2007 Project of the Year

Project: Eiteljorg Museum Expansion
Owner: Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians & Western Art
Architect: Browning Day Mullins Dierdorf
General Contractor/Masonry Contractor: F.A. Wilhelm Construction Co., Inc.
Masonry Suppliers: Carl Schilling Stoneworks; Vetter Stone Company; Edgewood Building Supply

The Eiteljorg Museum, located in the White River State Park in downtown Indianapolis, completed a $15-million expansion in May 2005. The 45,000 square foot expansion allows the museum to display most of its permanent collection and provide a more open atmosphere to the community through the addition of the canal terrace, dining facility, and education and events areas.

Approximately 32,300 man-hours were logged while placing 40,000 blocks, 7,600 pieces of exterior building stone, 4,000 pieces of exterior site stone and 1,300 pieces of interior stone flooring. The Wilhelm team was led by Ed Payton, Masonry General Superintendent, and Rick Byerly, Field Foreman.

The exterior of the new wing is clad in German Russet Brownstone and hand-cut Minnesota dolomite. German stone is used for the interior and exterior pavers. In order to match the original museum, the architect required coordination with the color and grain in each stone panel. In result, these materials were obtained from the same suppliers and quarries which required knowledgeable and qualified labor to match the existing museum.

A large percentage of the stone was included in the site work for the DeHaan Family Terrace. The DeHann Family Terrace is an elegant garden and courtyard which faces the Indianapolis Central Canal. German Russet Brownstone, Minnesota dolomite, Lannon Stone, and limestone accent this area through substantial amounts of radius walls, treads, and pavers. All retaining walls, stair walls, ramp walls, courtyard walls, gate walls, and seat walls are made of stone with embedded lighting.

The high end, unique masonry materials used to construct the museum added to the complexity of the project. The Eiteljorg Museum is bounded on all sides by heavily traveled, high profile public area with the canal to the North and the Indiana State Museum to the West. With limited lay down space and the museum remaining open to the public, all deliveries had to be carefully coordinated not to disrupt museum or city events. With the lead time required on these very specific masonry materials and limited suppliers, there was no room for error.

The unique masonry materials also brought about schedule concerns. The team broke ground in December and had to finish in 16 months–a time frame which included two winters.; Delays from these material suppliers could have had devastating effects to the already compressed schedule.