Miller House and Garden conversation pit

Work by architect Eero Saarinen in Columbus, Indiana

“As a first-time visitor to (Miller House) — albeit one who has pored over photograph after photograph of the place for hours — I was immediately struck by the fact that images do little justice to the experience of being in the place.”

  • Sam Grawe, Brand Director, Herman Miller

“While the twentieth century is often thought of as a secular age, a great many architects practicing within the modern idiom received commissions to design religious facilities. For Saarinen, this became almost a subspecialty, in which, metaphorically speaking, he was able to practice his own theology of design. The North Christian Church was his second project of this type in Columbus, Indiana, built twenty years after the Tabernacle Church of Christ, which he had worked on with his father.”

  • From the Taschen book Saarinen, by Pierluigi Serraino

“Designed by Eero Saarinen and completed in 1954, the former Irwin Union Bank and Trust is one of the earliest examples of an American bank designed with glass walls and an open plan, an influential Modernist style that was dramatically different from past solutions for bank design.”

“Saarinen’s works, like the St. Louis Gateway Arch and TWA Terminal, often are very sculptural – a quality likely derived from both his mother’s influence and his own brief training in sculpture – and structurally adventurous, defying our expectations of how they must stand up. They also exploit the possibilities of modern materials – particularly concrete – and engineering know-how to the fullest extent.”

Tripadvisor visitors share their thoughts

This church exceeded anything we could anticipate...
Stunning and intimate both – We came to Columbus prepared to be impressed by the famous modern architecture. This church exceeded anything we could anticipate. > Deb from Minneapolis, MN
Extraordinarily sculpted by master architect Eero Saarinen...
Awesome – Another example of spirituality through a kind of simplicity that is extraordinarily sculpted by master architect Eero Saarinen. > Michael from Palm Springs, CA
Wow. People and house ahead of its time...
A Must for Aesthetics, Architecture and History – Wow. People and house ahead of its time. Really enjoyed the tour guide and the opportunity to see such beautiful house and grounds. I am not an architect, but after a trip to Palm Springs, we are impressed by mid-century modern and here is the epitome. > Douglas from New York City
Best day ever...
Best day ever! I am building a house and found the tour of the Miller House inspiring! The guide was extremely informative about the building and the Miller family. By the end of the tour we felt like we knew them – she really brought the building to life. Unusual for a house tour, I want to go back. > John from London, England
Irwin Conference Center, Eero Saarinen - Columbus, Indiana
Irwin Conference Center from above and southwest, Eero Saarinen - Columbus, Indiana
Cummins Inc. Irwin Conference Center, Eero Saarinen, 1954

500 Washington Street, Columbus
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(Formerly Irwin Union Bank and Trust)
Cummins Inc. Irwin Conference Center was designed by Eero Saarinen in 1954, with landscape design by Dan Kiley. It is a low, glass-walled building set in a grove of trees. Unusual domed lights and an open interior creates a large open room and a feeling of openness and friendliness. The modern bank is linked to the 1910 office building and three-story building to the north by a three-story glass arcade, which was designed by Kevin Roche and added in 1973. The striped glass of the arcade is made to help moderate the extremes of temperature a glass building can experience.

Miller House and Garden, exterior
Miller House and Garden conversation pit
Miller House and Garden, Eero Saarinen, Design Associate Kevin Roche, 1957

The Miller House is located in a residential neighborhood and not accessible by the public – entry onto the property is obtained via tours, which start at the Columbus Visitors Center.

Find out more about Miller House and Garden >

The Miller House and Garden is the collaborative masterpiece of Eero Saarinen, Alexander Girard, Dan Kiley, and their patrons, J.I. and Xenia Miller. Travel + Leisure magazine said the “Miller House ranks alongside Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s Farnsworth House, and Philip Johnson’s Glass House as a hallmark of Modernist design (and) it is surrounded by some of the most beautiful Modernist gardens in the United States, created by landscape architect Dan Kiley.” Read what the press has been saying about Miller House and Garden HERE.

North Christian Church, photo by Rhonda Bolner
North Christian Church - interior
North Christian Church, Eero Saarinen, Design Associate Kevin Roche, 1964

850 Tipton Lane, Columbus
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Eero Saarinen designed North Christian Church, which was completed in 1964. This is the last building designed by Saarinen before his untimely death on September 1, 1961. Roche Dinkeloo & Associates, the successor architectural firm, completed the building.

The sloping roof of this six-sided building blends with the landscaped earth-mound which surrounds it. This low line accentuates the slender 192-foot spire, topped with a gold-leaf cross, which gives its distinctive design. Dan Kiley landscaped the multi-acre site, including the parking lot with parking rooms.

In April 1961, Saarinen wrote, “We have finally to solve this church so that it can become a great building. I feel I have this obligation to the congregation, and as an architect, I have that obligation to my profession and my ideals. I want to solve it so that as an architect when I face St. Peter I am able to say that out of the buildings I did during my lifetime, one of the best was this little church, because it has in it a real spirit that speaks forth to all Christians as a witness to their faith.”


American Masters on PBS, explore the life of modernist architectural giant Eero Saarinen

Video of Miller House and Garden by WTIU/Bloomington

Video of Irwin Conference Center and North Christian Church

Photo credits, from top of this page

Top banner photo by Hadley Fruits, courtesy Newfields

North Christian Church
photo by Tony Vasquez

Miller House conversation pit
photo by Mike Wolanin, The Republic

Irwin Bank / Irwin Conference Center
photo by Don Nissen