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  Glacier Blue® Architectural Topics & News     
          Monthly Newsletter
September 2012
In This Issue


Topic of the Month: The Indiana Historical Society

Architectural Firm of the Month: Architura

Helpful Links for Architects     

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Devonian Stone Chatham Bars Inn Welcome to the September issue of our newsletter! In each issue we present you with interesting and informative articles about the various projects architects and designers are working on around the country. If there is a project you would like to share with us, please feel free to contact us and tell us about it. If you are chosen, we will feature your project in one of our upcoming issues of this newsletter, and highlight your firm as well. To learn more about our "high-end" cut-to-size Glacier Blue® Devonian Sandstone products, please click here to visit our website.

Architectural Firm of the Month: Architura
Architura 1  Located in the 1929 Circle Tower Building overlooking beautiful Monument Circle in downtown Indianapolis, Indiana, Architura began a tradition of design-focused architecture when founded in 2000. Architect principals Michael Conly and Charles Kotterman have more than 65 years of combined commercial and institutional professional architectural experience and are aided by an accomplished team of registered architects and design staff.

Architura is a corporate, institutional, commercial and human services architectural practice. Expertise is provided in historic, religious, educational, industrial and health care facilities. Utilizing the most current, customized electronic technology to implement design, communications, contractual and legal documents, the firm's mission is to provide design excellence and quality products with an emphasis on personal services delivered with integrity, knowledge and skill.

The firm is licensed to practice architecture in over 20 different states, including California, Florida, the east coast, and the midwest.  

For more information visit:

Topic of the Month: The Indiana Historical Society           

Architura 2  The Indiana Historical Society in Indianapolis, IN, or more formally called the Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana History Center, is an exquisite Italian Renaissance-inspired building that was designed by members of Architura teamed with Moore Engineers. The project took seven years to complete and houses some of the state's most significant historical documents and items in its 170,000 square feet of space. Michael Conly, lead architect on the project, was kind enough to speak with us about his work on this landmark building. 

Conly explains, "I was the Principal architect for the project and certified all of the drawings. A firm from Cambridge Massachusetts was hired that specialized in historic restoration, but this wasn't a historic building, it was a brand new building. People said if you're going to design a historic building, why not move into a historic building rather than build it new; but this is a beautiful building and its style really relates to the Italianate architecture that is common to parts of the Midwest."

The Italian style of architecture that served as inspiration for this building places an emphasis on symmetry, proportion, geometry and orderly arrangements of columns, as well as the use of semicircular arches and hemispherical domes. One of the architectural consultants hired to work on the project lived in Rome, Italy for a time while studying historic Italian architecture.

In regard to how the design process began, Conly explains, "This style of Italianate architecture requires a lot of the time spent in examining the details, redrawing shapes in arches with added little delicate details, and creating window patterns that we see on the front of the building. It took a lot of time with a lot of different revisions and planning."

"We had a mock-up of a two-story column and arch built inside the lobby and needed to find the best material from which to construct the arch. We built one of wood, one of plaster, one of metal and another of stone to get an idea as to what would work best. We did the same thing on the outside. Then we asked the contractor to build a sample corner of the building to determine the right offset, the right color for the mortar, and how the line changes should come into the building."

"One of the things that is really interesting about the design is how deep the windows and the offsets are on the façade. They take the sunlight and throw deep shadows into the window openings. That was done by creating two structures, one inside the other. We built the main structure inside to hold up the frame of the building. Inside the frame of the building there is a five-story archive vault and the outside structure was built three or four feet out from the inside structure. It proved to be easier to create the real deep spaces that you see on the building than it would have been if we had only one structure trying to do it all."

The end result is a stunning building with a rich, elegant interior, a great hall and a grand lobby adorned with sculptured plaster, custom woodwork and an Italian marble floor. The lobby, Eli Lilly Hall, has a semi-circular staircase where performances are held, especially around the holidays. Conly explains, "At Christmastime a children's choir performs and other musical events are held in the lobby. The acoustics were designed for music so that there is a long reverberation time. Once the building was near completion, there were also weddings booked there two years in advance."

