Ruth Lilly Visitors Pavilion, 2010

4000 Michigan Rd, Indianapolis, IN 46208

Architect:   Marlon Blackwell Architects


The Ruth Lilly Visitors Pavilion features an irregular plan that is slightly elevated from the ground floor. The unique design features a wood walkway that approaches the structure at irregular angles creating a dynamic space. The walkway material is projected upward along the far exterior wall and then creates the roofline. The roofline extends to an expansive canopy that, like the walkway is designed using irregular angles. The main structure is surrounded by glass on three sides in addition to the skylight ceiling above, allowing visitors to maintain a powerful connection to the natural world around them. The design of the pavilion has strong connotations to designs by Mies van der Rohe and Philip Johnson.


The Ruth Lilly Visitors Pavilion, part of the Indianapolis Museum of Art’s complex, is a work of art in its own right. The pavilion is built within the floodplain of the Museum’s 100 acre woods outdoor exhibition space. The Visitors Pavilion and surrounding landforms are designed to allow for the free flow of occasional floodwaters around and beneath the structure. The Visitors Pavilion is environmentally sustainable in additional ways including being LEED certified, with careful attention paid to environmental sensitivity and energy efficiency throughout the design and construction process. Water saving fixtures fed by on-site well water is used in the restrooms, energy efficient lighting is installed throughout the building, and a geothermal system is used to provide heating and cooling. The design has won multiple awards including: 2012 Chicago Athenaeum American Architecture Award; Indiana AIA High Honor Award; American Architecture Award; Gulf States Regional AIA Honor Award; American Institute of Architects Honor Award; 2011 Arkansas AIA Honor Award.



Style: Modern

Owner (past/present): Indianapolis Museum of Art

Material: Wood, Glass, Steel

Additions and/or changes with date: None

Historic use/current use: Visitor’s pavilion

Is building open to the public?: Yes

Condition : Excellent

Website and/or sources of information


Research Sources:

Indianapolis Museum of Art. “Ruth Lilly Visitors Pavilion.” Accessed November 24, 2015.

Marlon Blackwell Architects. “Indianapolis Museum of Art Visitors Pavilion.” Accessed November 24, 2015.


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