We won! Riley Area Development Corporation (RADC) selected Browning Day Mullins Dierdorf (Browning Day) as the winner of its Davlan Park Community Art Space competition. The competition, which ran from February 1 to March 1, asked entrants to re-envision the design and programming of the community green space in front of the Davlan Building at the intersection of Mass Ave. and Alabama Street. Browning Day’s design solution sought to better activate the green space, and create a portable, semi-enclosed structure to serve as an exhibition space for local artists. Entries were judged by a group of local artists, architects and community stakeholders.
The Community Art Space initiative was developed by RADC, a non-profit Community Development Corporation working within the City of Indianapolis. For this project, RADC sought a creative design solution capable of housing and rotating local artists’ work in downtown, while offering a platform for new businesses to advertise their product. The space was also desired to be assembled and disassembled easily for seasonal use, and protected from inclement weather. The contest pursued unique ideas with potential to amplify the art scene and create a deeper community connection to the public green space.
Browning Day’s innovative submission, themed “Art Bäks” (phonetically pronounced “art box”), used a re-purposed shipping container as the portable art gallery. The master plan concept for the park space will transform this key underutilized open space into a dynamic, flexible urban plaza that articulates the unique ethos of Mass Ave., serves as a home for public art, and helps to increase overall quality of life for residents and visitors alike.
The envisioned urban park has multiple core programmatic functions, including structured seating nodes, pedestrian circulation routes, informal seating areas, and a dedicated location for the portable art venue. Multiple gathering areas were incorporated to encourage the full range of human interaction from intimate conversation to large gatherings. Movable tables and chairs are proposed for increased flexibility and to allow people to engage with the site – and each other – on their own terms.
To address the lack of neighborhood-scale green space to serve the greater Mass Ave. community, Browning Day proposed an urban lawn adjacent to the Cultural Trail that will provide a flexible programming space that can be used for a variety of activities.
The iconic Art Bäks urban gallery is a secure, movable, “plug-and-play” structure that will energize Davlan Park and establish it as an art destination along Mass Ave. This semi-enclosed exhibition space – composed of a repurposed 10’x20’ shipping container – is self-supporting, low-maintenance, and portable.
The boldly colored exterior of the Art Bäks is intended to stand out amongst the local context. Juxtaposed with the painted metal container is stained wood latticework that softens the material palette and serves as a location to display art pieces. The interior gallery can be secured in minutes thanks to the large locking doors of the container. This “simple box” gallery will be suitable to display a wide range of pieces. Portions of the walls and ceiling would integrate clear acrylic to increase natural light and transparency. The design also incorporates common construction means and methods. The core components of the structure are simple enough that amateur/volunteer carpenters can construct them.
The Browning Day design team was composed of both landscape architects and architects, including Ryan P. Cambridge PLA, Dan Overbey AIA, Chas Duffey AIA, Mark Beer, Brett Schlachter, Joe Lawrance, and Austin Haag.