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Architecture Students Learn from Columbus, Indiana

Miller House, a residence designed by Eero Saarinen with gardens designed by Dan Kiley and interiors by Alexander Girard

This past spring, fourteen architecture students traveled to Columbus, Indiana with Christian Dagg to visit one of the most curious cities in the American Midwest.  It was here during the middle part of the 20th century that this city of 40,000 inhabitants became home to a collection of buildings designed by some of the most important American architects: Eero Saarinen, Eliel Saarinen, Harry Weese, I.M. Pei, Kevin Roche, John Dinkeloo, Myron Goldsmith from SOM, and Cesar Pelli.  Each of these architects was responsible for contributing to this assemblage of significant modernist work.  In more recent years, firms such as Venturi Scott Brown, Leers Weinzapfel, Thompson and Rose and the office of Deborah Burke have contributed additional projects to this ensemble.  This city is full of lessons, at both the scale of the individual buildings as well as at the scale of the urban spaces, making it an ideal studio field trip. 

An additional benefit to the field trip was that T. Kelly Wilson, an Auburn graduate, has recently become the Director of the Indiana University Art + Design Center in Columbus.  The facilities of the A+D Center were used as a launching point for sojourns into the city and a returning point to gather and share sketches.  One highlight of the trip included a visit to the Miller House, a residence designed by Eero Saarinen with gardens designed by Dan Kiley and interiors by Alexander Girard.  Back in Auburn, the students focused their studio efforts on documenting these important buildings and the sites that they occupied in Columbus.  Figure ground drawings of the important streets and spaces were generated, and proposals were made by the students to expand upon the richness of the public realm found around the more contemporary buildings.  The final drawings will be presented to the Art + Design Center faculty later in the summer.

Faculty: