Saarinen-designed home donated to Indianapolis Museum of Art

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kandersen
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Saarinen-designed home donated to Indianapolis Museum of Art

Postby kandersen » Wed Nov 19, 2008 8:43 am

From the Indianapolis Star:

The Indianapolis Museum of Art has acquired another major work of art: the Miller House and Garden in Columbus.

Known as one of Indiana's most significant architectural sites, the house and garden will undergo a major renovation and eventually be opened to the public.


IMA officials on Tuesday announced the donation by the family of J. Irwin Miller, who served as president and later chairman of Cummins Corp., and his wife, Xenia Simons Miller. The benefactors also have pledged $5 million toward a planned $8 million endowment for the house and surrounding grounds.

Built in 1957, the roughly 7,000-square-foot Miller House is considered one of the finest examples in the nation of the modernist movement, with an open layout and flat roof above glass and stone walls. It was designed by Eero Saarinen, with landscaping by Daniel Urban Kiley and interiors by Alexander Girard, and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 2000.

Among its striking features are a sunken-level square conversation pit bordered on all four sides by cushioned seats and floor-to-ceiling living room bookcases. The seven-bedroom home was built to showcase Mrs. Miller's contemporary and impressionist art collection.

"Since we understand it's an important piece of architecture and design, particularly for the mid-20th-century modernism, and because of the role it plays in the history of design, it would be a good thing to ensure that it's preserved and made accessible to the public," said Will Miller, one of J. Irwin and Xenia Simons Miller's five children.

Unlike other famous mid-century homes -- such as Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater in Mill Run, Pa., Mies van der Rohe's Farnsworth House in Plano, Ill., and Philip Johnson's Glass House in New Canaan, Conn. -- the Miller House was not just a summer home or weekend getaway. It was the primary residence for the Miller family for more than 50 years until Xenia Simons Miller's death in February. J. Irwin Miller died in 2004.

Will Miller called the house "a very warm, wonderful place to grow up."

"This house, it was 24/7 -- winter, summer, spring. It's a real home that people lived in and spent their lives in."

Miller said they chose the IMA to be stewards of the house because of its track record of maintaining the Lilly House and development of the forthcoming Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park, both on the museum's 152-acre campus.

The IMA plans to raise $3 million to complete the endowment and an additional $2 million for an 18-month renovation of the house. This will include finding vintage furniture from the late 1950s and early '60s, according to Maxwell L. Anderson, the IMA's Melvin & Bren Simon director and CEO.

The renovation effort will be spearheaded by R. Craig Miller, the museum's curator of design arts and director of design initiatives.

"It's one of the great acts that any museum has undertaken in preservation in the last generation," Anderson said. "And as a place to learn about the origins of what we today call modernism, it's really unequaled in terms of what it can provide."

Once the renovation is complete, the IMA will work with the Columbus Area Visitors Center to allow public access to the home and gardens.

Lynn Lucas, executive director of the visitors center, said her group has provided tours of the city's array of architectural landmarks since the early 1960s. Other than social occasions over the years, the Miller House has never been open to the public.

"The whole world, including Columbus, will really be looking forward to having that access. It is a truly unique opportunity," Lucas said.

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classic form
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Postby classic form » Wed Nov 19, 2008 8:47 am

Wonderful news!

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BAZ_MCM
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Postby BAZ_MCM » Sun Nov 23, 2008 7:50 am

Saved this article. The house looks great. You beat me to the post.

All Indy members,

Anyone interested in putting a group together for a trip down to Columbus, IN (once it's ready) to tour this beauty? I know some good spots for lunch down there. It's only 45min drive.

Was just thinking how exciting it is to see Indy gaining some attention in the national MCM community.

Cheers,

-Baz
Mid Century Modernizing the modern world: http://atomicindy.com/

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Postby classic form » Sun Nov 23, 2008 11:17 am

I'm in...well worth the 4-5 hour drive.

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BAZ_MCM
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Postby BAZ_MCM » Sun Nov 23, 2008 11:55 am

Mid Century Modernizing the modern world: http://atomicindy.com/

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BAZ_MCM
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Postby BAZ_MCM » Mon Nov 24, 2008 6:28 am

Here's a link to pictures taken by the Indy Star:

http://www2.indystar.com/autofocus/gall ... ag/staff/3

Third row, center. 11/18/08 J. Irwin Miller House.

N'joy.

-Baz
Mid Century Modernizing the modern world: http://atomicindy.com/

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kandersen
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Postby kandersen » Mon Nov 24, 2008 7:14 am


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moderns-r-us
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Postby moderns-r-us » Mon Nov 24, 2008 8:45 am

This is GREAT news!

I think with this addition to the city's architectural gems that are open for tour it is time for a KC bus trip to Indiana whwn it opens.

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BAZ_MCM
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Postby BAZ_MCM » Tue Nov 25, 2008 8:06 pm

Mid Century Modernizing the modern world: http://atomicindy.com/

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classic form
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Postby classic form » Wed Nov 26, 2008 2:32 am

I'd be coming in from Kalamazoo, Mich. Not really that long of a drive when you think about it.

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Postby tomb » Wed Nov 26, 2008 6:15 am



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