HIGHlights from the angel Investor reception held on Nov. 30, 2016
Architectural design and placemaking play an integral role in a city’s ability to develop, attract and retain highly-educated, creative, entrepreneurial and community-minded citizens. That is why creating and supporting inspiring places is a key element of CICF’s three-pronged community leadership initiative.
On Nov. 30, CICF invited its angel investors to a panel featuring three of Indianapolis’ top designers and architects: Jonathan Hess, principal and president of Browning Day Mullins Dierdorf; Kevin Osburn, principal of Rundell Ernstberger Associates; and Vop Osili, architect and city councillor. The event, hosted by Bryan Chandler and Mary Titsworth Chandler in their home, emphasized the importance of innovative and forward-thinking design in elevating the city of Indianapolis.
Following are highlights of that discussion:
HOW DO WE ELEVATE DESIGN AND ARCHITECTURE IN INDIANAPOLIS?
Kevin Osborn: For me, as a landscape architect and urban designer, it’s really about the transformation of place. It’s about unique expression. It’s about shifting the paradigm or changing the way we typically look at our public spaces . . .When you combine high-quality design with utility and purpose, you can create something of beauty that changes the experience of the city and improves quality of life.
Jonathan Hess: We’ve moved from a city where there was a business-first approach to architecture and creating space. I think what we understand now is that through the collective voice of the design professionals, landscape architecture, planning architecture, interior—all of it—we can continue to make this a place of choice. Competitively, that’s what we need.
Vop Osili: I think, in our city, we have a level playing field. We have opportunities now to grow . . . We can build our city in a way that reflects our core beliefs—who we are and who we believe we should be. I think that’s an important part that we should take away . . . What are we telling others? How are we encouraging them to think?
WHAT CAN BIG NAME OUTSIDE ARCHITECTS OFFER A CITY AND HOW CAN INDIANAPOLIS RECRUIT THOSE STARS WHILE STILL SUPPORTING LOCAL ARCHITECTS?
JH: I think we benefit when we do both. We learn through a process of sharing.
KO: I agree with the balance idea . . . Talented, creative, innovative, outside design firms can bring an edge in a way that perhaps [local firms] we could not bring, because we’re a known commodity.
VO: It’s important because outside-thinking jars us a little bit. There’s something about having a “starchitect” come in and help us think, “Wow, I hadn’t thought about that particular perspective.”
HOW DO WE COMBAT PROJECT PROPOSALS GETTING STRIPPED DOWN BY THE CITY OFFICIALS?
VO: [We need] forward-thinking folks in city government . . . We do have a new director who, very shortly, will be shaking things up.
[EDITOR’S NOTE: Emily Mack, director of Department of Metropolitan Development, announced at the end of the panel discussion that the city will hire a chief design officer to work with the Indianapolis Historic Preservation Commission and planning section to encourage and drive good urban design in Indianapolis.
HOW CAN WE ENCOURAGE OUR CORPORATE COMMUNITY TO EMBRACE INNOVATIVE DESIGNS?
VO: Cummins is the corporation that has set the benchmark nationally, probably even globally, that you can transform your community with architecture . . . Columbus, IN, probably was not a place that was known 75 years ago. Suddenly it is a mecca for architects. You can’t go to architecture school without learning about Columbus.
KO: The one thing every corporation needs is talent . . . we need to make that connection between design, built environment, public space and talent attraction for corporations.
CICF’s angel investors help bring big dreams and ideas to life, including those of place-making, college readiness and success and family success.
To learn more about the impact this group of individuals, families and businesses have made in our community, read the most recent angel investment update. If you are interested in becoming an angel investor with CICF, contact Rob MacPherson, vice president for development and philanthropic services: firstname.lastname@example.org or 317.643.2423 x 509.