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The Poetry of Space

Had thought I learned all I needed to know about geometry back in the 10th grade. Repeated visits to the Miller House over the past few years have forced me to further appreciate another aspect of the topic, with Dan Kiley’s use of the medium in creating his masterpiece of modernist landscape design.

View through the orchard

Though much of landscape architecture involves the careful manipulation of spaces, the gardens at Miller House represent one of the best examples of the craft. Working closely with the home’s architect, Eero Saarinen, Kiley laid out a plan which closely reflects and reinforces the strict geometry of the residence. As with his many other commissions, Mr. Kiley used a limited palette of plants. This was not to be a garden of show-stopping color and horticultural diversity.  Read the rest of this entry »


A Religious Experience

“Man, this is like going to church!” were the first words uttered by friend and colleague, Ed Blake, as he entered the Miller House and Garden property a few weeks ago.  Ed is a landscape architect from Hattiesburg, Mississippi, and now working to develop the IMA’s Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park.  He was part of a small group joining Bradley Brooks and me for a special Saturday morning tour of this remarkable site.

Ed first witnessed the site decades ago while on a work assignment in Columbus.  He was then only able to peek through the already tall arborvitae hedges guarding the property’s east side, but knew the place was indeed very special.  After all, one of the 20th century’s masters of landscape design, Dan Kiley, had worked his magic here.  For all of us in the field, this is a place for reverence.

Miller House, summer 2009 (Ed Blake and Bradley Brooks on far right)

Miller House, summer 2009 (Ed Blake and Bradley Brooks on far right)

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