the miller house (should be more famous)

just the most incredible house i've ever visited...and i've visited a lot of the biggies.

someone else's

...but pictures don't do it justice. for the first time in a long time, a prolonged state of wonder, wandering from space to space, detail to detail.

everyone should experience this house.

not kidding.

Jun 27, 08 11:35 pm

um, architect? very nice, steven

Jun 28, 08 12:46 am  · 

Yeah, SW, I saw the pictures on your flickr set earlier tonight and also wondered 'who?' and 'where?' I see on someone else's flickr set that it is in your neck of the woods (louis, ky).

Thanks for sharing.

Jun 28, 08 1:48 am  · 

Is it vacant? Being redone? In some of the other guy's pictures it almost looks like you'd expect to find squatters there.

(omg, that just brought to mind an image posted by mdler in another thread)

Jun 28, 08 1:55 am  · 

yep, as oldfogey said, jose oubrerie was the architect: cohort of corb, recently finished the project he and corb worked on together, the chapel at firminy:

when this house was done he was dean at the university of kentucky school of architecture. he's now at ohio state university.

the house is vacant now, and in disrepair. one of the millers died, the other remarried and moved elsewhere and the house went derelict for several years. 90% of the windows were broken out, the floors got damaged by rain, the basement got flooded, and the house got tagged in many places.

a couple years ago a subdivision developer bought the property and planned to demolish it for more houses, but a local outcry has put it on life support. a foundation has been established which was able to buy the house itself (on a reduced site), stabilize it, replace the windows, and is now working on cleanup and renovation. the intention is to use it as an arts/cultural hub, a place for symposia and similar events and for an arts-in-residency program. the way the house is set up is conducive to it being zoned into separate studio areas.

the level of detail in this place is incredible to the point of obsessive. in wandering around, i became obsessed with the continuous restatement of one particular detail throughout the whole house - rendered in a variety of materials and situations.

our governor's school for the arts class spent the day there doing minor repairs and cleaning up the house and property.

Jun 28, 08 7:05 am  · 

oh, and cool you were there then, oldfogey. i know several others that were too. i'm sure we share some aquaintances.

Jun 28, 08 7:07 am  · 

Looks like late Le Corbusier style as Composite Order--Villa Shodham meets Heidi Weber Pavilion meets Chandigarh tapestries.

What was the year of construction?

Evokes some memories of Graves' Syndermann House.

Jun 28, 08 9:21 am  · 
won and done williams

why are these millers so damn fortunate and have such good taste?

Jun 28, 08 10:31 am  · 
brian buchalski

it's because the millers are "top base runners"

Jun 28, 08 11:11 am  · 
vado retro

my uncle who married my mom's sister is a miller. my dad's sister married a miller too. none of them own these cribs.

Jun 28, 08 11:36 am  · 
vado retro

also the man who established the cummins foundation that brought all the high design to columbus indiana was named miller as well. there is money in heavy machinery kids. that monet that sold for 80 mil recently came from his collection i believe...

Jun 28, 08 11:40 am  · 

I'm a student at UK but the latest I've heard about the Miller House is that local architect Scott Guyon, former UK graduate has purchased the place. If this is true it's good to know it's in the right hands.
Jose lectured this spring at our school and one student asked how he felt about the current state/condition of the Miller House. Jose's comment seemed to state that , at a certain point you have to let things go. Overall, the house is amazing and the structural engineer is still a structures teacher at UK. cool house.

Jun 28, 08 11:42 am  · 

i like how the main circulation integrates and enhances each of the spaces it winds through, almost making the circulation a room in and of itself.

Jun 28, 08 1:29 pm  · 

There's a great spread on it in American Masterworks.

I have fond memories of Jose from my time at OSU. He's a great resource for the school and a great person and architect. Its a shame he hasn't built more...

He did the French Embassy in Damascus which is very, very nice. Can't find any pics of it though.

Jun 28, 08 3:45 pm  · 

Love the house...

Jun 28, 08 7:08 pm  · 

bob (mylarkid) is right.
I'm also a student at UK but have yet to go out there....
Scott Guyen and Clyde Carpenter went in on the house together and are currently trying to get more funding and stuff for repairs. there are alot of people that are working on it right now and trying to get it to the point where they can sell it. so if anyone out there has a few extra million sitting around.........

and yes. peyman is a rockstar. oh the tail he gets....

