To read feature articles about The Miller House and Garden, go here.
- I. M. Pei’s low, red-brick library on Fifth Street is just down the street and around the corner from the 139-year-old Bartholomew County Courthouse. A short walk from the courthouse is Paul Kennon’s AT&T Switching Station, with red, blue and yellow curved tubular sections resembling giant, colorful crayons. A few blocks away is Kevin Roche’s low, glass-walled Cummins Corporate Headquarters building with vine-covered trellises. A half-moon of glass is the three-story Columbus City Hall designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, also in the center of town.
- From The New York Times, by Nancy Kriplen, May 10, 2013
- See the article here
"Explore more in Columbus, Indiana, a small city with a reputation for big design! For half a century, Columbus has been the canvas for world-class architects, boasting 70+ masterpieces of modern architecture and public art. For family fun, visit the community’s three-story children’s museum, a mind-blowing indoor playground and a turn-of-the-century ice cream parlor, all located within one block."
- from Midwest Living, January 2013
"WHETHER SHE'S DESIGNING an arts institution, a boutique hotel or a downtown loft, Deborah Berke conjures spaces that initially bowl you over with their luxe minimalism. But then they seduce you to look again via subtle details that announce themselves over time. 'You don't want a space to be about one moment only,' she explained. 'You want people to go back and find richness in it every time they visit.' That slow-burn quality distinguishes her favorite room: the living area of Eero Saarinen's Miller house...
...Although she has since made a number of pilgrimages, Ms. Berke’s inaugural visit was especially illuminating. The snow blurred the dividing line between indoors and out, enhancing the illusion that the rooms extended right onto the lawn. 'The connection is as spectacular in the snow as it is during the lush green of June,' said Ms. Berke.
...Saarinen’s genius, she explained, was how he shaped your experience of space by drawing you through it. 'Although the floor plan is essentially a grid, there’s a lot that doesn’t line up,' said Ms. Berke, noting the placement of accent walls and the free-standing fireplace. 'You can’t just make a beeline for the glass wall; you first take in the landscape obliquely. How he modulated glimpses of the outside before the ultimate view is brilliant.' Ms. Berke, herself a master of the slow reveal, should know."
- From "The Slow Reveal" by Jen Renzi, The Wall Street Journal, Dec. 28, 2012
As Bradley Brooks of the Indianapolis Museum of Art puts it, one man's philanthropy sparked, "an idea that is moving a community forward."
- Go HERE to view the four-minute video posted by ReasonTV in November 2012.
"Cummins Engine magnate and philanthropist J. Irwin Miller sat with famed architect Eero Saarinen and designer Charles Eames at Zaharako's marble counters decades ago hatching plans to turn Columbus into a showplace of inventive structural design. Dozens of distinctive buildings have since taken shape, including...the captivating North Christian Church, with its otherworldly soaring spire."
"The city's vibrant restaurant scene continues to evolve, with cuisine ranging from comfort food classics to spicy ethnic eats. A stroll along downtown's quaint Washington Street reveals a collection of eateries to please all palates."
Read the entire article here.
- From the article "Discover Columbus," by Amy Lynch, in Home & Away magazine, September/October 2012
"...this town, in the middle of soybean country, is a mecca of architecture. The greatest designers, I.M. Pei, Eero and Eliel Saarinen, Cesar Pelli, Richard Meijer, Harry Weese, James Polshek, a veritable who's who of modern masters, have done more than sixty public buildings here. (The American Institute of Architects ranks Columbus) right up there with Chicago, New York, San Francisco, the big guys. Amazing, for a town with just 44,000 residents.
...(The Miller House and Garden is) a stunning, light-filled, 1957 house by Eero Saarinen, the white marble and glass house which could be a set for Mad Men,' but with better ethics.
...At a Cummins plant just outside of town, doing better is a theme posted on workstation wall signs. One in the lady's room says, "Treating people with dignity and respect is a core value at Cummins."
