Dan Kiley

Jane Amidon

Forthcoming, Fall 2023

Published by Library of American Landscape History 


A volume in the Masters of Modern Landscape Design series



Visionary landscape architect and city planner, Dan Kiley (1912-2004) exerted a foundational, lasting influence on the shape of the American landscape in the second half of the twentieth century. Kiley’s unique version of landscape modernism was characterized by powerful spatial structure defined by exquisite architectural and horticultural detail. His practice took root in the early 1940s and flourished during the post-war period, evolving nationally through the course of seven decades, often in collaboration with eminent modernist architects and planners, engaged clients, and talented office associates. Spanning urban, institutional, recreational, and domestic contexts, the Kiley office produced more than 1,300 built and unbuilt projects, most of them in the United States. These included residences, gardens, civic and urban spaces, corporate and institutional campuses, and city and regional plans.

Throughout the 1960s and well into 1990s, Kiley’s brand of American modernist classicism was sought by global corporate, cultural, and political leaders for flagship design projects, signaling his role as a pivotal figure in the maturing aesthetic of the modern landscape. In 1963 Kiley was elected to the National Academy of Design, and in 1997, he was awarded the National Medal of Arts, the highest honor given for achievement in the arts in the United States. In 2000, the Miller House in Columbus, Indiana, and its garden—perhaps Kiley’s best known work–were designated a National Historic Landmark. In her new biography, Jane Amidon, a former professional associate of Kiley’s, traces the course of the life and artistic development of this most influential practitioner, focusing in particular on fifteen of his most significant projects, from the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial in St. Louis to Fountain Place in Dallas.

JANE AMIDON is professor of landscape architecture and director of the urban landscape program at the Northeastern University School of Architecture. The author of several books, edited collections, and essays addressing the contemporary urban landscape, she specializes in environmental design and creating sustainable cites.