The Landscape Architecture Legacy of Dan Kiley exhibition opens February 8

Dan Kiley | United States Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, CO |
Photograph courtesy Aaron Kiley

The Landscape Architecture Legacy of Dan Kiley exhibition opens February 8 at the National Building Museum in Washington D.C., showcasing a selection of newly commissioned photographs of projects by Dan Kiley (1912–2004), one of the most important and influential Modernist landscape architects of the 20th century. The retrospective runs through May 18, 2014.

Currier Farm | Danby, VT | Photograph © Peter Vanderwarker, 2013, courtesy The Cultural Landscape Foundation.

Kiley’s design vocabulary, which drew from the work of André Le Nôtre, the 17th-century French landscape designer and gardener to King Louis XIV, was often based on grids and allées that could be manipulated to create either intimate enclosures or expansive vistas. The order, geometry, and endless sweep of landscapes at Versailles and Vaux-le-Vicomte, a lesser-known but equally impressive French Baroque estate, are the conceptual underpinning of Kiley’s oeuvre. During his extensive career, he worked with equally significant architects, including Eero Saarinen, Louis Kahn, and I.M. Pei, to create internationally acknowledged design icons.

Several of the projects depicted in the exhibition are publicly accessible. These include the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial in St. Louis (which features Saarinen’s Gateway Arch); the Miller House and Garden in Columbus, Indiana (another collaboration with Saarinen, assisted by Kevin Roche and interior designer Alexander Girard); the South Garden at the Art Institute of Chicago; and the Banneker Park and Overlook in southwest Washington, D.C. Private works featured in the exhibition include residences such as Kenjockety, the Westport, New York, country home of artists Joel Shapiro and Ellen Phelan; and Patterns, the gardens at the Delaware home of Governor and Mrs. Pierre S. “Pete” du Pont IV.

The exhibition is intended both to honor Kiley and to call attention to the need for effective stewardship and, in some cases, restoration of many important modernist landscapes. “This exhibition, organized to honor the 100th anniversary of Kiley’s birth, highlights his extraordinary legacy and the fragility of his works—iconic landscapes, like buildings, require informed stewardship if they are to endure,” said Charles A. Birnbaum, founder and president of The Cultural Landscape Foundation.

Admission to Museum exhibitions is $8 for adults, $5 for youth, students, and seniors, and free for National Building Museum members and children under three. Visit National Building Museum to purchase tickets online.
This traveling exhibition is organized by The Cultural Landscape Foundation and opened at Boston Architectural College.

National Building Museum 401 F Street NW Washington, D.C. USA

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Damian Holmes is the Founder and Editor of World Landscape Architecture (WLA). He is a registered landscape architect (AILA) working in international design practice in Australia. Damian founded WLA in 2007 to provide a website for landscape architects written by landscape architects. Connect on Linkedin at