- From "Columbus, Indiana: A Midwestern Mecca Of Architecture," by Susan Stamberg, aired on NPR's Weekend Edition on Aug. 4, 2012
- Listen to the segment here
"Columbus has six registered National Historic Landmarks of only 2,500 in the country. It is as though Columbus had a fabled ball team who happened to be designers, a Field of Dreams for the drafting-board set."
In the introduction to the issue, the editors say "the pity is that thousands of pictures and words are unlikely to communicate the wonder of this place."
Read the full story here.
- From "As American as Modern Architecture," by William L. Hamilton, American History Magazine, October 2012
"There's no city anywhere quite like Columbus, Indiana...you have a public library designed by I.M. Pei across the street from a church designed by the great Finnish-American architect Eliel Saarinen, a fire station by Philadephia's Robert Venturi, an elementary school by New York's Richard Meier, a hospital by Robert A.M. Stern, also of New York, a town hall by Chicago-based Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, and the list goes on and on - Eero Saarinen, Kevin Roche, Harry Weese, Edward Larabee Barnes, and many more, all of whom would definitely be hall-of-famers if there were a Cooperstown for architects...Slogans promoting small-town tourism tend to be insipid. But not in Columbus. Their slogan rings totally true: "Columbus, Indiana: Unexpected. Unforgettable."
- From "Columbus, Ind., alive with modern architecture," by John Conti, Pittsburgh Tribune, June 23, 2012
"Walking in this bucolic place conjured up the reasons that we—who live in big bombastic cities—were drawn here. Whether we were crossing the traditional main street, with its old-fashioned ice cream parlor, or ambling through tree-lined neighborhoods, we encountered buildings by Gunnar Birkerts, I. M. Pei, and Robert Venturi, the stars that now populate our modernist and postmodernist firmament."
- From "In Search of Excellence: A trip to Columbus, Indiana, reveals the architectural genius of Eero Saarinen," by Susan S. Szenasy, Editor in Chief, posted June 8, 2012, on MetropolisMag.com
"These 14 cities—some iconic, others surprising—embody certain eras of architecture so much that they provide travelers with living, breathing (and free) design exhibits . . . Columbus, Indiana has a population of only 44,000, but it's a surprising trove of Modernism: The town claims more than 70 buildings designed by star architects, including I.M. Pei, Eero Saarinen, and Richard Meier..."
- From "World's Best Cities for Architecture Lovers"
Conde Nast Traveler, June 2012, by Benita Hussain
"Unlike the obvious architectural hubs in the United States, such as Chicago, New York, Boston, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C., Columbus has a ‘have-to-see-it-to-believe-it’ quality."
"Artists came, too (and continue to come). Dale Chihuly designed not one, but two amazing pieces. Most recently, he created the Sun Garden Panels in Suspended Circle for the Columbus Learning Center."
from Columbus, Indiana Rediscovered, written by Judi Ketteler, posted December 14, 2011, on Buildipedia.com
"The sleekly minimalist garden by Dan Kiley at the Miller House in Columbus, Indiana is...the landscape equivalent of the architecture world's Farnsworth House in Illinois, the celebrated glass-walled building by Mies van der Rohe. / The result of his first flush of enthusiasm is perhaps the purest expression of landscape modernism in existence. / The simplicity of these spaces and the basic palette of different greens - in the grass, the trees, and the boundary hedge of clipped arbor vitae - create an intense, Arcadian atmosphere of rationality and calm."
- from Modern Arcadia by Tim Richardson, November 2010, House & Garden UK
- more info on the Miller House here >
"Though we saw numerous public and private buildings, all of superior design, the highlight of the tour for me was seeing several incredible examples of the partnership between Eero Saarinen and modern landscape architect Dan Kiley. This powerful design team should ring a bell with St. Louisans — Saarinen and Kiley worked together to design the Gateway Arch and surrounding grounds of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial. They also worked together on the Irwin Union Bank in downtown Columbus, completed in 1954. With original furniture by George Nelson, another father of modernist design, the building remains a functional piece of art.
