Union Club Hotel – Purdue University
Case Study

Union Club Hotel – Purdue University

West Lafayette, IN Collaborators Simeone Deary Featured Artist Scott Troxel Highlights Custom 3 x 5 foot hand-sculpted statue of Purdue’s mascot Project Scope Public spaces and guest rooms
Celebrating the machine, the might, the mind, and the land of Purdue

Founded in 1869, Purdue University has built an impressive legacy through its contributions to science, technology, and agriculture. Years later, when the Boilermakers became known as formidable opponents in football and basketball, the college’s athletic reputation established Purdue as a great American university. In August 2020, the college welcomed guests into the renovated and reimagined Union Club Hotel, featuring art curation by KBAA. For this project, our art advisors focused on four themes that represent the values and legacy of Purdue: the machine, the might, the mind, and the land. From a large custom sculpture of the Boilerman mascot to an artful interpretation of an aerial view of the campus, all of the art pays homage to the college’s 151 year history.

Guests experience their first art moment in the Union Club’s lobby where a floor-to-ceiling bookshelf serves as a projection surface for historic photos of former Purdue faculty member, Amelia Earhart. Further along, a series of framed sketches inspired by topological forms and mobius strips represent the contributions of the Department of Engineering and Mathematics. Notable alumni from the school’s engineering department include many NASA astronauts, namely Neil Armstrong and Janice Voss. The lobby’s seating area prominently features a 3 x 5 foot faceted, hand-sculpted statue of Purdue’s mascot, the Boilermaker. Just beyond, custom displays of vintage sports accessories outfitted in Purdue’s school colors are a nod to Purdue’s athletic legacy.

In the hotel’s restaurant, a 6 x 3 foot sculptural piece by artist Scott Troxel depicts an abstract cartographic of the Purdue Campus made of 600 individual pieces of cut and layered wood. Aerial photography of Indiana’s agricultural fields hangs nearby to further connect the importance of the local land to the guest’s experience. Additional photography is featured in the hotel’s guest rooms and suites, which includes framed archival images of Purdue’s achievements in various scholarly areas and athletics.

Curating an art collection for a university whose alumni represent American innovation at its finest was truly inspiring. Honoring Purdue's rich history and celebrating its legacy in a way that emboldens future generations was a creatively rewarding experience.

– Allison M. Barry, President, Kevin Barry Art Advisory

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