January 22, 2013 Mid-Century Modern

Dan Kiley: Hollin Hills, the Miller House and More

If you are interested in learning about the early landscape designs of Hollin Hills and want to learn more about landscape architect Dan Kiley, I recommend picking up a copy of Daniel Urban Kiley: The Early Gardens. The slim but informative book discusses Kiley’s career and focuses on his work in Hollin Hills and the garden of the Eero Sarrinen-designed Miller House in Columbus, Ind. (A fascinating tidbit I did not know: Kiley took over for Saarinen as the chief of the Design Section the Office of Strategic Services and designed the courtroom and furniture for the Nuremberg Trials.)

Dan Kiley

A few of Dan Kiley’s plans for Hollin Hills. Images from Daniel Urban Kiley: The Early Gardens.

Kiley, often dubbed the dean of American landscape architects, was the second of three in Hollin Hills, where developer Bob Davenport required home buyers to purchase a landscape design. Lou Bernard Voight helped Charles Goodman and Davenport design the community did individual landscape designs for residents until he died in 1953. Kiley took over and designed plans until 1955 when Eric Paepke, who worked for Kiley and then started his own office, took over to help finish out the community. Kiley designed nearly 100 gardens during his tenure. While none were fully implemented and none survive today as much of the neighborhood has “gone back to the woods” as seen above, Joseph Disponzio writes in the book that “Hollin Hills was the experimental ground on which Kiley transformed his design language into the masterful modern idiom for which he is known.”