How do you balance two priorities for a new building: a need for high-tech learning and the desire for a beautiful and inspiring space? It’s working at the new Evans Center for Health Sciences at Marian University. The building was recognized at the Monumental Affair with an Achievement Award in the Public Art category in 2013.
It was natural to include the latest in learning and medical technology for the home of a new osteopathic medical school and Marian’s School of Nursing. But Marian University also chose to make the building an artistic expression of Catholic values and holistic, nurturing medical care. The art will be a permanent part of the structure, long after the technology has been replaced by the next generation.
It was great fun for us to create a space that is both high-tech and inspiring. And as advocates of sustainability, we love that the Chapel furniture was crafted from walnut trees cleared from the site to make room for construction. Weberding’s Carving Shop created custom walnut chairs, candle stands and other furniture pieces from these trees.
We invite you to notice the facility’s distinctive features as you drive by 30th Street and Cold Spring Road. Better yet, walk inside to get an up-close view. Take your time. Soak it in. Enjoy the work of local artists.
Here’s a mini-tour of what to look for:
- The San Damiano Cross – Stained glass panels on the southeast corner’s “lantern” represent the San Damiano Cross. The mix of color and translucent panels washes color throughout the space and allows people in the building to see outside, and people outside to glimpse what’s going on inside, linking students with their environment.
- DNA representations – A DNA strand is represented in the terrazzo pattern of the curvilinear circulation path; the donor wall and a wood feature wall that anchors a centralized open staircase were conceptualized from DNA markers and are key focal points in the open commons.
- Relief Mural – A cast stone relief mural by artist Jay Tschetter of Nebraska conveys the Biblical story of St. Francis and the lepers.
- Stations of the Cross – Fourteen bronze reliefs mounted on walnut panels fabricated by Nick Ring Studio of Jasper, IN, describe the crucifixion story, a key part of the Catholic faith.
- Stained Glass Windows – The Chapel’s stained glass windows by Der Glass Werks of Indianapolis depict images of Saint Francis and Saint Clare.
- Commons Art Niches – Artist Karen Glanders from Nashville, IN created five mosaic art works that reflect the institutional values of prayer, dignity of the individual, responsible stewardship, peace/justice, and reconciliation.
If you’re up for walking the inner campus, look back toward the chapel’s exterior cone shape. Enhanced with zinc shingles and a lighted cross, the cone shape creates a unique and highly visible termination for the pedestrian corridor.
If you can’t get to the Evans Center for Health Sciences at Marian University in person, check out photos here.