On October 15th, Indiana celebrated its 200th birthday at the newly dedicated Bicentennial Plaza, designed by MKSK. Hundreds gathered in the plaza to watch the final leg of the Indiana Torch Relay which crossed 3,200 miles and 92 counties before reaching its final destination at the Indiana Statehouse. Since the completion of the Statehouse in 1888, the surrounding area has been through a series of alterations, including the additions of the North and South Government Center Buildings. The placement of these buildings along two intersecting corridors reflected the proposed 1913 Centennial Indiana State Plaza. The Centennial plan also called for a commemorative space, leading to the development of an engaging plaza to accommodate the Bicentennial Celebration and similar festivities.
Closing the intersection of Robert D. Orr Plaza and Senate Avenue to vehicles shifted the balance of traffic to pedestrians and created the first civic plaza in the heart of the Indiana Government Center Campus. At the core of the plaza is the commemorative Bicentennial Fountain, an interactive, illuminated water feature. When the water jets are turned off, the still water becomes a reflecting pool showcasing the Statehouse. The water can also be lowered beneath the pavers, increasing usable surface area to accommodate large events. The fountain is flanked by two sculptures. The northern sculpture, “Enduring Flame” by artist Osman Akan, symbolizes the torch on the state’s flag and was illuminated at the Torch Relay finale. The southern installation, “Time Flow” by Dale Enochs, is a figurative representation of a time capsule.
Bicentennial Plaza connects to the adjacent Cultural Trail and Canal Walk, expanding urban recreation and pedestrian connectivity through the campus. The new public space features large planting beds and trees throughout the site that soften the hardscape and provide shade for visitors, creating a functional outdoor space for the several thousand employees in the Indiana Government Center. The Bicentennial Plaza fulfills Homeland Security Requirements of vehicular traffic removal while serving the community and environment as an urban oasis in which to celebrate Indiana’s statehood. The Bicentennial Plaza was a fitting site for the Bicentennial Celebration and will continue to serve as an iconic attraction for generations of visitors for years to come.
To read more information on the construction of the Bicentennial Plaza, click HERE.