IUCA+D to host symposium celebrating modern architect Harry Weese

Guest post courtesy of IU Newsroom colleague Jaclyn Lansbery:

Architecture buffs, rejoice: the Indiana University Center for Art + Design will host a two-day workshop dedicated to celebrating and analyzing Harry Weese’s work throughout Columbus, Ind. The symposium,  “The Early Architectural Works of Harry Weese: Creative Syncretism,” runs from April 4 to 5 at 310 Jackson St. in Columbus.

First Baptist Church

First Baptist Church, located at 3300 Fairlawn Dr. in Columbus, was built by Harry Weese in 1965. Credit: Tony Vasquez

Copies of documents found in the archives of the Chicago Art Institute, the Columbus Architectural Archives and the Chicago History Museum will be on display at the center’s gallery during the first day of the workshop.

Regional architects participating in the symposium, which is free to the public, will also showcase their work at the gallery. Bradley C. Brooks, director of historic resources and assistant curator for American Decorative Art at the Indianapolis Museum of Art, will give an introductory talk at 5 p.m. on Friday April 4.

On April 5, a group of panelists will discuss Weese’s early works in Columbus, in an attempt to answer one overarching question that co-organizer and IU Bloomington senior lecturer Marleen Newman said was the driving force behind the symposium: why is Weese nearly absent from the history of modern architecture? Newman, who teaches at the Department of Apparel Merchandising and Interior Design, said the symposium will also look at how Weese’s work and the works of other panelists relate to this part of modern architecture.

Eastbrook Branch Bank

Eastbrook Branch Bank, 2531 Eastbrook Plaza. Built in 1961. Credit: Tony Vasquez

Weese, a regional modernist also known for historic preservation, created more than 1,000 buildings throughout his career, ranging from a single-family home to the metro system of Washington, D.C. Sixteen of those buildings were built in Columbus. Some of those works include the Cummins Inc. Technical Center – made up of two buildings – for the Fortune 500 company Cummins Inc., as well as the First Baptist Church, which was built in 1965 and is one of six buildings in Columbus included in the National Historic Landmarks program.

Other panelists include Newman, Louis Joyner, who designed the building for IUCA+D and recently became an adjunct lecturer at the Department of Apparel Merchandising and Interior Design; Eric Sandweiss, a professor at IU Bloomington’s Department of History; and T. Kelly Wilson, director of IUCA+D. Visit the symposium website for a complete list of panel experts.

Schedule details can be found online. For those unable to attend the symposium, a webinar and online forum can be accessed here, from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. on April 5.

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