Minton-Capehart Federal Building Lobby Renovation

Indianapolis, Indiana / United States of America

Through modest intervention and artful detailing, the modernization of the 1972 Minton-Capehart Building and Lobby creates a new first impression that celebrates arrival and imparts a sense of decorum fitting a Federal facility. New work respects the existing architecture, yet is distinct and forward-looking.

The original plan included east and west lobbies linked by a narrow passage through the core.  As evident in "before" photos, it was cluttered with signage, displays and security equipment with inadequate queuing. Compounding the clutter, the original material palette included: travertine, brick, concrete, bronze, stainless, glass and plaster. Our goal was to simplify the lobby to create a new "first impression" and re-establish east-west views through it to re-link the axial relationship with the Veterans Memorial Plaza directly across the street. To achieve this we:

  • Segregated public/employee entrances, minimizing manned security;
  • Created a new security screening alcove in adjacent underutilized space, thus eliminating clutter from the Lobby. Glass partitions direct visitors through the monumental portal toward a glass mural depicting building namesakes Justice Minton and Senator Capehart;
  • Simplifed material palette by eliminating brick, stainless and plaster;
  • Changed existing east/west core wing walls from plaster to travertine and articulated the elevator cores from intersecting side walls using bronze louvered reveals; 
  • Articulated public access points as "portals" by adding lintels with integrated signage;
  • Raised general lighting level to mitigate inside/out glare;
  • Restored/illuminated Milton Glazer's arcade mural, re-animating the entry experience that is a critical aspect of original the building conception;
  • Replaced HVAC/Lighting/Controls/Life-Safety Systems;
  • Reduced energy cost 25%;
  • Achieved LEED Gold.

The project represents a successful collaboration on many levels.  During pre-design, the renovation architect sought out the original architect to gain insight into the original design motivation. Additionally, the architect collaborated with artist Milton Glazer and the art conservator in restoring the original mural and designing new lighting system to finally realize the power of the original artistic vision.  And finally, the entire team coordinated with the GSA, building users and contractor throughout process to deliver project on time and on budget.

Architect of Record



General Services Administration (GSA)

General Contractor

Messer Construction


  • RTM Consultants, Inc.
  • enverity (formerly L'Acquis Consulting Enterprises)
  • Steinkamp Photography