Bottleworks District

Bottleworks District is a massive development underway in downtown Indianapolis. This past weekend I took a tour of the property with Hendricks and their marketing partner Pivot.

In 1931 Coca-Cola built a state-of-the-art bottling facility in Indy. It’s an amazing example of Art Deco architecture. Unfortunately, the property was used primarily as bus storage for Indianapolis Public Schools since 1969. As a result, the condition of the buildings is not what it once was.

Bottleworks Development by Hendricks Commercial Properties, including a West Elm hotel designed by Ratio Architects. In partnership with Pivot Marketing. Images by Zach Dobson.

In 2016, the city sold the 11-acre site to developer Hendricks Commercial Properties. Hendricks is developing the property, an entire city block, into a mix of commercial, retail and housing called Bottleworks District. So, the original administration building will become the first West Elm branded hotel, designed by Ratio Architects. There will also be food vendors, a movie theater, apartment and condo housing, a business incubator and office spaces.

Bottleworks Development by Hendricks Commercial Properties, including a West Elm hotel designed by Ratio Architects. In partnership with Pivot Marketing. Images by Zach Dobson.

There are a lot of amazing details still in place in this building and it’s exciting that Hendricks is working so hard to restore as many of the original pieces as possible. Refurbishing the terra cotta exterior tiles alone will cost $4 million. Bottleworks District is shaping up to be a major destination in Indy and I’m excited to see the results!

Bottleworks Development by Hendricks Commercial Properties, including a West Elm hotel designed by Ratio Architects. In partnership with Pivot Marketing. Images by Zach Dobson.
Bottleworks Development by Hendricks Commercial Properties, including a West Elm hotel designed by Ratio Architects. In partnership with Pivot Marketing. Images by Zach Dobson.
Bottleworks Development by Hendricks Commercial Properties, including a West Elm hotel designed by Ratio Architects. In partnership with Pivot Marketing. Images by Zach Dobson.
Bottleworks Development by Hendricks Commercial Properties, including a West Elm hotel designed by Ratio Architects. In partnership with Pivot Marketing. Images by Zach Dobson.
Bottleworks Development by Hendricks Commercial Properties, including a West Elm hotel designed by Ratio Architects. In partnership with Pivot Marketing. Images by Zach Dobson.
Bottleworks Development by Hendricks Commercial Properties, including a West Elm hotel designed by Ratio Architects. In partnership with Pivot Marketing. Images by Zach Dobson.
Bottleworks Development by Hendricks Commercial Properties, including a West Elm hotel designed by Ratio Architects. In partnership with Pivot Marketing. Images by Zach Dobson.

If you’re into the whole urban scene, check out these other posts fromChicago and Nashville.

Personal Legend Project: Bill Browne

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Bill Browne, Principal/President, Ratio Architects

Bill founded Ratio in 1982 and the firm has gone on to create many iconic Indianapolis buildings such as Bankers Life Fieldhouse and the Indiana State Museum.  In reading Bill’s answers to the questions below, it’s no wonder he and his company have been so successful.  Photographing during a design meeting was a fascinating glimpse into the process.  As someone who works alone most of the time, I enjoyed seeing how a room of people can come together to form one, cohesive idea.

Once again, you’ll notice a husband and wife connection here, as Bill is married to Tiffany Benedict Browne, who was featured in the April 24th post.

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The following set of six questions will be answered by each of the subjects.

1)  Some people call it a “true calling” or their “life’s work.”  In the book The Alchemist, author Paulo Coelho calls it your Personal Legend. What do you consider to be your true calling, or Personal Legend?

Without a doubt, my passion is architecture, as I have always believed my true calling was to be an architect.  I enjoy cities, looking and studying their buildings.  I also enjoy learning the history and evolution of urban places.  It has and continues to consume me.

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2)  When did you first realize that this was your calling?

