Lucabe receives architecture award for bank renovation

COLUMBUS, Ind. — When Tyler and Alissa Hodge first moved to Columbus in 2012, a building on the east side of town caught their eye. Being new to town, they weren’t sure what it was, but they had the inkling that it would make a “really cool coffee shop.”

“Coffee wasn’t even on our radar at that point, coming up here to work for Cummins,” said Tyler Hodge. “Coffee didn’t come onto the radar until four years later, and never in our imagination did we ever think that the building would actually become available to purchase or to renovate into a coffee shop.”

Today, the very same Eastbrook Plaza building formerly Irwin Union Bank and Trust, later First Financial Bank is now the second location of the Hodges’ Lucabe Coffee Co. and one of the 12 recipients of the 2022 Modernism in America Awards.

“It is a valuable example of passionate recognition of historic modernism by entrepreneurial residents, that was realized largely outside of academics and specialist professionals,” said jury chair Henry Moss.

The awards are presented by the nonprofit organization Docomomo US, which stands for Documentation and Conservation of buildings, sites and neighborhoods of the Modern Movement.” It is the United States chapter of Docomomo International.

According to Docomomo US, the Modernism In America Awards showcase “the best of modern preservation, documentation and advocacy work.” Winners will be honored at an in-person ceremony on Nov. 3 at the Design Within Reach Third Avenue Showroom in New York City.

Lucabe’s Eastbrook location, which opened in fall of 2021 following renovations, has received a Commercial Design Citation of Merit.

The 5,000-square-foot structure was originally the Eastbrook Branch of Irwin Union Bank and Trust. It later became First Financial Bank until spring of 2020.

“Designed by Harry Weese in 1961, the building exemplified the considerations of the Motor Age, featuring four drive-through windows and a large parking area just outside of a major arterial road,” Docomomo US stated in a release. “Owners Alissa and Tyler Hodge fell in love with the building when they first moved to Columbus, and with the recent proliferation of biking and pedestrian paths in the area, they saw an opportunity to adaptively reuse the unique structure as a new coffee house and gathering space for the community.”

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