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.
Plan B Architecture & Urbanism is an architectural design and research practice based in New Haven, CT, led by Joyce Hsiang and Bimal Mendis. Their work applies architectural thinking, analysis, and cartographic methods to strategize and reconfigure social, economic, cultural, and political infrastructures. Plan B has exhibited internationally, including the Yale School of Architecture; the Hong Kong Shenzhen Biennale; the Chengdu Architecture Biennale; and the Eye on Earth Summit for world leaders in Abu Dhabi, UAE. Plan B has been the recipient of many awards including the 2013 AIA Latrobe Prize, a Hines Research Grant for Advanced Sustainability in Architecture, and the AIA Upjohn Research Grant. Ongoing projects include a spatial planning strategy for the Maldives and the design of a network of children’s libraries in Mozambique.
Kevin Roche John Dinkeloo and Associates’ Cummins Corporate Office Building (COB) is located on a site rich with Columbus history. An early railroad hub, it saw the building of the Cerealine Mill in the 1870s — which later became home to Cummins Machine Works until 1919. Cummins purchased the land in 1975 for their new corporate headquarters. Completed in 1984, Roche and Dinkeloo’s two-story building features an ivied portico that opens onto a large, urban green space. With its audacious space planning and industrial design and lighting schemes, the COB pointed to new directions in corporate office design.
Tovey Perry Co.
Anything can happen in the woods is a composition of organic and industrial materials. Forty eighteen-foot-tall steel pipes, some weighing up to 900 pounds, were sourced and powder coated by Hope Powder Coating in Indianapolis. This forest of steel is punctuated with living trees from Brown Hill Nursery in Columbus. The grass mounds owe their distinctive shapes to internal grids of hand-cut plywood covered with dirt and live sod. The entire project was a close collaboration between Plan B and their local construction team Tovey Perry Co.