Local Engineering & Architectural Firm Looks to the Future as it Preserves Indy’s Past

In the past few months we have written about SustainIndy, a program created to make new commercial construction in Indianapolis more sustainable and environmentally-friendly, a great, forward-thinking initiative. But does this mean that we have to abandon our history and tear down the architecturally beautiful older buildings around town? Not necessarily. A recent article in the Indianapolis Business Journal illustrates an alternative to this prospect.

According to IBJ.com, DLZ Indiana, a minority-owned engineering and architectural services firm, will spend almost $3.3 million to purchase, renovate and upgrade the historic, hundred-year-old Century Building at Delaware and Maryland streets that it bought to house its local headquarters.

DLZ Indiana plans to seek LEED Silver Certification when the renovation is finished. It will require a complete overhaul of the building, including reuse of existing building materials and a water-use reduction system, to achieve that designation. Mark Jacob, a vice president at DLZ, said that completely recasting the building’s interior will make it possible to do such things as install the heating and cooling system in floors rather than ceilings, which is more energy efficient. The building also will have facilities to accommodate employees who wish to bicycle to work.

Additionally, maintaining the historic integrity of the building required some compromises in the firm’s pursuit of an environmentally friendly headquarters. For example, rather than replace the building’s historic windows, DLZ will install thermal glass in the existing frames.

Built in 1909, DLZ’s new headquarters was designed by the firm Rubush & Hunter, a prominent firm at that time that also designed the Murat Centre, the Madame C.J. Walker Building and the Hilbert Circle Theater. The first tenant in the building was Kothe Wells & Bauer Co., a vegetable canning business.

DLZ is the lead consultant for the wastewater and stormwater management programs of the city of Indianapolis. The Thiele Heating & Air Conditioning team appreciates a company that “puts its money where its mouth is.” This type of project not only helps the city face the future with environmentally-friendly building practices, it helps preserve our past, which is a history that all Hoosiers should be proud of.