Indianapolis, IN

University of Notre Dame

Individual Studio Project

Fall 2007

Project designed and drafted in AutoCAD and printed on three 22x30 inch water color plates. Presentation rendered by hand with watercolors. 


Completed in the fall of 2007, this project explored the design and development of a unique     urban block for a 250 seat civic theater in downtown Indianapolis.  Situated along the Indianapolis Canal Walk, across the water from the Indiana Historical Society, and adjacent to a city parking garage, the unique size of the site, 400’x80’, and steep slope were perhaps the biggest challenges for this project, providing the opportunity to program interior and exterior spaces while adhering to ADA requirements.  

Site Development
Several factors influenced the design and development of the theater plan--the constraints of the narrow lot, the change in grade, the utilization of the water front amenity, and the space requirements associated with proper theater design and acoustics. Placement of the building across from the Historical Society preserved and strengthened the urban context of West Ohio Street by creating a public plaza with pedestrian access to the waterway in front of the theater entrance.  The theater house was positioned perpendicular to the main entrance and parallel to the canal, creating a large, multi-purpose gathering space and outdoor terrace at the house rear, serviced by the kitchen and concession area behind.  Administrative functions, actor dressing areas, a green room, theater storage, set preparation, and mechanical systems took advantage of the site slope and were located in the basement.  An outdoor amphitheater and park occupy the remainder of the site and service and loading functions are concealed along the alley that runs the length of the lot.  

Local context and character played a major role in the exterior design of the theater as the red brick and Indiana limestone exterior complement the neighboring Historical Society and express civic function.  Theater design and articulation was observed through on-site visits of local theaters as well as precedent studies including the Court Theater in New York City which was the inspiration for the theater marquee.