Oddly, I recall at the age of 10 that I wanted to become an architect.  I am not exactly sure what specifically happened in sixth grade, but something about architecture stuck in my head and has stayed there ever since.  My family would routinely go on driving trips around the city and the state looking at historic sites, and perhaps this triggered it.  Or it could have been simply looking at interesting buildings in pictures that got my attention.  I was always drawn to the fine arts; drawing and singing, so in all likelihood it was a combination of several influences that led me to passionately pursuing a career in architecture.

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3)  People often become completely engrossed, losing track of time or outside concerns while performing tasks related to their calling.  This might be referred to as being “in the zone” or “flow.”  When do you experience this most often?

In some ways I experience this regularly.  I practice the profession daily.  This includes finding design/client opportunities, pursuing them vigorously,  securing the commission, collaborating with my colleagues in their design, seeing it through its construction, and then turning it over to the client. 

I also “chase” new architecture by other architects across the nation, and globe to some extent.  My travels and vacations are rife with architectural tours, finding architectural gems, both historical and new, in very out of the way places, photographing them, learning/studying their details and striving to better understand how this architect solved the client’s desires.  This profession breeds individuals who are so passionate about the work that it is naturally consuming.
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4)  What is the greatest challenge or obstacle you’ve faced in pursuit of your life’s work?

The obstacles have changed during my career.  It is like climbing a ladder.  Early on it was convincing and demonstrating to clients I/we were capable of designing their building and spaces.  Then it was completing the commissions satisfactorily both personally and for the client.  As the firm gained respect then it became the many business challenges of leading and managing a large architectural practice; talent attraction/retention, keeping a full pipeline of work, making a profit to reinvest in the business, and maintaining high quality of design in the work.  Now the challenge is how to stay relevant and authentic as the profession advances itself in the computer age where virtually anything in design seems possible.

Certainly the elusive challenge will always be the pursuit and completion of the “pure piece of architecture”.  An architect has a vision for a building, but the execution of this vision takes many people to realize.  The details are where the architecture comes to life.  This is also where architecture breaks down when it is not executed or constructed properly.  If all of the details of the building vision are executed perfectly, then the pure vision can be achieved.  This is rare indeed.  I am not sure any architect has ever achieved this, although there are some buildings that without a doubt are very close to accomplishing this goal.  This challenge exists as we start and chase this on every new project.

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5)  What has pursuing your Personal Legend taught you?

I can unequivocally state that I enjoy getting up almost every day as I head into my profession.  I love what I do.  It has brought me so much such self-satisfaction and joy.  It has also shown me that I can provide this experience for the colleagues who work with me/us.  

By pursuing my passion, my focus has always been on it and everything else was a result.  Whether it was accolades from the client, peer awards, financial success, or gaining the next commission, by staying true to my passion of creating and producing as high a quality of design for our clients with each project, all of these rewards will fall into place.  Pursing these rewards directly will never result in the same level of accomplishment.

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6)  What piece of advice can you offer to others seeking their true calling?

Pursue your true calling or passion with total abandon and vigor.  Immerse yourself such that it becomes part of your very being.  The reward is hard to describe.
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Are you following your Personal Legend?  Tell us about it in the comments below.

Subscribe to the blog, or add us to your RSS feed to follow along as we post a new set of images each day for the next 30 days.   For background on this project, check out our first post in the series.

 

Personal Legend Project: Tiffany Benedict Browne

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Tiffany Benedict Browne, Author & Historian

On the day I photographed Tiffany, I had the opportunity to witness her enthusiasm for history first-hand.  For part of our time together, I followed her on a tour of the Heslar Naval Armory, which is slated to become a second campus for Herron High School in 2017.  There were many “oohs” and “ahs” as Tiffany saw a multitude of features singular to this building.  The two I found most fascinating were the 4 giant murals in the gym depicting famous naval battles in U.S. history (which the school plans to restore) and the training area…

Walking down the hallway you encounter a door like you’d find in a ship’s hull.  Once you enter, it’s as if you’re inside a ship with all it’s rivets and steel, pipes and controls.  And, almost unbelievably, this entire area could be flooded to simulate a compromised hull.  Whoa!

