State Farm’s Art Deco former headquarters at risk of demolition

The State Farm insurance building, a brown Art Deco structure, in Bloomington, Indiana.Photo
by A mcmurray/Wikicommons

It served as the insurance giant’s headquarters from 1929 to
1972

Cities are not sentimental. When old buildings become vacant and
costly to maintain, more often than not,
they’re torn down
. Case in point: the State Farm Building in
Bloomington, Indiana. The Art Deco building, which served as the
insurance giant’s headquarters from 1929 to 1972, is facing the
wrecking ball after the sale of the building fell through.

Designed by Bloomington architects Archie Schaeffer and Phillip
Hooton, the 13-story building was once the tallest structure
between St. Louis and Chicago, according to Bloomington newspaper

The Pantograph
. Its sturdy brick facade featured ornamental
flourishes like carved stone cornices and four terra cotta
corn maidens
that were eventually removed for safety
reasons.

Over the years, State Farm gradually moved its operations out of
the elegant building, which has sat vacant since 2018. The company
started looking for potential buyers for the 200,000-square-foot
building, but after a promising developer fell through earlier this
summer, plans to demolish the landmark have resurfaced.

“We secured a national search firm, reviewed many proposals,
accommodated several tours of the property, and were open to all
inquiries,” State Farm spokesperson Gina Morss-Fischer
told NPR affiliate WGLT
. “It is a very large building and
it’s not uncommon for this to happen in complex real estate
deals. With a sale not materializing, the continued costs of
maintaining a building of that size and the impacts on downtown
with it remaining vacant without interest, this was the most viable
option.”

It’s a tale as old as architecture—a big building, no longer
useful in its original purpose, is torn down instead of reused.
Preservationists are at work though, gathering
signatures for a petition
to stop the demolition. In the
meantime, check out some of the
best adaptive reuse projects
that have breathed new life into
old buildings.

Source: FS – All – Architecture 10
State Farm’s Art Deco former headquarters at risk of demolition