Photo of Miller House and Garden by Thomas R. Schiff
BOOK A TOUR OF MILLER HOUSE AND GARDEN
Miller House is one of the most important mid-century modern residences in the country, often mentioned alongside Fallingwater, The Glass House, and The Farnsworth House as America’s best examples of residential modernism. This hallmark of modern design showcases the talents of architect Eero Saarinen, designer Alexander Girard, and landscape architect Dan Kiley.
- Ticket price: $25 per person
- Tour length: 90 minutes
- Guided tour experience begins and ends at the Columbus Area Visitors Center (506 5th Street Columbus, Indiana) and includes a brief introductory video and transportation to and from Miller House.
- The Miller House tour is oriented to adults and children over 10. Children under 10, including toddlers and infants, are not permitted on this tour. All guests must purchase a ticket, regardless of age.
- To protect the carpeting and flooring at Miller House, you will be asked to wear shoe covers or remove your shoes and tour the house in socks. Shoe covers will be provided.
See tour times and buy tickets
About Miller House and Garden
The Miller House and Garden showcases the work of leading 20th-century architects and designers Eero Saarinen, Kevin Roche, Alexander Girard, and Dan Kiley. Owned and cared for by Newfield’s, it’s one of the architectural icons of Columbus, Indiana. Here’s an opportunity to experience one of the finest expressions of American modernism, an integration of house and landscape that draws upon historical precedents without repeating them, enfolding them in a compelling composition of forms and spaces that captures the genius of its designers, the aspirations of its owners, and the spirit of their time.
Commissioned by industrialist and philanthropist J. Irwin Miller and his wife Xenia Simons Miller in 1953, Miller House expands upon an architectural tradition developed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe—epitomizing the international Modernist aesthetic—with an open and flowing layout, flat roof and stone and glass walls. The rooms, configured beneath a grid pattern of skylights supported by cruciform steel columns, are filled with textiles that feature strong colors and playful patterns. Amid the residence’s large geometric gardens, its grandest feature is an allée of honey locust trees that runs along the west side of the house. In 2000, the Miller House became the first National Historic Landmark to receive its designation while one of its designers, Dan Kiley, was still living, and while still occupied by its original owners. The house showcases the work of leading 20th-century architects and designers Eero Saarinen, Alexander Girard, and Dan Kiley. I would delete the three accordions about the designers and just link to the other pages on our site dedicated to them.
Miller House and Garden is made possible through the generosity of members of the Miller Family, Irwin-Sweeney-Miller Foundation, and Cummins Foundation.
From the Taschen book Saarinen, by Pierluigi Serraino:
- Program, rather than scale, was the focus of Saarinen’s consciousness as a designer…his goal in designing domestic architecture remained unchanged even in later years: simplicity of the plan and interior. The Miller House…embodies just such an approach with astonishing clarity.
- To complement the stark quality of Saarinen’s walls, interior designer Alexander Girard added a folk overtone to the naked surfaces. The roof overhang extends beyond the glass line to shelter a five-foot swath of open space all the way around the house. Landscape architect Dan Kiley, Eero Saarinen’s long-time collaborator, designed a natural chessboard for the site, in which the project occupies one of the squares.
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. Subsequent to the allée’s construction, it received a sculptural terminus at each end: a bas relief by Jacques Lipschitz at the south and a reclining female figure by Henry Moore at the north; both were later sold at auction as part of the estate settlement.
Read more about Dan Kiley’s architectural landscape legacy
“Most of Girard’s 3D work doesn’t exist any more. That’s the downside of working on interiors, restaurants, exhibitions. That’s one reason why it is so important that the Miller House be open to the public, as a top-quality example of what he could do for space.” – Alexandra Lange, from Design Observer
Alexander Girard’s work imbued modern interiors with strong colors and playful patterns that brought warmth and comfort to rooms that might otherwise have seemed severe and uninviting. For the Miller House, Girard designed a wide range of interior architectural details, including a 50-foot long main storage wall and the conversation pit, as well as a seasonally changing program of textiles that enlivened the interiors. Working with Xenia Miller, he selected ornaments and antiques to personalize the house. He also designed several rugs for the house, including one composed of emblems that represent family history and associations. There are ‘Y’s for Yale (Mr. Miller’s alma-mater), representations for each child, and additional symbols of meaning to the family. Some of the chair cushions designed by Girard also feature the initials of family members. His passion for folk art is also visible in the objects chosen for the interior of the house. – from Indianapolis Museum of Art website
Go to the Alexander Girard page >
COMMENTS FROM TOUR GUESTS
St. Louis guest - Unbelievable, and SO memorable!!!
Pittsburgh guest - Unbelievable residence
Seattle guest - detailed look at a Columbus architectural gem
Houston guest - Fantastic…..this alone made the trip to Columbus worthwhile...
IN THE MEDIA
From Travel + Leisure...
From New York Style...
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- Learn more about J. Irwin and Xenia Miller
- Explore the Miller House virtual tour
- Check out the Miller House and Garden Pinterest Board
- Learn about Miller House and Garden at the Newfields website
- Read about Miller House and Garden in the national media
- Find out about Eero Saarinen’s bank in Columbus
- Learn about the work of Alexander Girard in Columbus
- See what bloggers are saying about Miller House (includes many photos)
- See photos from Modern in Denver magazine
- Visit J. Irwin Miller’s childhood home and the Irwin Gardens
- Read more about the landscape architects of Columbus
- Learn more about the Columbus architecture story
- Watch the trailer for the PBS American Masters feature on Eero Saarinen (2:22)
- Read Deborah Berke’s perspective in The Wall Street Journal
- Dig deep into the Miller House archives
- Book an architecture tour