A New Beginning for Zionsville, IN
LNP 01 - 21 - 2010

The World Tour is a unique trip in that it simultaneous gives us a chance to see the world and also to focus our efforts on bettering our hometown communities. This kind of work comes in the form of our hometown projects, all of which are unique to a particular site and program of our choosing. The project I personally have proposed involves a site located just to the south of downtown Zionsville, Indiana, which is a northwestern suburb of Indianapolis. This district, famous for its brick Main Street, has been the heart of Zionsville since its creation in the late 1800's. To this day, the area is a primary shopping area and is lined with charming shops, cafes, and restaurants. Zionsville is simply not Zionsville without it. Unfortunately, those who choose to visit this quaint town from the south are confronted by an abrupt entrance with very little "notice". The heart of Zionsville seems to magically appear out of thin air. I am determined to change that. As part of Zionsville's attempt to create a telecommunication or light industrial economy with the help of Tax Increment Financing, 106th Street has recently been realigned and straightened. This east-west corridor lies just south of my proposed site. Realignment of this corridor will encourage development and increase vehicular traffic dramatically. I propose to 1) create a pleasing entrance corridor to downtown, 2) expand recreational opportunities by connecting to existing park facilities, 3) mimic the eclectic architectural character seen on Main Street, and 4) provide a wider range of housing types not found elsewhere in Zionsville. I want this to be a space for the community to gather and enjoy. The development's success lies in the quality of connection that is made to the existing downtown. It must be a pedestrian-friendly environment that invites visitors and encourages healthy activity. I envision this development as a revamped extension of downtown with a touch of modern pizzazz! After researching the history of Zionsville and the particular development site, the task is now to design appropriately. The images accompanying this text explore some preliminary organizational ideas that I have been toying with. The image below is a plan diagram of Piazza San Marco in Venice, Italy that we recently visited. It is somewhat difficult to notice while you are there, but the building faces are not completely parallel to each other as one might expect. I found this interesting in the way that it broadens the space and makes it more dynamic. It successfully tricks the eye and leads the visitor in. While remembering this piazza, I began exploring how that could be translated into my hometown site as a gateway for Zionsville. Would "arms" of development and lack of parallel development be more inviting? More enticing? Less abrupt? This sort of organization also invites flow across one axis. For instance, with an angular form based around one central north-south axis, the attention can be shifted dynamically from one side to the other (east-west). This will encourage movement and make the district more lively. I believe this to be a good alternative to the typical rectilinear pattern used in many developments.

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