After a short search I managed to find a ruin (within a reasonable distance from Muncie) that will work perfect for my thesis creative design project. The building is the abandoned Richmond Gas Company Building located an hour east of Muncie in Richmond, IN. Richmond has a rich history of historic preservation so thats an added bonus.
Built in 1855 the building, now part of the National Register of Historic Places, played an important role in the development of Richmond. Located on the Whitewater River and former CSX railroad it is just a single reminder of the important role industry played in the city of Richmond. Just south of the site, also along the river, is the site of the former Starr Piano Factory and Gennett Recording Studios. Now it sits abandoned waiting for a plan to make it once again a prominent building in Richmond.
The benefit of being located on the river and the former CSX railroad is that the building is within the vast Whitewater River Gorge Valley Park and the railroad is being transformed to be a part of the Cardinal Greenway, an Indiana rail to trail program. All of this plays a role in my idea to transform the Richmond Gas Company Building into a cultural center for the city of Richmond. However part of my thesis is community involvement in the adaptive re-use, so I'm currently looking for input from the Richmond community on what ideas they have the for the abandoned building.
As I'm looking to preserve the "ruins" as they currently exist (unless of course there are safety issues to address with certain aspects) I think the most important aspect for me is how my design intervention physically connects to the ruins. I also want to include a connection to both the river and railroad because as a whole this site has a rich and important history to Richmond.
Here are just a few photos from my site visit. It really is an awesome site with so much worth saving (including the graffiti).