architecture, most of which was commissioned by industrialist J.I. Miller and his pals in the 1950s, 60s , and 70s. While it is true that Miller is a “Midwest Medici” and  hugely influential on the town’s success, it is best to understand the town’s design legacy not as a series of architectural “gems” that mark the passage of time like a museum—eight National Historical Landmarks and a collection of over 50 notable works by important architects—but rather as the embodiment of a living system of socio-political values that have come to define the town. It is often said that all political systems are most successful at a small scale: Their progress is most palpable and their systems less corruptible. In Columbus, this can be seen in the town’s almost-impeccable history of public-private partnerships, where a group of leading businesspeople and community leaders realized what could be seen as the American industrial capitalist dream—and along with it—at least a part of the modernist architectural project. Recently, a group of patrons (who of course know Miller and his legacy) and world-class arts administrators have come together to continue this tradition of design and community. This exhibition, called Exhibit Columbus, is a town-wide festival of design, including five large-scale architectural installations by winners of the inaugural “J. Irwin and Xenia Miller Prize;” a series of small design interventions along the main downtown commercial corridor; and several pavilions designed by local universities and high school students. This could be read as another “biennial,” or “Design Week” alongside the growing list: Seoul, Venice, Oslo, Chicago, Lisbon, Vienna, Eindhoven, Ljubljana, New York, London, Miami, Mexico City, Shenzhen, Beijing, Stockholm, and Milan. However, the first biannual Exhibit Columbus proved to be something different. For starters, the original name “Columbus Design Biennale” was abandoned because, according to Director of Landmark Columbus Richard McCoy, "we wanted to put Columbus’s history on display rather than explore the current trends in design." This perfectly demonstrates how the primary focus of the event is not on engaging global discourse, but continuing and re-aestheticizing the design culture of the place by connecting the residents of the town. This might prove to be the best lesson from Exhibit Columbus: How to engage with the heritage of a place while pushing forward cutting-edge design. In this context, the word “continuing” is particularly important here, as it would be easy to look at this as a “revival” or a “renaissance,” where the legacy of Mr. Miller is exhumed from the grave by a new generation of design-minded leaders. However, the truth is that this mentality never really left, it has been influencing the town quietly ever since the first notable building was built. Columbus is an exception. It has a thriving economy with the highest percentage of its output as foreign exports, as much as 50 percent, according to the Washington Post. It has not seen the Rust Belt-ification of many of its neighboring towns, because local Fortune 200 company Cummins Inc., an engine manufacturer, has somehow managed to remain an industrial giant in the American Midwest and abroad. (It is said that Mr. Miller was the first American to go to China when it opened up trade with the west.) Because the town never descended into a post-industrial dystopia, strong ties to the community and the spirit of collaboration and design excellence also never went away. The underlying phenomena of “The Columbus Way,” a community-based collaborative spirit, was always there—there was never a lack of leadership in the town, or a strong sense of community. It just needed to be re-aestheticized. This idea of continuation is best seen in one of the Miller Prize installations. Oyler Wu’s Exchange is sited at the Irwin Conference Center, which is currently owned by Cummins and used for corporate hospitality, but was originally completed in 1954 by Eero Saarinen and Associates as a flagship branch of the Irwin Union Bank and Trust. The one-story banking hall pointed toward a new type of modernist space unbound by walls and conventional banking architecture, such as cages for the tellers. Instead the new open-planned bank was bound by glass walls. It would be easy to stop here and draw a connection between the white, contemporary forms of the 2017 installation—digital fabrication aesthetics made in L.A. and assembled onsite in Columbus—and the glassy Saarinen bank building, and read it as a sort of new language for Columbus: Less midcentury modern and more digital tectonics as a metaphor for a small Midwestern hamlet turned globalized 21st century networked town. However, there is more to the story than that. In fact, the entire site is less about Saarinen than about a series of urban encounters and transactions that have left that plaza the perfect place to manifest and aestheticize the continuation of the community spirit of Columbus. Oyler Wu chose to build its pavilion around a series of three decommissioned drive-thru bank teller canopies, citing the legacy of Saarinen and “Euclidean geometries, solid-void relationships, and tectonics.” However, these canopies were not designed by Eero Saarinen, but rather by local architect Frank Adams in the 1980s. In fact, when the bank was completed in 1954, the site next to it was still Harrison Motors, an auto dealership. Later, as part of a 1966 Dan Kiley–led landscape extension, three manned teller booths were added in the adjacent lot after it was purchased from the car dealership. It wasn’t until 1973 that a three-story office building was completed by Saarinen’s protégé Kevin Roche of Kevin Roche John Dinkeloo and Associates. In the 1980s, the teller booths became pneumatic drive-up stations and the Adams canopies were added. A later renovation was completed by Columbus architect Todd Williams. Considering this more complicated history of the site, it makes the most recent addition to the site, the Oyler Wu pavilion, even more poignant. It is not just Oyler Wu and Saarinen in a clean past-present relationship. It is a literal and figural continuation of myriad complex issues and histories in the town. It—and Exhibit Columbus—is an extension and re-aestheticization of something that never left. The canopies, walls, and benches of The Exchange almost grow organically out of the existing structures, continuing the evolution of the site from an autoyard to a car dealership to a bank to a conference center and then finally to a small urban parklet. Not only does the form continue to complete the implied volumes of the canopies, but it updates the use of said structures into a viable place for urban respite along a main pedestrian thoroughfare. It is certainly a new aesthetic for Columbus, as Oyler Wu’s style comes through in the welded steel forms that mingle with CNC bent steel tubing. Transparent volumes capture space that is suspended in the air, allowing us to see what was already there, but in a new frame—like Exhibit Columbus itself. So what is the impact of Exhibit Columbus and its continuation? For the locals, it is about education and a re-engagement with the design heritage and legacy. But the exhibition can't escape being relevant globally, and it has much to offer as a living, urban laboratory. If we look to some of the more forward-looking design events: The 2017 Shenzhen Bi-city Biennale of Urbanism\Architecture and its examination of the urban villages in the hyper-local yet hyper-global context of Shenzhen, The Istanbul Design Biennial 2018 and its questioning of the biennial as a site of education, and the Open Design School at Matera European Capital of Culture 2019, where the curators will try to start an academy that they hope will harness the after-effects of a global cultural event in order to invigorate one of the poorest regions of Europe. Some may not want to admit it, but Columbus is now back in its rightful place in discussion with these large global cities, as it has been historically for both design and business reasons. Today, Exhibit Columbus shares DNA with all of the aforementioned projects. How does it uniquely engage with the local community? What will be its immediate and long-term impact on the community, the economy, and the students of the town? What can we learn from Columbus’s attitude about design and community? What new forms of knowledge might arise, or what new forms of design can come from such an important and rich context? What are the new challenges Columbus faces as its demographics change and what opportunities are there to incorporate these new identities into the heritage of the place? Exhibit Columbus is positioned to be a unique voice among many voices in the cultural events sector. Based on the reactions from the community at the opening, and the sustained efforts of McCoy and his team over the duration of the exhibit, it has revived the design heritage of Columbus. “There was a hum that emerged from the exhibition,” Columbus resident Mary Harmon told AN, “What I have really loved is that there was something for all ages, interests ..........ranging from tots to the elderly and those with a knowledge, curiosity and fondness for art and architecture to those who could care less, but felt happier just walking by and seeing the people out and about.” Of course, it can still be improved upon, and it will be a site to watch for those interested in how cultural production can interface with a local community, and even become an integral part of it and its mission to make a place better through architecture and design. Thanks to Will Miller and Enrique Ramirez for their editorial support on this essay.
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Furniture designer Jonathan Nesci on his move to modernist mecca Columbus, Indiana

