Ford Foundation Atrium, New York City, New York
2013: The Landscape Architecture Legacy of Dan Kiley
1912 - 2004

Daniel Urban Kiley

Born in Boston in 1912, Kiley apprenticed with Warren H. Manning for four years before entering the landscape architecture program at Harvard in 1936. While at Harvard, Kiley and classmates Garrett Eckbo and James Rose together explored modernist design. Kiley led in the design innovations, leaving the polemics to Rose and Eckbo. Their joint efforts can be read in three articles published in Architectural Record in 1939 and 1940. Kiley left Harvard in 1938 without graduating.

In 1947, he and Eero Saarinen won the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial Competition, known as the St. Louis Arch; in 1955, again with Saarinen, he designed the Miller garden in Columbus, Indiana. Kiley’s work displays both the monumental clarity of French Baroque gardens and the spatial sensibilities of early post-war American architecture. His use of hedges and walls was influenced by the work of Modernist architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, and his grids of trees owe more to the columnar grid of contemporary architecture than to early designers such as Le Nôtre.

Unlike many of his contemporaries, Kiley never wrote nor taught. On the advice of Warren Manning, he never joined the American Society of Landscape Architects.

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