Fine arts facility for Indiana-Purdue University at Ft. Wayne, In.

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Sharpe, Daniel L.
Rosenman, Marvin E.
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Thesis (B. Arch.)
College of Architecture and Planning
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The purpose of the architectual thesis is to give the student the opportunity to experience an abstraction of an actual design experience to help develop his or her abilities as an architect.The selection of doing a project such as, the Fine Arts Facility for Indiana - Purdue University, Ft. Wayne, Indiana, enables me to develop a large scale project in an area that interests me. This project also benefits me in a new type of university building.Many Universities are now combining a number of colleges in one facility. Fine arts buildings head a large number of these types of construction. This "supermarket syndrome" of everything under one roof is a common problem of integrating different functions in one building. Indiana - Purdue University, Ft. Wayne is a commuter campus located in a semi-rural area in the northeast section of the city. Need for a convocation space and other classrooms have sparked interest in a new building. The visual arts facility downtown is in bad need of new facilities. The campus would benefit the university with a cultural center as well as the community.The site occupies a section of land near two new constructions on the campus of brick and concrete, the library, and the student union. Other buildings near the site are the physical plant and Neff Hall housing present musical facilities and other classes. An Inlet penetratess the site from the St. Joseph River to the west. The stream there flows to the inlets from underneath the plaza between the library and the student union. Trees mass along the banks of the inlet and St. Joseph River.The Fine arts facility would contain a theater and auditorium along with classrooms and studios for visual arts, music, and theater. Offices for the faculty also were included as well as all support spaces such as a library, lounges, galleries and so on.Conceptually, the building relates strongly to the plaza which is important as a space because of the activity that would generate there through the relation between Library, Student Union, and the Fine Arts Facility. The Fine arts building also develops close harmony between the front facade and the linear pedestrian circulation path that would be the link to the future campus to the north as it now is to the allow for only minimal construction over it. This bridge also is framed by the plaza and connects the plaza to a central court created by the building.This court developed by the zoning of visual arts studios' to the north and placement of the performing arts to the south. Both areas are connected by the bridge in the middle. The central courtyard unifies the two zones. This space also is a link between the formality of the architecture and the informality of the water and natural setting toward which views are directed. Materials are steel structure with a brick exterior. Metal panel is also used as an exterior element in relation to glass areas. Mechanical systems are aided by hot and cold water from the chiller plant located to the north of campus. Distribution would be from corridors for horizontal passage into the spaces from the mechanical rooms. This would also be a mixture of a radiator and forced air system for quietness in music areas.Simplification of design is important at all phases of the development. It is important for the understanding of a concept and an idea. This project could have still been simplified in a number of ways through some development of auditorium - central court relationships.Design of the building became much like designing for two different facilities. Their unification by use of the bridge and the central court developed tough problems. Turning the corner off of the bridge was also difficult. Perhaps a more linear scheme would benefit the project. But, the building does frame well between the library and the student union. I am convinced that a strong heart in the campus could and would exist there.