Beth Blostein and Bart Overly Win AIA Columbus Honor Award

Knowlton School Professor of Architecture Beth Blostein (BSARCH ’91) and Lecturer Bart Overly (BSARCH ’91), principals of Blostein/Overly Architects (BL/OV), received an Honor Award for Out of Town at the 2019 AIA Columbus Architecture Awards. This year’s program honored 10 local projects, including two Honor Awards, as the best designed buildings in Columbus.

Completed in fall of 2018, Out-of-Town is located in the neighborhood of Franklinton, Columbus’s first settlement which is currently undergoing significant revitalization. Constructed on 0.8 acres on Town Street and just 700 yards “out of town” from the downtown riverfront, the completed project is a 45-unit apartment building. It lives within a gritty and emerging arts district, yet is adjacent to a long-established single family neighborhood. BL/OV considers the project to be an extension and inhabitant of both conditions.

The project team, which included Brian Polgar (MARCH ’15), wished to respect and embody the history of the neighborhood as a way to create a unique, architectural identity. BL/OV also wanted to register the project’s relationship to the broader context of the city and to capitalize on the desires of the demographic for which this project is aimed, specifically the demand for self-identity and variety.

Embracing this apparent contradiction as a design challenge, BL/OV was able to synthesize Franklinton’s historic typologies, where the roof of Out-of-Town transforms from a gable to a saw-tooth. Then, by accepting and layering the repetition of common parts (windows, balconies, party walls), a lazy registration between elements is produced. This results in “typical” plan with “atypical” spatial characteristics on the third floor. The overall form has a vague similarity to a series of subtly differentiated row houses thus masking the suburban model of the 3-story flat and resonating with the specifics of Franklinton.

“This is an interesting variation on the townhouse typology that puts forth a new language that is still contextual. the drawings and diagrams were extremely compelling,” commented the jury on Out of Town. “We enjoyed the playfulness of the design and the tangible expression that diversity and forward-thinking interpretation are valuable in architecture.”

Metropolitan Holdings is the client/developer for the $4.1 million project that occupies 33,000 square feet. 

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