This weekend area residents have a tremendous opportunity to participate in an event that is befitting the international reputation of Columbus for its architecture.

The inaugural Exhibit Columbus architecture and design symposium is Thursday through Saturday, spread among three locations in the city.

Washington, D.C.-based American Institute of Architects has ranked Columbus sixth in the nation for architectural innovation and design.

Not surprisingly, architecture is one of the main drivers of tourism in the city. Thus, Exhibit Columbus is a perfect fit.

Top architects and design experts will give presentations Friday at The Commons and Saturday at First Christian Church during the symposium, “Foundations and Futures.” What’s notable is that many of the topics should have broad appeal, such as:

  • Works of famous architects — some of whom have designed buildings in Columbus
  • The unique designs of some local schools
  • Modern architecture
  • Architecture in everyday life
  • The ties between architecture and industry

The presentations offer people a chance to learn more about the city’s architectural gems, how they add to the community and the impact of J. Irwin Miller.

Miller, the late Cummins executive, philanthropist and architectural champion, launched the Cummins-funded architectural program that since 1942 has recruited top building designers to work on public buildings.

The other notable aspect of Exhibit Columbus is the public gallery exhibition Thursday at the IU Center for Art + Design of the works of the 10 finalists for the J. Irwin and Xenia S. Miller Prize. Five winners will be chosen and their creations will be displayed in various locations of the city from August through November 2017.

Event officials said they expected up to 1,000 attendees for the symposium, and for next year’s temporary art and architecture installations to draw upward of 10,000 people. That would be a great start.

And you can be part of the inaugural event, too, learning a bit more about an aspect of the Columbus that not only aids functionality but enhances quality of life with aesthetic attributes.

If you go

Exhibit Columbus Highlights


6-8 p.m.: The Miller Prize Competition Finalists, IU Center for Art + Design, 310 Jackson St. Free; no ticket required.


9 a.m. to 7:45 p.m.: multiple presentations and panel discussion at The Commons, 300 Washington St.

This day’s programming includes the free panel discussion, “Architecture in Everyday Life,” 5:20 to 7:45 p.m. with architects Deborah Berke, Michael Van Valekenburgh and Robert A.M. Stern with moderator Will Miller.


9 a.m. to 5 p.m.: multiple presentations and panel discussions at First Christian Church, 536 Fifth St.

Tickets for the Friday-Saturday symposium cost $35 for one day and $60 for two; university students cost $10 per day. Order tickets online at by clicking “register” on the left column and then “register now” at the bottom.”