Cummins Workplace Tour

Experience the workplaces of Cummins Inc. that have been woven into the architectural fabric of downtown Columbus since the company was founded in 1919. See how the Cummins story intertwines with the city’s design history through a long tradition of adaptive reuse. Step inside a lobby with an illuminated sculptural ceiling designed by Alexander Girard within a 19th century office building and linger in Eero Saarinen’s iconic Irwin Union Trust Bank, which has found new life as the Cummins Irwin Conference Center. Then see how Cummins building projects have shaped the city’s more recent architectural legacy at the Corporate Office Building, built by Roche-Dinkeloo around Cummins’ first engine factory (itself once a cereal mill), and the Cummins Commons Office Building, designed by Koetter Kim in 2009.


Family Legacy Tour

Trace the influences of business leaders, philanthropists, and architectural patrons from some of Columbus’ most prominent families. The contributions made by four generations of the Irwin-Sweeney-Miller family to Columbus’ worldwide reputation for architecture and design define our path through downtown Columbus, starting at at the Irwin family home (now known as the Inn at Irwin Gardens) and continuing through Eliel Saarinen’s First Christian Church, Henry Moore’s Large Arch, and Alexander Girard’s interior design at 301 Washington Street. Then tour Skidmore, Owings and Merrill’s Republic Newspaper building, a lasting reminder of the Brown family of newspaper publishers’ special relationship with Myron Goldsmith. While getting an inside look at this National Historic Landmark, learn about the building’s new purpose as the home of Indiana University’s J. Irwin Miller Architecture Program.


Created exclusively for the 2018 National Symposium, the Family Legacy Tour and Cummins Workplace Tour went behind the scenes and set the stage for how Columbus secured its place as an architectural mecca and earned the nickname the “Athens of the Prairie.”

Religion Made Modern Tour

Thursday 27 September

Columbus’ modern design history begins with Eliel and Eero Saarinen’s First Christian Church, completed in 1942. This tour will visit three of Columbus’ National Historic Landmarks and goes off the beaten the path to trace the modern movement in Columbus through the religious institutions that came afterwards. After a first stop at First Christian Church, we will visit North Christian Church by Eero Saarinen, with interior fittings by Alexander Girard, and First Baptist Church by Harry Weese, both with landscapes designed by Dan Kiley.


Cummins Manufacturing Tour

Thursday 27 September

Cummins Inc.’s visionary design doesn’t stop with diesel engines: their buildings - from engine plants to health centers - are landmarks of architecture and landscape. During this tour guests will visit sites that are usually off-limits to visitors, including Engine Plant Gate 96, where you’ll see the interaction of successive expansions by Harry Weese and Kevin Roche and trace the remnants of Dan Kiley’s landscape. Stops will also include Harry Weese’s Cummins Technical Center and the Cummins Childhood Development Center, designed by Carlos Jiménez Studio in collaboration with CSO architects. A close-up view of manufacturing is included that highlights building renovation. Get a peek of Cummins’ past, including an Indianapolis 500 race car with graphics designed by Harry Weese (yes, really!).

Connecting the Space Between: Landscapes Tour

Friday 28 September

Explore the landscape designs that enrich Columbus’ built environment. We start with Michael Van Valkenburgh’s expansive Mill Race Park, a design that makes space for recreation while honoring the site’s ecology and its heritage as an industrial site. Then the focus shifts to Dan Kiley’s extensive work in Columbus, including his design related to the Cummins Technical Center and the former Cummins Occupational Health Association building. The tour makes a stop at the grounds of North Christian Church before ending in the classicizing atmosphere of the 19th century Roman-style garden at Irwin Gardens.


Business and Leisure Tour

Friday 28 September

Meet at the Commons and we will see the Cummins Irwin Conference Center, otherwise known as Columbus’ first modern bank, Eero Saarinen’s Irwin Union Bank & Trust. Venture out to East Columbus to see Paul Kennon’s striking State Street bank building, then the Harry Weese-designed bank known locally as the “Dead Horse” and Deborah Berke’s transcendent Creekview bank branch, which was the star of the “Columbus” movie. See how Weese designs for leisure at the Hamilton Ice Rink and take a well-deserved break at Weese’s Otter Creek clubhouse. Kick back with a drink overlooking the golf course designed by Robert Trent Jones.