- from Columbus, Ind is an Architectural Treasure by Amy Burger, August 8, 2010, STLToday.com
"In the heart of the so-called Rust Belt lies an extraordinary example of what vision and open-mindedness did for a central Indiana industrial town set amid farm fields . . . Columbus, however, is a town that lifts your spirits. It is a community enhanced by modern architecture that dates from the 1950s to present, designed by notable names such as Eliel Saarinen and his son Eero, Harry Weese, I.M. Pei, Cesar Pelli, Richard Meier and Robert Venturi. Some 60 architectural gems — schools, a library, churches, banks, a post office, fire stations, a newspaper and offices — make you ooh and aah."
- from Columbus, Ind. — glitter amid the rust by Alfred Borcover, March 22, 2010 Chicago Tribune
"...what made Columbus so appealing to me - important architecture notwithstanding - were the people. Like the bartender at the 4th Street Bar, who recalled my name and my drink after serving me just once. Or the owner of Zaharakos, who proudly demonstrated the restaurant's restored orchestrions (automated organs). Or the incredibly knowledgeable tour guides who volunteered their time showing off the town's architectural gems. And even the Hotel Indigo's resident dog, Miles, who greeted me with a furiously wagging tail. They were hardworking, friendly...and well, Midwestern."
- From "Fifty States: Indiana" by Jennifer Ceaser, New York Post, Dec. 2009
"There's something different about Columbus, Indiana, and it's immediately apparent as you approach the town from the I-65 interchange. Rising out of the rolling fields of soybeans, a triangular red suspension bridge slung across the White River announces the departure from the norm. Somewhat improbably, this small city of 39,000—hometown to basketball great Chuck Taylor—happens to house 60-odd gems of 20th-century architecture. As such, the town that Lady Bird Johnson dubbed “the Athens of the prairie” makes an ideal day trip or weekend getaway for A-and-D buffs." (Footnote: Columbus' population is currently 44,000.)
"Start your visit with the two-hour bus tour that departs most mornings from the Visitors’ Center. Spend your afternoon exploring some of the buildings at a more leisurely pace; the churches alone - especially First Christian, First Baptist, and North Christian - warrant a close look inside and out . . . After dinner at Smith’s Row, take one last walk around town: Some Columbus buildings, such as the Pei-designed library, look their loveliest when illuminated from within at night."
"In this small southern Indiana town famous for modern architecture, the newest attraction is actually quite old.
"It's been an amazing adventure," said Zaharakos' owner, Anthony Moravec, president of a Columbus-based pharmaceutical company.
"There's nothing like this in the country today," Moravec said about Zaharakos, where the original maple floors from the 1890s are the stage for a slew of antiques. The shop's 1908 Welte orchestrion, a self-playing organ that sounds like an orchestra, is all tuned up and ready to roll. The 50-foot-long double backbar of mahogany, marble and mirrors looks good as new, even though it's nearly a century old.
Back in the '40s, Zaharakos is where (J. Irwin) Miller used to talk about modern design with the likes of Eero Saarinen and Charles Eames over ice cream. This also happens to be where a pretty little soda jerk caught Miller's eye. "He met his wife here in Zaharakos," Moravec said. "She served him his first banana split."
- Recommended by numerous readers, Columbus is a small town (population 44,000) that just happens to have the most incredible collection of modern architecture in the Midwest (outside Chicago, of course). Everyone from Eliel Saarinen and his son, Eero, to Deborah Berke and Richard Meier has worked there, designing so many schools, churches and libraries that, at least in theory, you can’t walk a single block without stumbling on an elegant glass-and-concrete building or a house of worship soaring like a Euclidean fantasy. “You actually have to see it to believe it,” wrote Christopher Porter, a reader.
- From "Great Architecture Finds a Home in Indiana," The New York Times, by Matt Gross, June 12, 2007; read the full article here
"(the new branch of Irwin Union bank designed by architect Deborah Berke is) a study in precise minimalism..."
