Ode to a Forward-Thinking America: Columbus, Indiana
It comes as no surprise to followers of midcentury modernism that Columbus, Indiana, is one of the most important design destinations in America. A laboratory of ideas spurred in the 1940s and 1950s by the patronage of the forward-thinking Miller family and its Cummins Engine Foundation, the city of 46,000 is home to a staggering number of public works created by the most recognizable names in 20th-century architecture: Saarinen, Roche, Weese, Noyes, Pei, and Pelli, among many others. The city demonstrates how an enlightened practice of culture can alter history and change lives. Here, we present but a tiny glimpse of Columbus and nod to its future.
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"As an architect, when I face Saint Peter I am able to say that out of the buildings I did during my lifetime, one of the best was this little church." Eero Saarinen, architect
"Here they don’t say things like, ‘That doesn’t look like a church,’ or ‘That doesn’t look like a school.’ If there is criticism, it is more along the lines of saying what doesn’t work well, and you can’t ask for a better climate than that." J. Irwin Miller, Columbus resident and patron of the arts, 1976
"There is really no equivalent of Columbus anywhere—there is no other place in which a single philanthropist has placed so much faith in architecture as a means for civic engagement." Paul Goldberger, architecture critic