Architecture People & Places


AIA Columbus Awards 2012

DesignGroup designed the Franklin County Common Pleas Courthouse, Columbus, Ohio. Photo: Brad Feinknopf
An aquatics center on a wetlands site, and a university student services building received top marks from the AIA Columbus 2012 design awards program. Other winning projects include a new-built courthouse, vetrenary office, and two adaptive reuse arts buildings – a city arts facility in a former school building and a design school in a renovated auto dealership.

Highlands Park Family Aquatic Center, Westerville, Ohio
Photo: Matt Carbone
Instead of following a traditional municipal pool design approach, the design team sought to blend the project with the surrounding wetlands. In order to minimize the project's impact on the existing natural habitat, a rainwater collection system was installed using green roofs, rain gardens, retention ponds, bioswales, and pervious concrete.

The center's amenities include an eight-lane competition pool with diving well, a large leisure pool, a zero entry toddler pool, small and large spray grounds, a lazy river, and two 30-foot (9.1-meter) water slides. Four main structures occupy the site: the main entry/ administration building, a bathing house, a concession stand, and a pool mechanical building. A theme of stone and wood was used throughout the project to unify these structures and to connect the buildings with their surroundings.

Meyers + Associates Architecture designed this building, which is owned by the City of Westerville, Parks and Recreation Department.

Student Academic Services and Parking Garage, Columbus, Ohio
Photo: Matt Carbone
The student academic services building is the primary north gateway to the university, and an important and often used student service. Formerly a 400-car surface parking lot, the building organization and site at the corner of Lane Avenue and Tuttle Park Place posed numerous design challenges. It needed to be a large-scale marker for the campus entry, yet approachable by both pedestrian and vehicular traffic, and a model of sustainable design.

To maximize the functionality of the site, the design solution was a six-story student services building with a connected nine deck parking garage utilizing a shared 230-foot common wall. This shared common wall eliminates significant solar heat gain at the south wall of the occupied building; the garage decks shade the entire wall surface. Energy use modeling illustrated significant percentage savings in energy consumption with this design.

Owned by Ohio State University, the building's architect of record was Acock Associates Architects.

Franklin County Common Pleas Courthouse, Columbus, Ohio
Photo: Brad Feinknopf
Designed by Design Group, this 220,000-square-foot (20,400-square-meter) courthouse employs extensive south-facing glazing in an attempt to visually connect the public with the building's inner workings. Repetitive courtroom blocks are visible along a main circulation spine. A massive elevator core visually recalls the traditional courthouse clock tower, while providing multiple interior and exterior vantage points from elevator cabs and connecting bridges.  A horizontal emphasis of the building mass is sympathetic to the scale of nearby historic buildings and mediates the scale transition with other adjacent buildings.

The building houses 32 courtrooms, accommodates both criminal and civil courts, and is designed to allow future horizontal expansion. The design is intended to efficiently minimize cost and maximize functionality. This is accomplished with a six-courtroom-per-floor organization, with those spaces grouped in trios around a central core of holding cells with a secure elevator and corridor.

Peggy R. McConnell Arts Center of Worthington, Worthington, Ohio
Photo: Matt Carbone
Another project by DesignGroup, this community arts center project is an addition to, and adaptive reuse of, the previously vacant 1916 Worthington Elementary School Building, which was originally designed by Columbus architect Frank Packard. The program brings together a diverse collection of community art offerings in one place: theater, dance, choir, instrumental music, fine arts, photography and ceramics.

The new building provides a performance space with 220 seats, exhibit spaces, a dance studio, art and ceramics studios, and office space for the director and staff. The original building comprises 18,000 square feet (1,700 square meters), to which an 8,000-square-foot (740-square-meter) addition is now included.

Elemental Veterinary Center and Pet Spa, Columbus, Ohio
Photo: Matt Carbone
Elemental Veterinary Center and Pet Spa is a facility, designed by Blostein/Overly Architects, for a veterinarian nationally recognized for her mix of traditional and alternative animal care, including acupuncture. The facility eschews traditional clinic motifs in part by operating as a gallery space within the Columbus Short North Arts District.

Consequently, the interior configuration maximizes public space. The lobby reception area doubles as a gallery that can be used for special events. Spa, grooming, and a do-it-yourself pet wash are pushed to the glass to provide "street theater".

With existing residential units above the commercial space and adjoining lease spaces, acoustic separation also had to be carefully developed.

Broad Street Studios, Columbus, Ohio
Photo: Brad Feinknopf
An art and design school acquired this derelict automobile dealership and service garage with the intent of establishing an environment that would foster interdisciplinary cooperation for a diverse group of studios and departments. The location provided a public presence for the school on Broad Street, one of the principal streets in downtown Columbus. The raw character of the cast-in-place concrete, brick, and steel construction provided an ideal "canvas" for the design school. However, the original structure had been built in five phases over nearly a century, and was severely compartmentalized.

The design solution was an exercise in "found" architecture: selectively removing structural elements to reveal dynamic spatial relationships and create pathways. By adding bridges and stairs through new openings, the numerous changes in elevation between sections of the building were exploited to create lively pathways through the studio and classroom spaces. The existing three-story automobile ramp was used as the unifying element in the space – as a path, revealed through glass, and traversed by bridge at various places within the structure.

Acock Associates Architects also designed these studios.

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