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Roberts Flats

Adapting an exceptional historic school into housing that retains and respects the building's unique features.

Roberts Flats boasts an impressive and relatively unknown past. Built in 1936, the school was funded with grant money from the post-Depression era Public Works Administration’s New Deal and generous donations from its namesake, local philanthropist, James E. Roberts and his wife, Henrietta. Designed in the “Art Moderne” style by Indianapolis architects McGuire and Shook, the James E. Roberts School #97 was a state-of-the-art building and was the first school in Indianapolis to be designed for children with physical disabilities. School #97 had many adaptations and amenities that were simply unheard of in the 1930s for a school, including spaces for occupational therapy, physical therapy, home economics, industrial arts, and a “rhythm room.” Such innovative features also included a hydrotherapy pool, interior wheelchair ramp system, sun decks, and elevator.

Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credits were utilized in the creation of 33 market rate apartments. The innovative adaptive reuse of this significant historic school was challenged to sympathetically retain and reuse the unique features of the school incorporating them into the sensitive redesign. Character defining features were celebrated in each of the apartments including the blackboards, original coat closets, coffered ceilings, glazed and glass block. Metal windows were restored to return full height glazing back into the window walls.


2016 - 2018

Historic Preservation, Renovation, Multi-Family Design, Adaptive Reuse


Indianapolis, Indiana



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