• This material is used by permission of Ohio University Press, www.ohioswallow.comArchitects: William B. Ittner, St. Louis
  • 1925
  • 122 South Washington Boulevard
  • Renovation and Expansion: Arata Isozaki and Associates, Tokyo; NBBJ, Columbus; Moody•Nolan
    Ltd., Columbus, 1999

Situated on a broad curve in the Scioto River opposite downtown Columbus, Central High School was the first building constructed under the Civic Center plan. Its Neoclassical design and strong horizontal lines give it a commanding yet subdued presence on the riverbank.

Designed in an enfolding U-shape, the building has sunken garden areas on both sides of the central entrance walk. The design is restrained; notice how shallow pilasters separate the metal windows. Four fluted Ionic columns mark the main entrance; the entablature above them is inscribed with the building’s name. Inscribed elsewhere are names such as Lincoln and Roosevelt, obviously intended to inspire students.

The Center of Science and Industry (COSI) moved to this location in 1999. Japanese architect Arata Isozaki retained much of the original high school facing downtown and created a long elliptical form linked to the school on the west side. The new portion contains the main entrance for the building. Constructed of precast panels, the smooth, gently curved wall surfaces reflect the late-day sun and the blue lights that shine on it at night.