Monumental Award Winners Help Build a Better Quality of Life

Posted: Updated:

In announcing the "Create Indy" cultural initiative in August, Mayor Joe Hogsett noted that "a city reveals itself through its art." The Indy Chamber hosts the annual Monumental Awards because we also believe a region reveals itself through architecture, design and development. I'm proud to chair this celebration of the most innovative and impactful additions to our built environment.

We all know that in today's economy, talent fuels growth: Employment and investment (especially in innovative, high-tech industries) follow skilled people to thriving communities. A strong business climate goes hand-in-hand with a vibrant quality of life - part of the impetus behind initiatives like Create Indy.

Successful cities offer diverse amenities to attract skilled and creative people: A crowded schedule of cool events, plenty of restaurants and recreation, opportunities for artistic expression and civic involvement, an active nightlife and music scene (another Chamber focus); place-making is also critical to lifestyle appeal.

Well-planned building projects promote livability: Creative redevelopment revives neighborhoods. Investments in trails and bike infrastructure pay off in walkability; parks and public spaces also add to our health and sense of community. Forward-looking companies are also turning away from "cookie cutter" office parks to design workspaces that inspire and engage employees.

The Monumental Awards recognize projects that have changed our skyline but also captured our imaginations and boosted our economy. A few notable examples of past winners of the top overall Monumental Award:

Near and dear to me, the Indianapolis International Airport (the 2009 overall winner) continues to wield far-reaching economic impact, serving as an iconic gateway for visitors, residents - and potential residents - while notching a sixth consecutive honor as North America's Best Airport from Airports Council International. The airport recently marked Indiana's first direct nonstop transatlantic flight, a Delta flight connecting the Circle City to the City of Lights.

The Indy airport's focus on delivering public value through public art and long-term sustainability has also earned Monumental merit awards for the permanent art collection (also in 2009), Indy artist Jamie Pawlus' "Happiness" installation (2014), and the real estate development of the IND Solar Farm (2015).

From global connectivity to local walkability, the Indianapolis Cultural Trail has earned two honors - for the stretch of trail known as the Glick Peace Walk (2010) and the Trail itself (2012). The Cultural Trail is a perfect example of how physical infrastructure can advance arts and livability, tying together all the cultural districts targeted by Create Indy (in the case of Broad Ripple, via a connection to the Monon Trail).

A recent study by the Brookings Institution of older industrial cities like Indianapolis noted that cities like ours should showcase our historic neighborhoods to younger workers who crave authenticity and the convenience of urban living. The redevelopment of St. Clair Place (2011) earned a Monumental Award for innovative redevelopment, and is emblematic of the rebirth of neighborhoods across the city.

The same Brookings report notes that housing construction in Indianapolis lags behind many peers, to the detriment of Millennials who tend to prefer walkable neighborhoods close to work and daily necessities and amenities. CityWay (2013) showed how government, private developers, and a major employer like Eli Lilly can collaboratively plan a mixed-use district to meet housing demand from a corporate workforce and other aspiring downtown dwellers while adding new dining and hospitality options.

The same kind of live/work/play development is now flourishing in the Market East district, thanks in part to the new Cummins global distribution headquarters anchoring the growing eastern edge of the Mile Square. The Cummins building (last year's winner) isn’t just notable for the jobs and investment it represents, but as a dynamic new design enhancing the aesthetics of downtown.

Cummins' founder, Clessie Cummins, was also a footnote in another part of Indianapolis history - he was part of a pit crew at the first Indy 500. One-hundred and fifteen years later, the revitalization of Speedway's Main Street earned the top Monumental Award in 2016 by capitalizing on proximity to the iconic Brickyard to show that great walkable development isn’t just happening in and around downtown. The thriving stretch of restaurants, breweries and other retail is making Speedway a year-round destination beyond the Month of May.

Dozens of other Monumental Award winners and finalists have transformed Indianapolis over nearly three-and-half decades, growing a more vibrant region with physical places that welcome people and employers.

On October 17th, the Indy Chamber and our partners will announce a new class of Monumental Award winners in architecture, construction, engineering, innovative reuse, interior design, landscape architecture, neighborhood revitalization, public art and real estate development, from more than fifty submissions across the nine-county Indianapolis region.

These projects show that what we build shapes how we live and work - the Monumental Awards shine a well-deserved spotlight on the critical connections among our built environment, our quality of life and our economic vitality.

  • Perspectives

    • Want Your Startup to Move Faster? Use Two Military Strategies

      Speed is everything at a startup. So is discipline. By that, I mean the discipline to stay focused on the most important objectives, to do the late nights and early mornings when we don’t want to do them, and to see the results of our work as objectively as possible. It’s not easy, especially when speed and discipline often seem at odds. We think about this a lot here at Powderkeg. How do we move as fast as possible while remaining as disciplined as possible? We recently...

    More

Subscribe

Name:
Company Name:
Email:
Confirm Email:
HTML
INside Edge
Morning Briefing
BigWigs & New Gigs
Life Sciences Indiana
Indiana Connections
INPower
Subscribe
Unsubscribe

Events



  • Most Popular Stories

    • Infosys Hub to 'Reskill' Workforce

      India-based Infosys, which today broke ground on a $35 million U.S. Education Center in Indianapolis, says the campus is focused on preparing the American workforce for the technology jobs of the future. "Continuous learning and reskilling are core components of Infosys' DNA," said Chief Operating Officer UB Pravin, adding the company will use the facility on the former Indianapolis International Airport terminal site to train 10,000 new American hires.

    • 'Proven Leaders' to Head New Two-Year College

      Marian University has named Jeffrey Jourdan executive director of Saint Joseph's College of Marian University - Indianapolis, its new two-year institution. Michael Nichols will serve as associate director and dean of SJC@MU. In October, Marian and Saint Joseph's College in Rensselaer detailed a partnership to launch the school near Marian's Indianapolis campus. St. Joe suspended operations in 2017 after massive debt responsibilities forced the school into an attempted rebirth.

    • Renovations Coming to Edinburgh Premium Outlets

      Renovations are coming to Edinburgh Premium Outlets as plans have been announced by Indianapolis-based Simon Property Group Inc. (NYSE: SPG). Construction is set to begin this fall. The multi-million dollar plans include an archway sign, two new courts visible from I-65 on the east side of the property and a food truck plaza on the southwest corner.

    • Makerspace, Design Center Coming to Fishers

      A planned design center and makerspace in Fishers will target what its founder calls a "labor crisis" in the home building and design industry. David Decker says the $14 million Hub and Spoke will have showroom, office and warehouse space for member companies along with what he calls a one-of-a-kind makerspace for hobbyists, entrepreneurs and students. He says the makerspace will serve as a "shop class on steroids" and offer equipment including...

    • Infosys to Break Ground at Airport Site

      State and local officials will Friday break ground on a new U.S. Education Center for India-based Infosys. The company is initially investing $35 million to transform more than 70 acres of the former Indianapolis International Airport terminal site into a training center and 250-person residential facility totaling 125,000 square feet.