Engineering: RBHU (Dome). Elizabeth Woolf, Katahdin Engineering (Existing Conditions), FTL Design Engineering Studio (Fabric)
Construction & Fabrication: Taylor Bros Construction Co., Inc, City of Columbus, Whitco Fabrication, Vector Custom Fabricating, All Out Ironworks, Chicago Metal Rolled Products, Rainier Industries, LTD, Forvia, Clutch Fabrication
Lighting & Projection: Ovation Technology Group
Photography: Hadley Fruits
Drone Footage: Triflix LLC
Selected as one of 2023’s four Miller Prize recipients for the annual theme “Public by Design,” PAU was given the additional prompt of “Civic Infrastructure” to renew public interest and engagement with Columbus Indiana’s downtown. The intervention, titled InterOculus, is sited at the intersection of Washington and Fourth Streets. PAU’s design recasts everyday infrastructure, in this case, streetlight poles, to create a civic armature, creating a cultural crossroads at the heart of Downtown Columbus.
Building on feedback from workshops with local residents, business owners, workers, and students, PAU’s design, intended to be a temporary installation, has been lauded for its design and requested to be a permanent installation. The intervention energizes downtown, creating a focal point to draw people in, linger past their working day, meet with neighbors and friends, and visit neighboring businesses. Its canopy form, celebratory purpose, and equitable invitation are derived from an extensive community engagement process, and inspired by influences as diverse as Rome’s Pantheon, the Hoosier pride embodied by the archway marking the entrance to the Indiana State Fair, ice cream sundaes from Zaharakos, and the wigwams of the Shawnee and Miami peoples. By recycling the intersection’s existing street pole foundations and piggybacking on their infrastructure, the design seeks to create an egalitarian visual and physical destination that revitalizes downtown day and night through the experiences of suspension, projection, and illumination. The project asks the community to inhabit the structure, revel in the city’s historic downtown, and advocate for permanent urban public spaces that connects the diverse communities and mindsets of Columbus through positive social friction.