Jun 29, 08 5:15 pm  · 

Would that include you?

Jun 29, 08 8:38 pm  · 

meta, there definitely is not an un-detailed or standardized face in the home - not even the ceiling. we made note of that while we were there. EVERY inch is resolved, every surface and intersection.

i would almost buy your comments about 'modernist drafting' except that, at least as i understand it, this is not exactly how this house worked out. the explanation to me was that there was no complete c.d. set. from that i have to speculate that there was a concrete set, there was some field observation that figured out the result, then there was a steel set, more field obs, another set adding another layer, etc. a lot of things appear to have been worked out in the field - but always with the bigger concept in mind. the spiral theme that runs through the house is (maddeningly/obsessively) seen at EVERY LEVEL of detail. a lot of field craft and cutting-and-fitting here, i'd guess.


scott guyon and michael speaks came out while we were there. the foundation to which i referred to was put together by guyon and he's now working on getting events going during the remainder of the cleanup/fixup. a uk studio was already out there last semester.

Jun 30, 08 12:35 am  · 

I spent a day romping around inside the Miller House. I agree that it should be a more famous U.S. residence- few like it and very few done in this style (cubist modern?, Corbusian?) in our country. If it falls into ruin, maybe it will be 're'discovered before it gets totally destroyed, which would be good.

Jun 30, 08 5:37 am  · 

sounds like it needs some New Cannan Connecticut backers!

Jun 30, 08 12:15 pm  · 

definitely an impressive and beautifully details house. (unless i missed them from above) are there any drawings available, plans, sections, etc? It's pretty hard for me to get a sense of how the house is organized as well as a sense of scale. how big is this thing? it looks like it could be huge and yet some of the photos allude to it being very small intimate and compact.

Jun 30, 08 1:01 pm  · 

"Ah, Detailotheca, the nimiety of detail museum."

"If only all architecture were so self-evident."

"I know. It never really was a house, was it?"

"True, but it's actually two museums."

"Ah yes, the Reenactment of Late Le Corbusier Style Museum as well."

Jun 30, 08 3:24 pm  · 

ether - the house was featured in an issue of GA Houses back just after it was built. that should have the most complete documentation that is probably available. let's see which -

2001 Miller House in GA Houses Special Masterpieces 1971-2000 Volume 2 Yukio Futagawa

prairie avenue books has it in stock - 57 clams.

Jun 30, 08 8:47 pm  · 

it was also the cover house for GA Houses #35. still in print, probably a little less money.

Jun 30, 08 8:50 pm  · 
Kendall Starr

There was a pretty good article on the Miller House in the last Oxford American, I believe.

Jun 30, 08 8:52 pm  · 
drums please, Fab?

william stout architectural books

GA Houses 35 for $35

i'd buy it but i'm broke

Jun 30, 08 11:04 pm  · 

thanks for the heads up, folks!

Jul 1, 08 12:22 am  · 


thanks for sharing your pics, i've always wanted to Visit Miller house. how did you gain access to the structure, is it open to the public?

Jul 1, 08 10:51 am  · 

if you volunteer to help with cleanup, fixup, or, better yet, bring 20 kids willing to work hard, it's open. contact scott guyon's office to arrange.

Jul 1, 08 2:08 pm  · 

pretty amazing building. i worked with jose for a few months last year collecting, scanning, and archiving sketches, photos, and drawings....

the article in GA really just scratches the surface. those are definitely the best drawings that have been published, but they're not entirely accurate.

Jul 1, 08 5:28 pm  · 
liberty bell

I just went and saw it myself, peeking through the windows as it is not open and unoccupied. Watched some fireworks over it, too.

It's a masterpiece. As one of my two brilliant co-teachers said, it's like a piece of furniture that kept building up until it became a house.

Awesome. I want/need to get inside it.

Jul 3, 08 1:10 am  · 

I apparently grew up 90 miles away from this and didn't know it existed. Thanks for pointing this out Steven. It looks really amazing. And massive too, isn't it? Wow. Is it as imposing in person as it seems in the photos?

Fogey I didn't know you went to UK. I've got friends that graduated from there.....

