Oct 16-19 Columbus Tour to Visit Seminal Modern Churches

Columbus, Indiana boasts three extraordinary Modern churches that have been designated National Historic Landmarks. The upcoming Arbuckle Architecture Tours Columbus, Indiana tour, including highlights of Indianapolis, on October 16th-19th will visit the interiors of all three as well as two other exceptional religious buildings.

Completed in 1942, the First Christian Church designed by Eliel and Eero Saarinen was one of the earliest Modern churches in America and the first Modern building in Columbus to be designed by nationally recognized architects. Now a National Historic Landmark, it was through this project that J. Irwin Miller became friends with Eero Saarinen and developed an interest in Modern architecture.

The iconic and influential North Christian Church (1964), was designed for J. Irwin Miller’s congregation by the same remarkable team that created the Miller House (1957): architect Eero Saarinen, landscape architect Dan Kiley, and Alexander Girard who designed the liturgical furnishings. It has been designated a National Historic Landmark and its Kiley landscape had been recognized by the American Society of Landscape Architects with its Centennial Medallion for representing “the best of what landscape architecture has achieved.”

We will also see the interiors of the well preserved First Baptist Church (1965) by Harry Weese with landscape by Dan Kiley, a National Historic Landmark, and of the more recent dynamic St. Peter's Lutheran Church (1988) by Gunnar Birkerts.

Our tour of the elegant Christian Theological Seminary In Indianapolis will be led by its President Dr. Matthew Myer Boulton. Yet another beneficiary of the patronage of the Irwin-Sweeney-Miller family of Columbus, the campus was developed in three phases, beginning in 1966 and concluding with the award winning Sweeney Chapel in 1987. Edward Larrabee Barnes was the architect of the entire complex, Dan Kiley designed the landscape, and artist James Carpenter created the chapel’s window “Structural Glass Prisms.”

Space is still available. Thursday, September, 25th is the registration deadline.


Sep 18 AIANY Tour of 1898 School Converted to Artist Housing

The AIA New York Chapter Historic Buildings Committee, which I co-chair, has organized a tour of the newly completed El Barrio Artspace, an adaptive reuse project, which has converted the historic PS 109, originally designed by prolific New York City school architect C.B.J. Snyder, into 90 low and moderate income live-work units for local artists. The tour will be led by Matthew W. Meier, AIA, Partner at HHL Architects, who designed the renovation. 

Thursday, September 18th, 4:00 pm. El Barrio Artspace, 215 East 99th Street between 2nd & 3rd Avenues, Manhattan. Details and registration: http://cfa.aiany.org/index.php?section=calendar&evtid=7561

Archival photo of PS 109, originally designed by C.B.J. Snyder, completed 1898. Courtesy HHL Architects

Oct 16-19 Columbus Tour to Feature Saarinen's Miller House

The focal point of the Arbuckle Architecture Tours Columbus, Indiana tour on October 16th-19th will be our special extended Curator’s Tour of the J. Irwin and Xenia Miller House led by Bradley C. Brooks, Director of Historic Resources at the Indianapolis Museum of Art.

Completed in 1957, the Miller House is considered by many to be the most significant Modern house in America. This exceptional ensemble of architecture, landscape and interior design was created by a dream team comprised of the brilliant architect Eero Saarinen who was a close personal friend of the client, assisted by a young Kevin Roche who later received the Pritzker Prize, landscape architect Daniel Urban Kiley, arguably the foremost American landscape architect of the Post-war era, and gifted interior designer Alexander Girard. The house is one of very few residential commissions of Eero Saarinen and certainly his most significant. The garden is among Dan Kiley’s masterworks and one of the finest Modern gardens in the country.

Most of the extensive inventory of Modern architecture in Columbus, Indiana came to be through the enlightened patronage of client J. Irwin Miller, longtime Chairman of the Cummins Engine Company. He and his wife Xenia Miller played an active role in the design of their home and provided the designers an almost limitless budget. Because of the remarkable extent and quality of the architecture he commissioned, Miller must be ranked among the leading American patrons of Modernism, perhaps as the preeminent one.

Having passed directly from the Miller family to the Indianapolis Museum of Art, the house and grounds remain almost entirely original, retaining many of the custom furnishings and personal effects. When it was originally published in the architectural press, neither its location nor its owner was identified and for years it remained a closely guarded secret. The house was designated a National Historic Landmark in 2000 and opened to the public three years ago in 2011. If you have not seen the Miller House and garden, you have not seen Columbus.

For tour details and registration information:


Here is an informative video produced by the Indianapolis Museum of Art about Columbus focusing on the Miller House:



Miller House Images courtesy Indianapolis Museum of Art