School of Dentistry – IUPUI…istry-addition

Even more IUPUI infill! Although it is great news to see surface lots of campus gradually filled in with implementation of IU’s master plan, there are a couple complaints I have with this design:

  1. the enlarged setback – yes, it is true one wouldn’t expect a commercial entity on the first floor of a dentistry building, however, that does not mean you neglect proper urban design. By negating the setback, buildings interact with the street-scape/sidewalk and give spatial definition which encourages walkability. In a campus that is increasingly becoming welcome to on-campus housing, this is a misstep. Proximity of the sidewalk to the building entry from the street gives human-scale definition and establishes urban character. There are numerous cities now updating their development code to the neighborhood model, which is designed to create livable, sustainable communities and maximize quality of life. This model insists on shallow setbacks in urban forms, attributing this to increased walkability and slower traffic. Even the Institute of Traffic Engineers has caved on their automotive-centric ways a bit, describing walkable urban cores as, “High density, medium- to high-rise residential mixed with high intensity commercial, workplace, entertainment, civic, and cultural uses…there are little to no setbacks, with buildings oriented to the street, placed adjacent to the front property line.” Makes you wonder if IU forgets about the “urban” in its branding of campus.
  2. the architectural design – seems to be a decent addition to the area although the architecture of newer buildings in campus (e.g. Campus Center, Eskenazi) make this design a bit redundant.

I would really love to see them pursue the master plan outlined and make Vermont a pedestrian corridor, surrounded by student housing. With a student population over 34,000 and its continued emphasis on on-campus housing relinquishing the connotation of a commuter school, IUPUI can become a vital economic engine to the near west-side.


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