"Decades before Richard Florida began touting the gospel of the creative class, (J. Irwin) Miller understood the wisdom of nurturing a well-rounded community where intelligent people wouldn't mind settling down."
"'Working there was incredibly satisfying,' William Rawn says . . . 'the earnestness of the people really impressed me . . . I grew to love them for their respect for what architects did.'"
- From article "Columbus Explored," by John King, July/Aug. 2006
"(The new branch of Irwin Union Bank is) one of the simplest and most sublime structures to have been built in the U.S. in recent memory."
"In fact, Columbus is one of the last remaining footholds of an architecture that, while often fabulous, just doesn't quite fit in anywhere else."
"It's this domino effect, with quality buildings attracting more quality buildings, which Deborah Berke argues, sets Columbus's experience apart from the flash-in-the-pan 'Bilbao Effect' that so many other towns find when they turn to sensational architecture in search of economic salvation."
"Columbus has become a town that invites architectural tourism without fetishising architecture, that warrants closer attention without requiring excessing analysis."
"...the people of Columbus live, breathe and use their architecture, constantly aware of what it does for them without stepping into self-conscious territory."
- From article "Best in the Midwest," Eva Hagberg, Aug. 2006
"...the people of Columbus fell in love with modern architecture, and modern architecture in turn fell in love with Columbus."
"What's remarkable about Columbus is not so much the astonishing fact that this small town has 65 buildings by world-class modern architects as that it wears them so well."
"I feel a great big 'aha!' coming on as I drive around town. This is what modernism is supposed to feel like."
"Columbus is the nation's finest example of how enlightened corporate titans and local citizens have discovered that the place of art is at the root of, not just the expression of, economic vitality."
- From "The Economy of Modernism" by Hillary Johnson, July/August 2000
"...Today, Columbus boasts buildings by I.M. Pei, Kevin Roche, Robert A.M. Stern, Richard Meier, John Carl Warnecke, and Harry Weese, establishing itself as an essential destination for the study of contemporary design and planning."
From article "62 Reasons to Love Your Country," July 2005
"Today, it seems fitting that the city's original commitment to school architecture continues with three education-based projects. An addition to the Lincoln Elementary School building is in the works by Gunnar Birkets, the Bloomfield Hills, Mich.-based firm that designed the original 1967 structure. The Columbus Learning Center, under design direction of Kevin Kennon of Kohn Pederson Fox in New York, and a new middle school are also under way."
- From article "40 Cities Where Design Rules," Aaron Able, Feb. 2002(both schools mentioned above are now completed)
"Columbus, it's clear, is a town that pays attention to architecture . . . For any fan of architecture, the roll call is impressive.
"The best is still Eliel Sarinen's First Christian church. No architect I spoke with failed to give it first place. First Christian is modernism at its best: logical in its order and orientation, bold in its shapes and spaces, but still in touch with the crafts tradition. Photographs don't do justice to the magic of its perfectly balanced yet asymmetrical architecture, especially in the main sanctuary."
"Among other winners are The Republic building, home of the town's newspaper and one of the most elegant modern glass boxes ever conceived."
"So there's plenty for the architecture buff to see. And there are less visible virtues, such as the fact that Columbus has jump-started the careers of a lot of good architects."
From I.D., Jan./Feb. 2005
"...Columbus, nestled amid corn and soybean fields halfway between Indianapolis and Louisville, is a veritable museum of modern architecture.
"Columbus, says Chicago Tribune architecture critic Blair Kamin, is a 'small-town architectural mecca.'"
In downtown Columbus, the telephone switching station looks playful with its heating and air conditioning units encased in giant crayon-colored pipes. It is the work of Paul Kennon, whose son Kevin recently designed a local community college building. 'I grew up imbued with the mythology of Columbus,' says Kevin Kennon."
From "By Design," by Clay Risen, Dec. 2005