Firms make pitches for Airpark master plan, landscaping

COLUMBUS, Ind. — “The influence of architecture with which we are surrounded in youth affects our lives, our standards, our tastes when we are grown, just as the influence of the parents and teachers with which we are surrounded in our youth affects us as adults.”

These apt words from J. Irwin Miller were quoted by the design firm Studio Zewde as they presented their ideas for the future of Columbus’s airpark campus earlier this week.

The firm was one of four that presented pitches for the campus’s potential master plan and landscape design project to project partners and community members over Zoom on Tuesday and Wednesday.

In March, the Cummins Foundation announced its possible support for the tentative project. The foundation’s architecture program recommended four firms for consideration: Reed Hilderbrand of Cambridge, Massachusetts; Gustafson Guthrie Nichol (GGN) of Seattle, Washington; Merritt Chase of Indianapolis; and Studio Zewde of Harlem, New York.

Reed Hilderbrand and Studio Zewde gave their presentations on Tuesday; Merrit Chase and GGN gave their presentations on Wednesday. Each firm was given approximately 30 minutes for presentation and 20 minutes for Q&A. Audience members were able to submit questions via chat and were later sent a feedback form to share any comments they might have.

In their presentations, firms talked about their ideas for the campus landscape and master plan, experience with other projects, potential timeline for planning and execution, methods of community engagement in the process and focus on equity as a driver in the project.

Also, given the scope of the project, each firm said that they intend to bring on other individuals, firms and organizations as collaborators in the work, including some that have worked on local Columbus projects in the past.

For more on this story, see Saturday’s Republic.