You might say that furniture designer Jonathan Nesci is doing things in reverse. Rather than starting his career in a small town and ending with his work selling at auction in the big city, he is making a go at high design in a small community. After working at the Wright design auction house in Chicago, Nesci made the seemingly unconventional move away from the furniture mecca to a small town in south-central Indiana. But that small town was none other than Columbus, Indiana, the modernist playground. Nesci sat down with AN Midwest Editor Matthew Messner to discuss.

The Architect’s Newspaper: Why the move from Chicago to Columbus, Indiana?

Jonathan Nesci: Primarily, my move was a family decision. During the financial mess of 2008–2009, my time at Wright had come to an end and I felt like we needed a fresh start. I felt like I could really work from anywhere, and the thought of my kids getting a chance to grow up in a place like Columbus was and continues to be very appealing. This is not meant to ignore my obvious connection to the architecture, but on a whole the appeal of Columbus is very broad.

Have you found living surrounded by many masterpieces of modernist architecture to be beneficial to your work?

It’s undeniable. It’s energizing to see the Henry Moore sculpture at different times of day, or catch a different view of an Eero Saarinen project that I hadn’t seen before. So much of my design work is informed by the past; I feel very fortunate to get to interact with these places on a regular basis. It’s also encouraging to see some great examples of the built environment really working for people. Architecture and design can make a difference and are doing so here. Not just for me but for an entire community. That’s really powerful.

