In 1961, the architect Louis I. Kahn was commissioned by the Fine Arts Foundation to design and develop a large arts complex in central Fort Wayne, Indiana. The ambitious Fine Art Center, now known as the Arts United Center, would cater to the community of 180,000 by providing space for an orchestra, theatre, school, gallery, and much more. As a Lincoln Center in miniature, the developers had hoped to update and upgrade the city through new civic architecture. However, due to budget constraints, only a fraction of the overall scheme was completed. It is one of Kahn’s lesser-known projects that spanned over a decade, and his only building in the Midwest. Kahn’s original proposal encompassed a philharmonic hall, art school, gallery and civic theatre bound together in a large complex. Yet, troubles began early in the project as the architect’s 20 million dollar estimate dwarfed the expected 2.5 million dollar cost of the Fine Arts Center.
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