High Alpha's New Indianapolis HQ
A high-level design for venture studio High Alpha in Downtown Indy's new Bottleworks District.
Written by Dawn Olsen
Photography by Michael Firsich
If you’ve ever been to an airshow (or to the Indianapolis 500), you’ve probably seen a high alpha maneuver. It’s when a fighter jet turns its nose up and goes vertical. You go as high as possible, as straight as possible, as fast as possible – all while maintaining control. The term – and concept – go beyond flying, however. Think start-ups. Think venture capital. Think High Alpha.
High Alpha is a venture studio that creates and funds B2B SaaS companies. Their 40,000-square-foot office is located in Bottleworks, a $300 million project in downtown Indianapolis. (High Alpha was the first tenant to lock into the development.) They’re not afraid to take risks, and their new headquarters reflects their ethos for creativity, collaboration, hospitality, and design sensibilities.
“Design is central in everything they do,” said John Albrecht, project architect and partner at DKGR Architects. “They’re pretty aggressive when it comes to design, and are an unbelievably great client in terms of presenting themselves aesthetically.”
The entrance to High Alpha is a statement in itself. The main lobby is long, linear, and 25 feet tall. The walls and ceiling are jet black, save for a pathway of overhead lighting. And thanks to a NASA space station audio clip, it sounds like you’re walking down the astronaut tunnel to the shuttle.
“It’s playfully peculiar,” said Albrecht. “But that’s the point. It’s unforgettable.”
The rest of the space – which occupies the remainder of the building – is just as memorable. DKGR, who designed High Alpha’s headquarters from top to bottom, created a “plaza staircase” of sorts, one that connects the fourth and fifth floors. Wayfinding includes runway-inspired striping, and each of the conference rooms are named after airport codes (IND, SFO, etc.). In short, High Alpha’s office is tied to aviation, to the fact that start-ups can grow exponentially if they have the right knowledge and the right resources.
“High Alpha puts out a new start-up company roughly once a quarter,” said Albrecht. “But that’s because High Alpha is made up of some of the best luminaries in the city. The firm as a whole is built on incredibly broad shoulders, on some of the best and brightest in the city.”
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Michael Firsich is an architectural photographer based in Indianapolis, specializing is creating magazine quality images. He has spent nearly his entire career working with architectural firms and their industry partners. Michael pairs architectural photography with client testimonial video to dive deeper behind the design of a project and create a visual story. Learn more here.