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Dan Kiley – The Great Designer Behind Fountain Place – Featured In Touring Exhibition

by Jerome Weeks 21 Nov 2013 11:33 AM

Fountain Place has been called his masterpiece. It’s now one of 28 of his designs celebrated in an exhibition.


fountain placeFountain Place photo by Alan Ward

The Cultural Landscape Foundation, which is dedicated to preserving and increasing awareness of America’s historic landscapes — they’re the people who put the Nasher garden on their top 10 endangered list last year —  has opened an exhibition on The Landscape Architecture Legacy of Dan Kiley at Boston Architectural College. It moves to Washington, D.C. in February.

Hmm. No dates set for a North Texas appearance. Too bad, because Kiley gave us what The New Yorker has called his masterpiece with Fountain Place. Forget the Dallas Morning News’ predictable list of what tourists should visit (NorthPark Center? Really?). You want a moment of complete peace in the midst of downtown’s traffic and noise? Want to bliss out in what is, essentially, a gorgeous, cascading version of a Japanese Zen garden? Find the blue-green skyscraper that’s pointed like a rocket and go to where it meets the earth. Nestled inside the I. M. Pei-designed building’s three giant legs holding it up is Fountain Place. Easily the most distinguished tower in downtown, the tower is named after Kiley’s design these day, to give you some idea of the plaza’s rep.

Kiley also designed the very modernist grounds around the Dallas Museum of Art, including the sculpture garden (yes, Dallas had a sculpture garden before the Nasher). So we’re blessed with two of his designs — two blocks from each other.