Columbus, Indiana, is a “tower city” marked by vertical elements that encourage a viewer to direct their gaze upward. 49262 respects and references this verticality without replicating the same proportions. The object meets the earth with sparse perforations that grow in size and density as the height increases. The object blurs and then fades into the sky, creating a gradient between material and space.
Alex DeKemper, Bryce Derhammer, Colby Cline, Jenna Hoch, Jennifer Pease, Jordan Duke, Joseph Koslow, Kenna Gibson, Kyle Miles, Lindsey Kurucz, Maggie Pendergast, Meghan Miller, Natalie Broton, Reva Derhammer, Tony Shupe, Tyler Bracht, and Zander Franklin
Edwards Electrical & MechanicalBSU College of Architecture and Planning In-Situ FundBSU College of Architecture and Planning Immersive Learning Mini-GrantDonald James Kustoms
Built 40 years apart, Lincoln Elementary School by Gunnar Birkerts in 1967 and Central Middle School by Perkins and Will built in 2007 share the same site: a large block that extends east along Fifth Street from Pearl to Chestnut Streets and north towards Eighth Street. Far more than cozy neighbors, these buildings also refer to prior buildings and sites. Whereas the simple, sunken geometric plan of Lincoln Elementary evokes the clear organization of Saarinen’s Irwin Conference Center, Central Middle School departs from glass-box corporate modernism in similar ways as does Kevin Roche John Dinkeloo Associates’ Cummins Corporate Office Building.
Laser-cut perforated sheet steel over CNC-milled plywood frame.
The design process of 49262 included physical prototyping as well as digital modelling to allow for the complex problem-solving needed to create the interplay of curving shapes and parallel lines. Like the pattern of a garment, the complex shapes of the panels had to be tailored carefully to achieve the billowing curves of the inner and outer skins once the flat steel was bent into shape. Students worked with fabricators outside the university to produce more than 50 unique laser-cut steel panels. The rectangular holes—
49262 of them give the piece its name— had to be carefully aligned to create smoothly ascending lines. Students built the plywood inner frame which joins the two steel skins, negotiating the connections between precision-cut steel and the more flexible wood elements. A consultant who ordinarily paints custom hot-rods helped the team select just the right paint to achieve bright, saturated colors.