We've made it to #2.
A glittering jewel in Columbus' architectural crown, The Republic is a celebration of America's free press, a transparent showpiece designed to reveal the dramatic processes of newspaper production. Designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill's (SOM) Myron Goldsmith, the glass and aluminum pavilion hovers over its flat grassy lot like an efficient press machine. The crisp modernist box, standing just across the street from the county's seat of power, is open and accessible, its reflective glass walls linking the community to the free flow of information.
Completed in 1971 for publisher Robert Brown, The Republic is a thoughtful meditation on Miesian Modernism- simple in form, honest in materials, but perfectly suited to the small town context. With the conceptual whole in mind, Goldsmith (a student of Mies and Pier Luigi Nervi) organized the building to suit the newspaper's workflow, the flexible plan a simple solution to the paper's complex program. The comprehensive newspaper plant housed every function of daily production under one roof. Writing, editing, and advertising played out along the structure's visible perimeter, while private offices, dark rooms, and lavatories were located in the building's more enclosed core. But the real centerpiece of the plant was the paper's visible printing press. Painted a bright yellow and resembling a giant piece of kinetic sculpture, the Goss press printed papers in a democratized dance of choreographed motions for all to see. (The press was removed from the building in 1998, you can see a photograph of it here.)
The Republic is undoubtedly a masterwork of modern architecture, the delicate pavilion possessing a timeless connection to purpose and context. A bold transparent expression constructed at the height of Modernism, Goldsmith's glass box proved to be the perfect stage for the unfolding drama of a daily newspaper. But in 2016, the paper, transformed by major shifts in technology (like many newspapers across the country), left its iconic home for a building north of downtown, leaving the landmark to face an uncertain future.
Lucky for us, it seems like fate is a modernist. Last month, Indiana University announced plans to transform the celebrated newspaper building (designated a National Historic Landmark in 2012) into the headquarters for its new master of architecture program. You can read more about the building's new life here.
Leave a Reply.
This architectural historian cannot stop thinking about buildings, food, and that vintage rug she found online.