Rustication, Athenaeum, 401 East Michigan Street

Rustication. Rustication is found in ashlar masonry, a finished, stone block laid in horizontal courses with mortar. The term rustication applies when ashlar masonry is arranged so that the face of the stone projects out, typically accomplished with deep joints separating each stone block. The face of the block can range in design, but will at least provide some contrast to ordinary stonework. Rusticated masonry can feature a rock-face or a diamond point on the stone face. Overall, rustication applies to a wide variety of stonework found throughout Indianapolis. Let’s see some examples.

Rustication at The Blacherne Apartments, 402 North Meridian

The foundation level of the Athenaeum (401 East Michigan Street) includes rusticated, ashlar masonry on its ground level. The limestone masonry features a rock-faced rustication, a typical presentation of rustication found throughout Indianapolis. Another example of this type of presentation is found at the Blacherne Apartments at 402 North Meridian Street. Both examples illustrate a structure with a primary building material of brick, but the ground level features rusticated ashlar masonry as a nice, visual contrast.

A residential example is found on the ground level and porch of this residence at 1465 North Delaware Street. The rustication uses a rock-face, but adds varying course sizes for additional architectural interest. This ashlar masonry is known as coursed ashlar, with stones of the same height within a course, but each course alternates the overall height.

Rustication on the residence at 1465 N Delaware Street

Add it to your vocabulary – how might one use today’s Building Language term in their everyday life?

The rusticated stone on the ground level saw the most damage when the driver drove his car into the building.

2 responses to “Building Language: Rustication”

  1. Jim Johnson says:

    We enjoy this feature very much. We have some questions about architectural detail at the Indiana State House, if you could take time to respond.
    Jim Johnson
    Tour Office
    Indiana State House

  2. basil berchekas jr says:

    wish to stay in touch with rustication; have seen it across the country; quite “stylish”…(at least to me)

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