Butler’s Irwin Library

If you follow me on instagram, you might think I have a little obsession with the Irwin Library at Butler University. It’s true. I continue to be inspired by the building. I return to the building — and the campus — whenever I feel like I’m in a creative funk.

A little history for those interested…

Irwin Library opened in 1963. Named after William G. Irwin, a former member of the Butler University Board of Trustees and a significant benefactor to the university. Irwin Library is designed by Detroit architect Minoru Yamasaki, a world-famous architect most known for the original World Trade Center. From Butler University’s website:

The building was designed by world-famous architect Minoru Yamasaki in a unique blending of Middle Eastern, Classical Greek, Italian Gothic and Japanese influences. Slender columns of pre-cast concrete, an expanse of arched windows, an atrium open to all three stories set off by cylindrical chandeliers and a skylight above, and a fountain and pool on the main level create a unique study environment.

Interestingly enough, Irwin Library is Yamasaki’s only work in Indiana. Considering the close proximity of Detroit to Indiana, and the contemporary work of other world-renowned Modern architects in Columbus, it is a bit surprising Yamasaki didn’t complete more works in Indiana. He was born in Seattle and fellow blogger Susie Trexler has a great post on Yamasaki in Seattle.

Enjoy a few photos from the Irwin Library, one of the most photogenic spots in Indianapolis!



Add yours →

  1. I love all your pictures! This looks like a really cool place to explore. I especially love the railings and the shapes of the arches! Definitely adding it to my list for the next time I get out to Indianapolis.

    • Well, then…. next time you are in Indianapolis we are going to have a great time! I will show you all the fun places. But yes, your post about Yamasaki encouraged me to write this post! I am from Michigan originally and never really appreciated his work until recently.

      • Awesome, yes please! Wish I had known more about the area before the Indianapolis National Trust conference–it was a whirlwind and I think I missed a lot! Also so pleased. I didn’t know about Yamasaki either until I moved to Seattle. The best part about architectural history–there’s always more great places to discover!

  2. Modern is not my favorite, but man, this building is gorgeous!

    • If you couldn’t tell, I’m a huge Modern fan. This building is really an under appreciated gem in Indianapolis. There is another great Modern building nearby that is difficult to photograph. But there isn’t really many high-style Modern buildings in Indy… they’re concentrated in Columbus.

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