Last week I visited my sister's family in Columbus, Indiana. My sister works for Cummins - the engine company based in Columbus. Cummins has been paying the architect's fees for public buildings since the late 1950's which has resulted in a small midwestern city that is also a mecca for modern architecture. It has been ranked 4th in the country behind New York, Chicago and Los Angeles for significant architecture. Just a short walk from my sister's suburban house is Eero Saarinen's North Christian Church. Dan Kiley worked closely with Saarinen on the site's landscape design, one of several collaborations between the two. Another Kiley/Saarinen masterpiece, the Miller House, was recently purchased by the Indianapolis Museum of Art and is scheduled to open to the public in 2011. ...I look forward to it!
The following text is taken from the Columbus, IN Convention & Visitors Bureau website...
"Kiley designed numerous Columbus projects – both public and private. Perhaps the most cherished Kiley landscape is that of North Christian Church, the last building architect Eero Saarinen designed before his death in 1961. It is the last of three buildings in Columbus that he and Dan Kiley worked on together. The building is integrated into the fabric of the site instead of being an object surrounded by plantings."
"The entry sequence consists of a long curving drive that runs through open woods of old native hardwoods, to a series of parking lots formed into courtyards and camouflaging vehicles by high hedges and perimeter trees. A low-pitched slate roof hovers over a berm and the surrounding magnolia grove, then suddenly soars skyward into a 192-foot high steeple. Maple allees define much of the perimeter of the property. A small meadow bounded by woods, allees, magnolia grove, and hedges affords the single unobstructed view of the building."
"Critic Grady Clay, in the June 1996 issue of Landscape Architecture described the design, saying, "It was and remains a strikingly successful marriage of structure and site design in the complex landscape of Columbus – a combination that, in my view has not since been surpassed."
Left: Horizontal drain pipe between concrete wedge curb at parking lot island - no surface inlets in the parking lot. Right: Tinted concrete curbing near the building entrance.
One of the 3 parking lot "rooms". Note there is no line striping - even at the HC spaces. Water slopes gently away toward the islands, flows through the pipes detailed above, crosses the parking lot access road just beyond then enters the lawn swale at the edge of the site.