Urban Fold

Resurrecting a Forgotten Giant of Landscape Architecture

He's "among the most important, influential and personally idiosyncratic landscape architects of the 20th century," but outside of the profession, Dan Kiley isn't well known. A publication and exhibition scheduled for this year seek to change that.

Charles A. Birnbaum, President of The Cultural Landscape Foundation, laments the lack of appreciation for the contributions of Kiley, designer of more than 1,100 projects (of which "no one really seems to know what remains").

"Now, for those still wondering 'Dan who?' his major public projects range from Dulles Airport to the Dallas Museum of Art, the John F. Kennedy Library in Boston and the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial in St. Louis (site of the Saarinen-designed arch), the Oakland Museum of Art in California, and the South Garden at the Art Institute of Chicago. In fact, Kiley is second only to Olmsted, Sr. for sites that have National Historic Landmark (NHL) status."

"Unfortunately," adds Birnbaum, "Kiley's signature grid design has proved challenging for some stewards and several important projects have been destroyed including the Third Block of Philadelphia's Independence Mall and New York's Lincoln Center. Others are threatened including his commissions for the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in his adopted state of Vermont and the Nelson Atkins Museum in Kansas City. Conversely, some sites are on the road to renewal, most recently Kiley Garden."

With this year's Landslide, a compendium of threatened and at-risk landscapes, dedicated to his legacy and an exbition of his work scheduled to open at Boston Architectural College, Kiley's work may begin to get the attention, and protections, it deserves.

Full Story: Dan Kiley: A great yet little known Modernist


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