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Ernie Pyle Travel Plaza

Howe, Indiana


Indiana is known as the Cross Roads of America and travel plazas play an important role in the state’s identity and function as its gateway. The state has recently decided to construct 4 new travel plazas (location). The design of these travel plazas incorporates the state’s rich history of lime stone construction, and the state flag colors of blue and yellow are incorporated into the building’s façade as accent elements. The elements frame the entrances and provide a warm, social, and celebratory atmosphere to these buildings.

The first of these travel plazas is named after Ernie Pyle, a distinguished conservationist, journalist, and Pulitzer Prize winning correspondent. The plaza reflects the thoughtfulness and delicate nature of his work. This is accomplished with a subtle floating roof form, supported by a front colonnade creating the classic front porch. The front porch ties back to the journalistic idea of striking up a conversation with the public — it creates a space for people to gather and intermingle. The scripts of writer’s work is expressed on the main glass façade and it can be read from the outside, as well as inside of the plaza. A fully glazed façade reveals a vibrant interior that invites commuters to enter. The design presents a revealing and expressive interior during the day, and a light beacon for safety by night. This building takes full advantage of daylight with the use of shading controls provided by graphic and roof projection. These two elements not only reduce solar gain, but also provide a softer, pleasant atmosphere throughout the day.

Great care has been taken into the design of Ernie Pyle Plaza’s building systems. Environmental stewardship drove the design to produce controls, and equipment has been specified for high performance and low energy consumption. The high performance heating and cooling system will reduce the carbon dioxide foot print. Daylight controls and LED light fixtures provide maximum illumination with minimum power consumption. The high efficacy water fixtures will reduce the use of water and minimize the amount of waste. “Green design” was an important decision feature when choosing materials for this iconic plaza. The majority of building materials and finishes are composed of pre and post-consumer materials. All selected fabrics and upholsteries are cradle to cradle and paints are low VOC to provide clean indoor air quality.

The plaza’s dynamic architecture and fresh colors provide a brilliant oasis for weary travelers entering or leaving the state.


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