Homes of the Stars: the Sagaponac Experience

Paul Goldberger 

In the late nineteen-fifties, J. Irwin Miller, the chairman of the Cummins Engine Company, decided to liven up Columbus, Indiana, where his company was based, by commissioning work from famous architects – I. M. Pei, Kevin Roche and Robert Venturi, among others. Pei designed a library, Roche a post office, and Venturi a firehouse. Skidmore, Owings & Merrill designed the city hall. Charles Gwathmey built subsidized housing. Richard Meier and Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer built elementary schools. This made for a place that certainly is not like any other small town in Indiana, but almost none of the buildings rank among their architect’s best work, and Columbus, for all the good intentions, is pretty much the architectural equivalent of one of those art collections that consist of a Henry Moore, a Picasso, a Calder, and a Dali – an assemblage of names rather than a coherent set of works... [+]

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