Dan Kiley and Columbus, Indiana

“Let’s take a moment to consider Kiley’s most famous project, the Miller House and Garden in Columbus, Indiana – the former residence of J. Irwin and Xenia Miller. Mr. Miller was a passionate patron who made Columbus a Modernist Mecca by bringing in leading practitioners to design projects throughout the city.The Miller home was a collaboration between Kiley, architect Eero Saarinen, assisted by Kevin Roche, and interior designer Alexander Girard. As landscape architect Peter Walker, the 9/11 Memorial designer, said of the property: ”For many of us, that was where Modernism began.’ ”

Below are Kiley’s three most noted works in Columbus, Indiana, see more Columbus landscaping projects below.

More about Dan Kiley

Dan Kiley has been dubbed “the supreme master of the modern garden” – his designs include John F. Kennedy Library in Boston, Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C., The Gateway Arch in St. Louis, and Independence Mall in Philadelphia.

About his grandest achievement, The Miller House Garden, the Newfields website writes :

  • While the interiors of Miller House afforded Girard an opportunity to enrich and personalize the house for the Millers, the garden was for Dan Kiley a canvas on which to expand Saarinen’s architectural vision to the landscape. Kiley’s garden—like Saarinen’s house—relies on a clear and strong geometric order, but without conventional symmetry, reliance on fixed points of reference, or paths of circulation that constrain the viewer’s experience.
  • It is largely concerned with shaping spaces, composing relationships of solids and voids, and manipulating the interplay of volumes rather than with creating specific garden views or with orchestrating complex floral combinations or bloom sequences.
  • The landscape’s grandest feature is an allée of honey locust trees that defines an axis along the west side of the house, extending almost to the limits of the property. With finely textured buff-colored crushed stone beneath the entire allée, the dark honey locusts stand out in sharp contrast, their lacy foliage gently filtering the sunlight.

Recommended reading about Dan Kiley

From the book Architect’s Gravesites, by Henry Kuehn, Columbus tour guide

  • A pioneer in modern landscape design, Kiley left his mark with over 1,000 projects. Kiley attended the design program at Harvard University but left before graduating in order to pursue a concept of landscape design involving geometry and creating a series of outdoor spaces. One of is first triumphs was his collaboration with Eero Saarinen in designs for the Gateway Arch project in St. Louis, Missouri. Another was his landscape design for the J. Irwin Miller house in Columbus, Indiana.
  • Other important projects included the United States Air Force Academy and the Oakland Museum. Kiley spent much of his time at his rural home in Charlotte, Vermont. It is there, fittingly, that his ashes were cast near a simple marker with his name, dates, and the epitaph, “All is calm and large hearted.”

More Kiley work

Kiley worked on more than 30 projects in Columbus, Indiana, most notably Miller House Garden and North Christian Church, but also included these…