In the heart of Indianapolis, the Indiana Farm Bureau Fall Creek Pavilion stands as a shining example of sustainable design and responsible architecture practices. This remarkable venue showcases innovative adaptive reuse and a deep commitment to environmental consciousness. From reclaimed wood to rainwater treatment systems, the Pavilion is a harmonious blend of modern innovation and ecological responsibility.
Green Design and Sustainability
The Pavilion’s design philosophy includes green principles that resonate with Hoosiers: using recycled materials, preserving our agricultural history, and using energy-efficient systems that save money. Each principle illustrates a commitment to preserving the environment for future generations, farmers, fairgoers, and visitors who will one day use this building in unique and powerful ways.
“We couldn’t be happier with the Indiana Farm Bureau Fall Creek Pavilion and everything it offers,” Indiana State Fair Commission Executive Director Cindy Hoye said. “This was the last of our major livestock buildings to be renovated, and its completion allows us to continue making a significant contribution to Indiana’s economy.”
Reclaimed wood from the original 100-year-old Swine Barn plays a significant role in adaptive reuse. Boards in relatively good condition were carefully removed, cleaned, and hand-placed in the restored entryways, recreating the missing entry arches for the first time in decades. The original 100-year-old north façade was restored by cleaning, tuckpointing, replacing the brick and limestone, and recreating the original windows to allow natural light back into the building. Even the original decorative medallions featuring pig heads were returned to their original glory. The incorporation of these reclaimed materials adds character and patina to the structure and limits the demand for new materials, thereby reducing the project’s carbon footprint.
Rainwater Treatment and Natural Light
One of the most important features of the Indiana Farm Bureau Fall Creek Pavilion is its rainwater treatment system. In alignment with the city’s commitment to cleaning our waterways, the system cleans and treats stormwater before it reaches nearby Fall Creek. The system also helps slow and minimize runoff, which can contribute to soil erosion, pollution, and damage to local wildlife. The Owners also prioritized natural light, incorporating large windows and glass within the many overhead doors, making the building feel bright even without the lights. The glass lowers energy costs through reduced reliance on electricity. These forward-thinking water management and energy conservation approaches inspire other structures to follow suit.
Multi-use Versatility: A Year-Round Hub of Activity
An often-overlooked aspect of sustainability is making sure every built environment has multiple purposes, allowing it to serve now and well into the future. The Pavilion’s flexible design is a versatile venue for hosting year-round events. Serving a diverse population, the Pavilion can seamlessly transform to accommodate USA Track & Field events and other large expos, including the 2024 and 2025 National Swine Registry shows and the annual swine competitions at the Indiana State Fair. Additionally, the Pavilion serves as an operational hub with on-site public safety, emergency response, employment offices, a clinic, and a bank inside. The new design will host users 365 days a year.
The engineering design was critical to balance the needs of diverse users while minimizing energy use. Thoughtfully designed exhaust systems are playing crucial role in optimizing the building’s performance for various event types and can be ramped up or down depending on usage. Giant fans provide air circulation that can minimize the need for air conditioning in the cooling season and redirect heat to the show floor during the heating season. Separate zones and controls carefully regulate the temperature throughout the facility, enhancing the overall experience for building occupants.
Pride and Ownership
The Indiana Farm Bureau Fall Creek Pavilion reflects the past 100 years of stewardship and a renewed commitment to the next 100.
“Agriculture is the only economy in the world that touches every person on this planet because it centers on food,” Indiana State Fair Commission Chairman Mitch Frazier said. “Having a facility at the Indiana State Fairgrounds where we celebrate agriculture year-round, not just a couple weeks in the summer, creates a tremendous opportunity for ushering in the next generation of innovation while paying deep respect to the traditions and legacies that made this facility and this place possible.”
The design of the Indiana Farm Bureau Fall Creek Pavilion stands as an example of sustainable building design and responsible architecture. As it hosts many events in the coming years, the Pavilion serves as a reminder of Indiana’s commitment to the well-being of the planet and future generations.