Tiffany writes articles for various publications and is a historian-for-hire, but her main gig is historicindianapolis.com.  Be sure to follow her site and keep up on all the great stories she uncovers!
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The following set of six questions will be answered by each of the subjects.

1)  Some people call it a “true calling” or their “life’s work.”  In the book The Alchemist, author Paulo Coelho calls it your Personal Legend. What do you consider to be your true calling, or Personal Legend?

Inspiring, connecting and exciting people through sharing Indianapolis history.
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2)  When did you first realize that this was your calling?

After moving to Indianapolis, I didn’t know anyone, but had bought my first house — a Victorian in Herron-Morton Place. I wanted to learn everything; to connect with my new city, neighborhood and home. I had so much fun searching for the stories of my house, my neighbors’ homes and then the neighborhood and city. It was such a fun adventure that I started doing research in my free time for other people. I was volunteering for the neighborhood association in a couple of roles as well; it eventually lead to the idea of what would become HistoricIndianapolis.com.
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3)  People often become completely engrossed, losing track of time or outside concerns while performing tasks related to their calling.  This might be referred to as being “in the zone” or “flow.”  When do you experience this most often?

When I’m playing detective on a building, person, or long-lost Indianapolis event—so usually in a library, archives or online. I get such a charge from reconnecting pieces that have been largely forgotten. It’s also gratifying to hear from people who have moved away but still have an affection for the city or other people who contact us to share how what we have done has added to their life in some way. One reader created a deeper connection with her dying father by reading him stories from our site as a starting point for a dialogue they hadn’t had before. That is awe-inspiring!

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4)  What is the greatest challenge or obstacle you’ve faced in pursuit of your life’s work?

Finding a model that works financially and otherwise. Many of us in the digital space are still trying to figure out how to make that work. We ask readers who value what we do to become voluntary/paying members of our “Booster Club” and also sell sponsorships with businesses. Despite the common misconception, running an online publication is not free. It takes expertise, time, creativity and money to publish our site.
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5)  What has pursuing your Personal Legend taught you?

One of my favorite people, Tony Robbins says “Nothing has any meaning in life except the meaning I give it.” That resonates with me strongly. I think about what I have the honor of doing: digging up stories of the places we pass every day and maybe think nothing about or wonder about. So many things catch your eye when you’re paying attention. We’ve got a big, beautiful city, with so many amazing stories that illustrate the best, worst and everything in between — of humanity, of creativity, innovation, design, gumption — you name it. I LOVE finding little hidden gems, learning every day and the inspiration and connection I feel by hunting down and sharing those stories.
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6)  What piece of advice can you offer to others seeking their true calling?

When you find something that delights and frustrates you; that stretches you and asks you to become more; that captivates and obsesses you, you know you’ve found it. And even if it’s something that you never saw on a list of possible future occupations or job titles, that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth doing. If you have a dream and vision — go make it happen. Anything is possible. If there isn’t a path where you’re headed, get out a machete and carve one. It also helps to surround yourself with supportive people — even if just one or two. I have found it really helpful to hire a consultant to help me bounce ideas or think through things. Having someone help, even if just to advise, is incredibly helpful.
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Are you following your Personal Legend?  Tell us about it in the comments below.

Subscribe to the blog, or add us to your RSS feed to follow along as we post a new set of images each day for the next 30 days.   For background on this project, check out our first post in the series.

 

Can’t Turn Down A Good Shot

After a long day of work, when it’s finally time to go home, I’d imagine that most people just go home.  I doubt any accountants see a tax return on the side of the road they just have to stop and file.

Well, that’s essentially what happens to me with photo opportunities I see.  Like last night I saw this photo from the parking garage of the Embassy Suites downtown after a shoot.  Thanks to my wife for always being understanding of me running behind schedule for this reason.

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Indiana Statehouse at night.