You are often associated with the architecture community, especially through collaborations and exhibitions. What do you take from those formal or informal relationships?

I’m eternally grateful for the connections to my peers in the design and architecture community. These relationships inform and inspire me. Columbus is my creative island, but it’s important for me to travel and see other ways of working and learn from my contemporaries. I have so much respect for work that rises above the norm, and I admire those who are pioneers in this industry. I feel like my world is all about connections and dialogue.

Your work is directly tied to the manufacturing process. Could you talk about your relationship to the people who make it?

My hope is that the relationship between designer and producer makes both of us better at what we do. This collaboration pushes design and fabrication further, and it’s this fusion of ideas that excites me. I guess the most significant change since moving to Columbus is developing a great relationship with numerous local firms, specifically Noblitt Fabricating. It’s rewarding and beneficial to see multiple projects through with the same team.

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Early midwestern modern landmark will be restored

Atop a tall sand dune overlooking the southern shore of Lake Michigan sits one of the last remnants of the 1933 Chicago Century of Progress World’s Fair. In severe need of restoration, the House of Tomorrow, designed by Chicago architect George Fred Keck, is set to receive an update from a team of Chicago firms.

The announcement by Indiana Landmarks named bKL Architecture as the architecture and interior design lead. Bauer Latoza Studio will offer historic preservation services and Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates will be the structural engineer. Willoughby Engineering will handle mechanical, electrical, and plumbing engineering, and HJKessler Associates will act as the sustainability consultant.

In fall 2016, the National Trust for Historic Preservation and Indiana Landmarks launched a $2.5-million campaign to restore the house after the Trust named it a National Treasure. At the time of the fair, the house was often referred to by the media as “America’s First Glass House,” and it was a beacon of modern technology for the World’s Fair’s 39 million visitors. The glass curtain walls came nearly 20 years before both Philip Johnson’s 1949 Glass House and Mies van der Rohe’s 1951 Farnsworth House, which sits only 90 miles directly to the west. Giving a view of an optimistic future, the home focused on how science and technology could improve everyday life. 

The house’s innovations include an “iceless” refrigerator, the first-ever General Electric dishwasher, and copious amounts of glass for passive solar heating. Keck would later go on to design 300 other passive solar houses, mostly in the Chicago area, throughout his long career, but the House of Tomorrow remains a standout for its uncanny design.

The 12-sided home radiates from a central hub that contains mechanical equipment. Spoke-like steel girders cantilever from the center, supporting the second and third-floor concrete slabs. This unusual structural system allows for an open floor plan, which is also rare for its time. The plan for the restoration includes removing deteriorated surfaces and revealing this steel framework. The house’s iconic glass facade will be replaced with contemporary smart glass.

The story of the House of Tomorrow after the fair is almost as eccentric as the house itself. After the closing of the World’s Fair, a Chicago developer named Robert Bartlett commissioned a fleet of barges and trucks to move the house and four other houses from the exposition to their current resting place in Beverly Shores, Indiana. Bartlett’s plan was to develop a vacation hotspot for Chicago. While this may not have worked out for him, they have become a pilgrimage point for architects and beachgoers alike as part of the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.

Though listed in the National Registry of Historic Places in the 1980s, the houses had fallen into severe disrepair by the 1990s. In order to save them, Indiana Landmarks was able to lease the homes from the National Parks Service and sublease four of them to individuals. Those sub-lessees were obliged to restore them, at their own expense, in exchange for long-term residency. The cost of restoration for the four houses was in excess of one million each, and the House of Tomorrow’s atypical materials and construction meant Indiana Landmarks would have to do the work itself.

But, with the naming of the restoration team and fundraising, the future of the House of Tomorrow is bright.

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Indiana University plans to move its building-sized instrument, the Brutalist Metz Carillon

