Into the Hedge Temporary Landmark / SO-IL
Text description provided by the architects. As one of the J. Irwin and Xenia S. Miller Prize recipients of the second edition of Exhibit Columbus, SO – IL took on the preservation effort at the Miller House and Garden and turned it into a temporary landmark for play in the city of Columbus, Indiana. The Arbor Vitae hedgerow at the Miller Garden is a modern icon of landscape and architecture. While the glass walls of Saarinen’s Miller House disappear – erasing the boundary between inside and outside – the densely planted hedgerow on the perimeter defines a hard edge to the site between the streets and the private grounds of the Miller residence.
The 70-year-old Arbor Vitae trees are due to be replaced. It was an opportunity for a project to create a different and more engaging relationship with this modern icon. In partnership with the Miller House and Garden, SO – IL procured 130 living Arbor Vitae trees and placed them in a large hammock structure on the lawn of the Bartholomew County Courthouse.
After the exhibition the trees can be permanently planted in the garden, making a direct link between the installation’s original architectural inspiration and a contribution to the stewardship of one of Columbus, Indiana’s seven National Historic Landmarks. The over-sized hammock is made by hand with nylon webbing – its color is taken from the color palette Alexander Girard developed for the dining chairs at the Miller House.
Through a partnership with Indianapolis’ People for Urban Progress, the net will go on to become a series of handbags and totes or even beach bags. For the other components of the installation simple off-the-shelf agricultural and construction materials were used to ensure that everything could have a life afterward.
The gabions, mulch, limestone, and stakes that comprise the planters and central pathway will all be recycled into local infrastructure projects. Committed to taking a critical approach to preservation and material use, “Into the Hedge,” temporarily re-organizes the elements of local construction and landscape as well as recognizable modern architecture into a memorable experience and a new landmark.