Jul 3, 08 3:05 am  · 

so apparently kentucky has a lot more going for it than you might think. first i meet a couple of awesome young architects from kentucky, then i hear that one of my professors taught there, and now this. i think i might need to take a little trip down to this mini-architecture-mecca in the appalachians.

Jul 3, 08 4:58 pm  · 

no appalachians around here, nic. it's all horse country between louisville and lexington: rolling bluegrass landscape. the mountains are farther east.

Jul 3, 08 5:12 pm  · 

lb, we should try to arrange to go back when i'm back in. the outside is NOTHING compared to walking around inside.

Jul 3, 08 5:24 pm  · 
vado retro

the kings thoughts on KeNtUcKy!

Jul 3, 08 5:32 pm  · 

I know someone who worked on this with Obrerie...found that out years after having bought the GA Houses #35 on it.

Jul 4, 08 11:17 pm  · 

Kentucky is hot watch out.

good news with the Miller House check out the new
Foundation for Advanced Architecture website!

off topic but also hot in Kentucky:

also there was a recent 48hr collaboration with UK students: Paul Pressiner, Heather Flood + Ramiro Diaz Granados, and local faculty Mike and Liz Swanson Mckay.

on the local Newspaper Website:

on suckerPUNCH:

Jul 26, 08 1:33 am  · 

sorry should be stated "UK Students + ...."

Jul 26, 08 1:36 am  · 

while the comments in the news article are ridiculous and funny, they are also a good/accurate indicaiton of what those fighting the centerpointe project are up against. hoo boy...

thanks for the foundation link, mylarkid! it may or may not note in that site that last semester the graduate class from uk developed a full measured set of documentation of the miller house.

Jul 26, 08 7:14 am  · 

a little self promotion never hurt.... just posted my thoughts on the house to my school blog... a short essay i wrote last year while working for Jose organizing materials about the project. I'd be interested in your thoughts....


Aug 26, 08 6:11 pm  · 

nice analysis.

the interior/central 'plaza' is still in evidence when you're there, though maybe not in the same location and form it started. between the two units behind the brise-soleil is the central platform that overlooks the fireplace and has a bench, a sink, a hotplate, and direct access to the large terrace, all making it very clearly a commons.

what do you know about the spirals? i'm obsessed with the spirals.

Aug 26, 08 9:12 pm  · 
liberty bell

And the crazy sink with its plumbing hanging out in space, as Steven mentioned. What was that secondary kitchen space used for?

Two months of studying the drawings, concepts, and photographs...I wonder what your experience, Evan, would be like to now see the house in real life? I hope to hear that story whenever you get the chance to visit it.

Also, I'm intensely curious what the original site plan and approach to the house were intended to be. It's been radically altered now, as the surrounding land has been carved into salable suburban lots. I think there used to be a pond? I can't recall if the GA35 has the original site plan or not.

Aug 26, 08 9:31 pm  · 

you can see a little bit more of the original configuration on google satellite images. the approach was from a completely different place than i had guessed when i was out there!

Aug 26, 08 9:40 pm  · 
liberty bell

Wow, Steven, you're right. I figured you came in along the treeline from the southwest, with the pond to your left.

How bizarre that the road seems to sneak between two suburban houses to get to the driveway!

I don't know how to link to specific google earth views, sorry guys. but if you can find it, what's shown is not at all what is existing now. We're lucky (the world, that is) that the house itself still exists at all! Damn suburban vandals.

Aug 26, 08 10:24 pm  · 
drums please, Fab?

thanks for the post, Evan

any chance some of those archives will be published? would love to see the design process/evolution of this house ..

Aug 27, 08 11:32 pm  · 

SW forgive me for ever making less than favourable comments about middle America, that house is amazing. I'd spend my inheritance to stay there for a weekend

Aug 28, 08 1:57 am  · 

there was some talk of a book, yes, but i have no idea when (or if) it'll happen...

Aug 28, 08 2:35 am  · 

yeah, techno, some people just say things because they don't know any better. ; )

Aug 28, 08 7:50 am  · 

img from GA Houses #35

Aug 28, 08 10:05 am  · 

It's such a shame that a house not even 20 years old is left vacant and open to such vandalism. This is a new structure. 1991 wasn't that long ago. It's a shame.

Aug 28, 08 10:58 am  · 

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