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.

Miller Prize Winner

IKD is an architectural design firm in Boston, Massachusetts, led by Yugon Kim and Tomomi Itakura that explores the intersection of art and architecture, material and making. IKD's philosophy and process are informed by respect for the technical, physical, and economic demands of bringing life to a project. Their work aims to carefully craft and execute projects that elevate the human experience. Notable work includes exhibitions for the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, MA, the Davis Museum at Wellesley College, and the Boston Society of Architects. IKD was awarded the CORE77 Built Environment Award, as well as an honorable mention in Architect magazine’s 2016 R+D awards. IKD recently completed the curation and design of Timber City, a traveling exhibition for the National Building Museum in Washington, DC, that advocates for a return to timber construction in our urban cores.

Material and Fabrication

Conversation Plinth is a demonstration of the value and potential applications of Indiana hardwood Cross Laminate Timber (CLT). CLT is a product that combines multiple species of low-grade Indiana hardwood, which accounts for nearly 60% of hardwood extracted from Indiana forestlands, into an urban building material that is a fireproof, lightweight alternative to steel and concrete.

This installation is part of IKD's two year exploration of the potential development of the hardwood CLT industry in Indiana. It has been made possible through a Wood Innovation Grant awarded by the Unites States Forest Service and is supported by the Indiana Hardwood Lumberman’s Association in partnership with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Indiana mills, and SmartLam.

Fabrication Sponsors

U.S. Forest Service, SmartLam CLT, Benson Wood, Katahdin Engineering, Koetter Woodworking, Pike Lumber, Noblitt Fabricating, Taylor Brothers Construction Co, TPS Industrial Services, Sauter Timber, MyTiCon Timber Connectors, Green LED Lighting Solutions, Indiana Hardwood Lumbermen’s Association, National Hardwood Lumber Association, Clemson University’s Wood Utilization + Design Institute, Louis Joyner Architect, United States Department of Agriculture, Indiana Department of Natural Resources/Division of Forestry, Forest Resources Information.

Miller Prize Site

Cleo Rogers Memorial Library, 1969
I.M. Pei and Partners
536 5th Street

I.M. Pei’s Cleo Rogers Memorial Library sits across from Eliel Saarinen’s First Christian Church. The Carnegie Foundation funded the first library building on this site, a two-story Beaux Arts structure with a curved façade. In the 1950s the growing city sought to completely redesign the site. Completed in 1969, Pei’s library is a two-story structure with a rough Flemish brick façade. The library’s plaza includes Large Arch, a sculpture by Henry Moore that frames views of the surrounding buildings, creating a dialogue with Saarinen’s church.

Columbus is a place where good design is the norm and not the exception. It is a place where design does matter and can make a meaningful impact on everyday lives.

Yugon Kim and Tomomi Itakura