landscape design dan kiley

Image from the Cultural Landscape Foundation

Despite its unofficial status as the kick-off to summer, Memorial Day claims a much more somber reason as its origin: it is the day in which we honor those who have given their lives while serving in the United States Armed Forces. 

To mark the day, we look at deceased landscape architect Dan Kiley, whose recently-closed exhibition at the National Building Museum chronicled the designer's work on some of the nation's most high-profile public spaces.

lincoln center plaza

Image from the Lincoln Center

A modernist at heart, Kiley 's minimalist landscaping was durable enough to handle public use while remaining delicate enough to honor appropriately the space at hand. From the Saarinen designed Air Force Academy (pictured at the top of this post) to the Lincoln Center (above), he frames natural elements within simple, easy-to-read geometries. 

gateway arch gardens

Image from the Cultural Landscape Foundation

We've talked about how contemporary water fountains can add a sense of cool and calm to your yard. The stillness of Kiley's reflecting pool at the Jefferson Expansion Memorial in St. Louis (above) takes it to another level.

Likewise, we've spoken about how modern landscape lighting lets your enjoy your garden after dark. Kiley utilizes it to the clinical degree expected of public spaces:

fountain place texas

Image from the Cultural Landscape Foundation

So as you head outside this Memorial Day - be it to a public park or a back yard barbecue - enjoy the relative calm of a well-designed outdoor space. And while you're there, take a moment to remember those who have fallen in defense of your homeland. 

Images: Cultural Landscape Foundation, Lincoln Center