Kiley Garden, Tampa, FL



United States

Kiley Garden


This 4.5 acre plaza, once part of the NationsBank corporate headquarters, sits atop a two-level parking garage between a 33-story tower and two six-story bank pavilions overlooking the Hillsborough River and the University of Tampa. The complex of gardens and buildings, completed in 1988, was designed by architect Harry Wolf and Dan Kiley. The design is based upon the Fibonacci mathematical sequence, whereby beginning with the numbers zero and one, each subsequent number is the sum of the previous two. Kiley used the sequence to determine the plaza’s checkerboard pattern of grass and concrete panels. Eight feet above street grade, the garden is accessed by steps and a concrete ramp which cross over five rectangular pools, each containing an island with an individual tree. Once inside the garden, five palm allées served as central avenues, with 800 randomly spaced crepe myrtles planted underneath. The plaza’s seating cubes also reinforce the grid. Nine narrow concrete runnels originate from circular basins with bubblers and cross the site, culminating at a 400-foot long plexiglass bottomed canal. A water garden near the Tampa Museum of Art was designed as a children’s play area, with plantings of jasmine, parkinsonia and dwarf yaupon hollies. Reconstruction of the garden began in 2006, including the removal of the sabal palms and crepe myrtles, structural, electrical, and drainage repairs, reconstruction of the plaza’s small amphitheater, and garden surface reconstruction, re-paved to the original patterns. Plans to replace the crepe myrtles and palms have currently stalled due to a lack of funding. 

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