Daniel Urban Kiley, NCNB Plaza in Tampa


Daniel Urban Kiley was born in Boston, Massachusetts in 1912. The New York Times called him a “Seminal Landscape Architect who combined modernist functionalism with classical design principles”. Kiley attended Harvard School of Design but did not complete his studies because he felt that the school didn’t focus enough on the modern aesthetic. Most of his work was greatly influenced by Warren H. Manning and the famous Gardens of Andre Le Notre. 


In 1988, Kiley and architect Harry Wolf came together and designed a park in the city of Tampa, Florida. Originally named the North Carolina National Bank Plaza, The garden was well maintained for the first few years of it’s existence but it fell into disrepair because it was later abandoned. In 2010, it was restored and renamed the Kiley Garden. The park was built upon the ideas of geometry, which Kiley believed central to design. In an Interview with Landscape Architect Michael Van Valkenburgh, Kiley said, “All nature is geometric, the universe is geometry, and the more we discover the more we see how everything is related.”


Kiley designed grids of concrete filled with grass and rows of trees that were taken from the buildings’ measurements. The whole site, including the buildings, was based on the Fibonacci sequence -nature’s way of arranging proportions and patterns. Throughout the garden Kiley uses the Fibonacci sequence, revealing and reflecting nature.


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