The Mueller-Smith building was specifically designed to inspire the productivity of the firm’s intellectual property law practice. Central Ohio, as home to one of the largest research universities in the world and birthplace for several industries, sits at a crossroads of innovation in research and industry. In 1984, after finding that no available office space could be configured adequately to meet the needs of the practice, the firm’s founders located a building site along the banks of the Olentangy River, a protected Ohio Scenic River. Five miles north on the banks of the same river are ruins of the abandoned Bieber Mill, a 19th century water powered gristmill. The Bieber Mill is protected by the state of Ohio. Along the Olentangy River, many early structures were built from the exposed stone of the riverbed.
Combining the early mill’s representation of early American industry with the growth of the area’s industry and intellectual capital, the arch-based rough stone walls of the Bieber mill were chosen as the architectural theme for the design of the new Mueller-Smith building. The building exterior combines rough-hewn cut limestone, weathered redwood walls, expanses of windows and cedar shake roof. There is an exterior stairway leading to the cantilevered second floor deck overlooking the river. Careful inspection of the stone walls of Paleozoic era limestone reveals the fossilized remains of the fauna native to Ohio eons ago.
A Foucault pendulum suspended in the main entry way introduces the building’s technology theme. The periodic motion of the pendulum is perpetuated by a unique parametric drive designed by Marlin O. Thurston, PhD. and Karl W. Olsen, Ph.D. Pews taken from the Broad Street Presbyterian church and a Binary clock, invented by Ed Young, a former employee of the firm, adorn the second floor reception area. The interior is dominated by post and beam trusses and the exterior theme is continued with several arched limestone portals. The offices and conference rooms have wall-to-wall windows for expansive views of the Olentangy River. The table in the main conference room is copper clad, in homage to Michael Faraday, and is the work of A. Reilly, an artisan who participated in the building’s construction.