Fire Stations Tour

Saturday 29 September

Explore the history of fire station design in Columbus and see how form has played a leading role in shaping station functions in innovative and surprising ways. The tour starts at Fire Station No. 1 by Leighton Bowers, and then we’re on our way to see the playfulness of Robert Venturi’s postmodern icon, Fire Station No. 4. This building is one of Venturi’s earliest building projects and a harbinger of his later style. After seeing Columbus-based Wood & Burd’s 1983 Fire Station No. 3, we have the rare opportunity to visit Fire Station No. 5 with the architect herself, Susana Torre, who was the first woman to be invited to design a public building in Columbus.


Design for Education and Play: Columbus Schools Tour

Presented by Prudon & Partners, LLC

Saturday 29 September

Columbus’ outstanding investment in good design began with its schools. Faced with growing post-war population, the Cummins Foundation Architecture Program was started to support the building of innovative schools by up-and-coming architects, sparking Columbus’ architectural renaissance. Get an inside look at the exuberant variety of mid-century approaches to school design, from the traditional classroom to the most experimental open plan. Highlights include Schmitt Elementary by Harry Weese (the first school built under the Cummins Foundation program in 1957), John Carl Warnecke’s McDowell School (now a National Historic Landmark), Gunnar Birkerts’ Lincoln Elementary (AIA Honor Award, 1970), the brutalist Southside Elementary by Eliot Noyes, and the colorful “gerbil tubes” of John Johansen’s innovative Smith Elementary School.

Explore further with these rare experiences are designed to take you inside the rich fabric of the Columbus community.

Miller House and Garden Tour

Following a brief introductory video, participants will receive a 90-minute guided tour of the Miller House and Garden, created by architect Eero Saarinen, designer Alexander Girard, and landscape architect Dan Kiley. A hallmark of modern design, this residence is considered one of the most important mid-century modern homes in the country – often short-listed alongside The Glass House and The Farnsworth House.

NOTE: This tour must be booked through the Columbus Area Visitors Center. Tours will run throughout the week @ $25/person. The Visitors Center anticipates adding additional tour times as spots are booked. Transportation provided.

Design Gallery Tour / Newfields

Wednesday 26 September

The Indianapolis Museum of Art’s 11,000-square-foot Design Gallery is the largest collection gallery devoted to modern and contemporary design of any museum in the country. Join Shelley Selim, Associate Curator of Design and Decorative Arts, for a tour of the recently renovated gallery, now featuring a thematic reinterpretation that offers fresh insights into the versatile design process—from inspiration to production. A rotation of more than 150 new objects will be on display, many of which are recent acquisitions being shown for the first time. Newfields’ famed Miller House and Garden assumes a greater presence in the gallery with a fully immersive virtual reality experience. This joins several other new interactive spaces, including an 800-square-foot Design Lab where guests can design prototypes using analog and digital tools and try out some of the furniture on display.

Miller House and Garden Archives Tour / Newfields

Wednesday 26 September

The Miller House and Garden in Columbus, Indiana, is one of the country’s most highly regarded mid-century Modernist residences. The Miller House was designed by Eero Saarinen, with interiors by Alexander Girard and landscape design by Daniel Urban Kiley. When Newfields acquired the home in 2009, its comprehensive records were transferred to the IMA Archives. Join Alba Fernandez-Keys, Head Librarian, and Lydia Spotts, Associate Archivist/Librarian, for a tour of the archives’ “greatest hits,” including original design drawings, floor plans, and color stories.

Documentary Screening and Q&A with Eric Saarinen at Yes Cinema

Thursday 27 September

The award-winning documentary, Eero Saarinen: The Architect Who Saw the Future explores the life and visionary work of Finnish-American modernist architectural giant Eero Saarinen. Best known for designing National Historic Landmarks such as St. Louis’ iconic Gateway Arch, North Christian Church and the Miller House in Columbus, and the General Motors Technical Center in Michigan. Following the screening, participate in a Q&A with Saarinen’s son, director of photography and co-producer Eric Saarinen, ASC. Eric will also preview his upcoming documentary project that explores the work of his grandfather, Eliel Saarinen. Individual tickets are available for purchase at the event location.

Eero Saarinen: The Architect Who Saw the Future is a co-production of Peter Rosen Productions, Inc. and PBS American Masters.

Opening Night Party at the Upland Columbus Pump House

Thursday 27 September

A ticket to the Opening Night Party is included in 4-day and 3-day symposium packages. Individual tickets are available for purchase at the Columbus Pump House on the day of the event ($75).

Book your Miller House and Garden through the Columbus Area Visitors Center, join symposium attendees at the Opening Night Party at the Upland Columbus Pump House, grab a ticket to a showing of Eero Saarinen: The Architect Who Saw the Future, and more.