Columbus, Indiana National Historic Landmarks Theme Study

Columbus, Indiana National Historic Landmark Theme Study for Modernism in Architecture, Landscape Architecture, Design and Art, Bartholomew County, Indiana 1942 - 1999


storrow kinsella associates led the effort to research and develop the Columbus, Indiana National Historic Landmark Theme Study. Two major contexts were developed:

  • Patronage in Public Architecture in Bartholomew County, 1957 - 1965
  • Modernist Architecture, Landscape Architecture Design, and Art in Bartholomew County
Patronage Theme

The patronage program for support of modernist public architecture originated with the vision of J. Irwin Miller, then CEO of the Cummins Engine Company, a Columbus-based diesel engine manufacturer, and the town's major employer. He initiated the program largely for the good of the company, reasoning that good design in the public realm, particularly for schools, encouraged the attraction and retention of a quality workforce through the incentive of a quality environment. It was an early manifestation of the economic development/quality of life linkage, and as such, has widely influenced attitudes about corporate responsibility towards community development. The program fostered an outstanding design sensibility in the community, resulting in private sector construction of additional Modern architecture resources.

Modernist Design Theme

Since 1942 over sixty structures and numerous other resources have been designed by the country's leading practitioners in architecture, landscape architecture, urban design and public art. The result has been an extraordinary representation of mid-to-late twentieth century design.

This exceptional collection of Modern buildings, landscapes, and public sculpture reflects the development of these design idioms on a national basis. Many of the designers experimented with concepts and design forms in Columbus that they then applied to larger and more famous works elsewhere. These cultural resources reflect the design trends of the period in which they were constructed in response to a quest for excellence in design and creative problem solving. There is a broad cross-section of designers represented, and the works are integrated into the community as schools, factories, office buildings, churches, government buildings, parks, bridges, homes and gardens.