Fifth-and-Jackson-Streets-panorama-by-Thomas-Schiff-2

Panorama of Fifth and Jackson Street intersection – from left, buildings designed by Koetter-Kim (parking garage), Kevin Roche (Post Office), Kevin Roche Cummins Headquarters), Kevin Roche (Cummins Inc. Irwin Office Building Arcade), Eero Saarinen (Irwin Conference Center) – photo by Thomas R. Schiff

AT&T Switching Station, Paul Kennon, 1978 - Columbus, Indiana

THE COLUMBUS INDIANA ARCHITECTURE STORY

The Chicago Tribune

Columbus is a small-town architectural mecca.

Conde Nast Traveler

One of the world’s best cities for architecture lovers.

Metropolis

Are we in Oz?
How was all this possible?

An unlikely collection of masterworks

Columbus is an improbable town. Every year thousands of visitors arrive to explore its streets and study its buildings, for it is one of the rare places on earth where the idea that architecture can improve the human condition has been put to the test. It’s a small, southern Indiana community with no apparent call to destiny that remarkably became an architectural “mecca.”

Columbus, Indiana, claims a collection that features some of the biggest names in modern art and architecture – which explains why the words “unexpected” and “unforgettable” are regularly overheard on the community’s streets.

”Columbus, Indiana, and J. Irwin Miller are almost holy words in architectural circles,”  New York Times‘ architecture critic Paul Goldberger, said.

The story begins with the leadership of a family with a vision and a program rooted in the words of Winston Churchill: “We shape our buildings, and afterwards our buildings shape us.”

The improbable numbers

Columbus is a city of over 47,000, yet The American Institute of Architects ranked it 6th in the nation for architectural innovation and design – right behind Chicago, New York, Boston, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C. The visitor’s guide lists over 90 buildings and pieces of public art by internationally-noted architects and artists.

The Columbus story is regularly featured in national and international publications. Even if you are not an architecture buff, learning how this small town strives for excellence is both unique and inspiring. For those looking for bucket-list experiences, head straight to the Miller House and Garden Tour to experience the acclaimed masterpiece from the dream team of Eero Sarrinen, Dan Kiley, and Alexander Girard. The Visitors Center guided tours have been awarded a Certificate of Excellence by Tripadvisor.

The award-winning Columbus architects 

Discover the architects of Columbus who have been awarded the AIGA Gold Medal and The Pritzker Prize, architecture’s two highest honors.

Cesar Pelli in Columbus, Indiana

Small town, big names

Since the early 1940s some of the world’s finest architects have made Columbus a virtual museum of modern architecture, with works by some of the most enduring names in architecture, like I.M. Pei, Richard Meier, Robert Venturi, Eliel and Eero Saarinen, Harry Weese, and Deborah Berke, just to name a few. And the public art sprinkled throughout the community includes works by artists such as Henry Moore, Dale Chihuly, Jean Tinguely, and Robert Indiana.

Pictured, Cesar Pelli, who was in Columbus for dedication of his new building, with former Tour Program Manager Joyce Orwin

See a Pinterest board of artists and architects who have worked in Columbus.

Urbanophile

Dazed and amazed at Columbus. I thought I knew this town already. It’s blowing me away up close like.

Cincinnati Modern

A thriving small town with strong community leadership – and some of the most drop-dead gorgeous public buildings you will ever see.

Apartment Therapy

Home again after amazing tour of Columbus. Sad to leave such an amazing place.

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