Indiana University has announced plans to move its often-overlooked Brutalist Metz Carillon. The move will take the massive instrument from a quiet corner of campus to a location at the center of campus. In its current location, there is no comfortable space for an audience, leading to few performances by the uncommon instrument. Carillons are bell instruments usually built in towers. There are only 600 in the world, and about 60 in the United States, mostly on university campuses. They are played by striking a keyboard of stick-like keys with one’s fists. With at least 23 cup-shaped bronze bells, they are able to play chords and melodies. Carillons are generally considered to be the second largest musical instruments, after large pipe organs, weighing in at as much as 100 tons. The Metz Carillon was built in 1970 and currently consists of 61 bells. Though it sits at the highest point on campus, over the years it has not been used as much as the university has hoped. With the ability to play five octaves, it can play much of the music composed for carillons. With the move and renovation, four new bells will be added to the tower, increasing that range and elevating the instrument to a grand carillon, one of only 30 in the world. The Indiana University Jacobs School of Music is also working on reviving the carillon program to include performances by distinguished carillonneurs from around the world. "The upgrade and relocation of the Metz Carillon as part of IU's bicentennial celebration revitalizes and renews the Metz Foundation's original vision for the carillon that began during the IU sesquicentennial celebration in 1970," said IU President Michael A. McRobbie in a press release. "I am delighted that this superb instrument will once again become a central part of musical life on the IU campus. It will open up a whole new area of music where our students, faculty, staff and visitors will have a wonderful new opportunity to experience the renown of our talented Jacobs School of Music faculty and students."
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Indiana moves to revoke consumer solar energy incentives

Ironically coinciding with an announcement that Chicago plans to utilize more renewable energy, a bill has passed the Indiana legislature eliminating much of the financial incentive for individuals to install solar panels. The bill was pushed by Indiana’s investor-owned utility companies, who fear the growing popularity of the solar industry. Solar energy only accounts for less than 1% of the state’s power, but quickly falling solar panel prices—paired with their increased efficiency—is leading to their growing popularity. The bill is now in the hands of Governor Eric Holcomb. Currently, the state has four main solar energy incentives: a net metering program, the Renewable Energy Property Tax Exemption, the Indiana Sales Tax Incentive for Electrical Generating Equipment, and the Indiana Income Tax Deduction for Solar-Powered Roof Vents or Fans. The bill is specifically targeted at the net metering program. Energy customers that participate in net metering receive credit on their energy bills for the solar energy that they produce but do not consume. The bill would limit the rate at which credits are issued for net metering. Everyone who installed solar panels before 2018 would continue to receive credits at the current rate for the next 30 years. Those who install panels before 2018 and 2022 would only be able to collect until 2032. The 11 cents per kilowatt/hour credit would also be reduced to 3 cents per kilowatt/hour. Some are saying that the bill is unnecessary tough because the net metering program will only be in effect until over 1% of the state's energy comes from alternative energy sources, such as wind or solar. Others believe that the bill is directly aimed at encouraging consumers to buy into community solar programs, which the utility companies own. Community solar programs work by leasing solar panels, which are part of larger solar arrays, to consumers. This allows customers to use solar energy without having panels on their own roof, but it also keeps the utility companies in control of energy production. The bill was introduced by State Senator Brandt Hershman. The Senate voted 37-11 to pass the bill with changes made by the House.
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Indiana University Bloomington to launch new Master of Architecture program

Starting in the fall of 2018, there will be a new Master of Architecture degree program in the Midwest. Indiana University Bloomington (IU) will offer the degree from the campus's new School of Art and Design. The primary focus of the program will be in Columbus, Indiana, the modernist playground located south of Indianapolis. “The addition of the new Master of Architecture degree program, together with the new program in intelligent systems engineering, will contribute enormously to IU’s efforts to create and sustain a culture of ‘building and making’ on our Bloomington campus,” IU President Michael A. McRobbie said in a press release. “We view this culture as being essential and transformative for IU, enabling us to maximize the university’s potential for developing its inventions and innovations for the economic benefit of all Hoosiers. At the same time, architecture is a superb complement to IU's outstanding strengths in the arts and humanities." Working with the Columbus community, Columbus Architectural Archive, and the Institute for Coalition Building of the Columbus Education Coalition, an initial class of 20 students will design with the town as a backdrop and site of research. The program will also build on the coursework already available at the IU Center for Art and Design Columbus, which opened in downtown Columbus in 2011. Before the launch of a new Master of Architecture program, an agreement was reached with Ball State University, which is the closest school to offer undergraduate and graduate architecture degrees. The agreement recognizes that the IU program will be distinct in its approach and curriculum from Ball State, and outlines how the two schools can collaborate in the future. "The architectural heritage of Columbus will provide our Master of Architecture students with an incredibly rich and innovative educational experience," said Peg Faimon, dean of the School of Art and Design. "This, coupled with the wide array of opportunities in the School of Art and Design and IU Bloomington, will make this program unique in its ability to educate a new generation of architects ready to take on the challenges of the 21st century." The School of Art and Design at IU Bloomington is young as well, having only launched last year as part of the College of Art and Sciences. The schools focus so far has combined programs of study from the Department of Studio Art and the Department of Apparel Merchandising and Interior Design. The new Master of Architecture program has been approved by the Indiana Commission for Higher Education, a major step in its realization.