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Columbus Center for Innovative Objects of Design

The Columbus, Indiana Center for Innovative Objects of Design is a mixed-use museum program focused around the exhibition innovative industrial design items.  Inspired by a vision of community success, the proposed museum includes a 40,000 sq. ft. program of spaces ranging from exhibition to educational, with a proposed location in the downtown district of the Midwestern city of Columbus, Indiana.  The project's driving inspiration involved the understanding of a prescribed linear passage.

The city of Columbus has been direct in a positive direction by individuals like J. Irwin Miller through a strong sense of "corporate citizenship."  Once thought to be presidential candidate material in the late 1960's this highly religious, politically conservative head of the Cummins Engine Company was also extremely progressive and passionate about social, racial, and economic equality.  Rather than continuing to amass great wealth beyond necessity, Miller established the Cummins Foundation for the purpose of giving back through impacting the built environment of Columbus.  By subsidizing architecture projects, Miller defined an idealist existence for the cities' people.  This has been manifested over time through the 68 modern and contemporary pieces of architecture within the city.  This significant architectural density inspired by Miller's vision has made the city itself an archive of fragments of time.  Fragments of time of a controlled nature and order in which the people of Columbus interact in a prescribed subdued nature.

The project design aims to highlight this societal phenomenon through light, rigor, and order.  A linear progression parti represents the fragmentation of time and innovative design through a connection of past, present, and future.

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Columbus architecture by: Cesar Pelli, Kevin Roche, Eero Saarinen, Eliel Saarinen, Harry Weese, etc.

Image inside St. Peter's Lutheran Church by Gunnar Birkerts, Credit - Dan Eddie

Image exemplifies prescribed path and identity through time

'Corporate Citizenship' - Otter Creek Course Dedication   

“Why should an industrial company organized for profit, think it is a good and right thing to take a million dollars and more, of that profit, and give it to this community in the form of this golf course and club house?  Why, instead, isn’t Cummins - the largest taxpayer in the country, spending the same energy to try to get its taxes reduced, the cost of education cut, the cost of city government cut, less money spent on streets and utilities and schools?

This answer is that we would like to see this community come to be not the cheapest community in America, but the very best community of its size in the country.  We would like to see it become the city in which the smartest, the ablest, the best young families anywhere would like to live... a community that is open in every single respect to persons of every race, color and opinion, that makes them feel welcome and at home here... a community which will offer their children the best education available anywhere... a community of strong, outspoken churches, of genuine cultural interests, exciting opportunities for recreation... a community whose citizens are themselves well-paid and who will not tolerate poverty for others, or slums in their midst.”

- J. I. Miller | Columbus, IN June 21, 1964

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Ground Level

Second Level

Roof Level


Columbus, Indiana


Cultural, Student

Project Team



ARCH 401


Unbuilt, Studio Project


Gregory Palermo, FAIA

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