The building houses a 50,000 square foot library with extensive archives, a custom reading room, research areas, multi-media publication studios and a vast conservation laboratory. Conly explains, "The inside has a five-story archive that's made of solid concrete and has three different zones of air conditioning and heating. There are archives for film and for paper manuscripts that are important to the history of our state. Many different types of materials are kept here like clothing or paper, original television films and motion picture films, there have to be several types of heating and cooling systems to ensure that conditions are just right for preserving those materials."

The building is surrounded by a vast landscape and is adjacent to a waterway called the Central Canal. Conly worked with members of the Historical Society's garden club on the property surrounding the building. "Members of the garden club are very knowledgeable about plantings so we worked with them to design the gardens. The gardens cascade down to a canal level and lead to the Central Canal."

"The Project took us seven years to complete and a long time to design. It had to go through several budget changes. The budget started at 12 million dollars and ended up being 35 million dollars. When you talk an owner into spending twenty million dollars more, even though this is a sophisticated owner, they start having second thoughts about the whole thing. Sometimes a good part of the year is spent rethinking things from an owner's point of view, such as what could we have done differently. Eventually we decided that this was the right thing to do, and then figured out a way to get the money to do it. A piece of legislation was created that allowed the land to be owned by the State of Indiana. The building was donated to the state in exchange for the state paying for the utilities and taking care of other costs for the rest of the building's life. This was all necessary in order to have the project move forward so that we were then able to spend time on each of the different parts of the building."

Conly adds, "This is probably the nicest project I've ever worked on and one of which I am most proud." 


Helpful Links for Architects

AIA Custom Residential Architects Network (CRAN) 

The Custom Residential Architects Network (CRAN), a Knowledge Community of The American Institute of Architects, is committed to the promotion of all residential architecture based on architectural content irrespective of style. For more information visit:  

AIA Interior Architecture Knowledge Community

The AIA Interior Architecture Knowledge Community provides leadership and expertise to practitioners of interior architecture and design, working cooperatively with its members and other interiors organizations to address relevant, timely practice issues, markets, and trends, such as licensing, liability, environmental, and technological considerations. Through the Interior Architecture Knowledge Community, important links are maintained with allied professionals, service providers, and manufacturers. If you wish to become a member of the AIA Interior Architecture Knowledge Community, call AIA Member Services at 800-242-3837, or visit: 


Architect Online's Continuing Education Center

Architect Online's Online Continuing Education Center gives professionals a convenient way to earn necessary continuing education credits without having to set foot in a classroom. The courses listed, sponsored by the companies noted, are accessible from anywhere you can establish an online connection. Just register, read the required material, and then take the test, either through a downloadable mail-in form, or free via a secure online connection, depending on the course. You'll be able to maintain your professional credentials, at your pace, and at a location that works for you. Visit: 


Architectural Record Continuing Education Center

Architectural Record magazine has a free Continuing Education Center where architects can earn AIA Continuing Education Credits online. Visit:

Architectural Record Discussion Forums

The McGraw Hill Construction Community, publisher of Architectural Record, has provided architects with a forum to express ideas, opinions, suggestions, and gripes. The discussion forums are open to all, and include topics such as Green Building Projects, Virtual Design, Practice Matters and a forum for younger architects. Visit:

CORA - Congress of Residential Architecture 

CORA is a grass root organization that encourages our members to participate in the dialog of improving residential architecture in a way that suits them best. The purpose of the CORA is to provide a continuing forum for advocating and enhancing residential architecture by all individuals, both professionals and non-professionals, that share a common interest in improving the quality of the homes and communities we live in. Visit: 

The Green Meeting Industry Council

The Green Meeting Industry Council (GMIC) is a non profit 501(c)(6) membership-based organization. Their goal is to encourage collaboration within the meetings industry toward the development of green standards that will improve the environmental performance of meetings and events on a global basis. The GMIC is the only professional green meetings organization that is a member of the Convention Industry Council. For more information visit: 


The World Architecture Community
The World Architecture Community invites all architects to create a free profile on their website. The World Architecture Portal is a unique comprehensive international directory and catalog of contemporary architecture where all architects, scholars and institutions may submit their work and links to share with colleagues from around the world.
For more information visit:

We hope you enjoyed our informative monthly e-newsletter. For questions, comments or more information, please e-mail or call us today.





Liz Benton, Editor 
Glacier Blue® Architectural Topics & News
Devonian Stone of New York, Inc.

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