Roche’s spirit endures in Columbus with designs

Columbus lost one of its legends recently. Not a resident, but one whose presence is still alive and well.

Acclaimed Irish-born architect Kevin Roche died March 1 at age 96.

For those who don’t know the name or the man, they know his work if they spend any time walking around downtown Columbus.

The U.S. Post Office at Fourth and Jackson Streets was designed by Roche.

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Cummins Inc.’s corporate headquarters at Fifth and Jackson … a Roche design, too.

Roche started as a design associate for famed Modern architect Eero Saarinen on industrialist and philanthropist J. Irwin Miller’s house on Washington Street, and helped complete the North Christian Church project after Saarinen’s death.

Among Roche’s other notable designs in Columbus are the Irwin Union Bank & Trust Company Office Building in 1972, which was the addition to Saarinen’s 1954 Irwin Union Bank at Washington and Fifth streets, and Cummins Midrange Engine Plant at Walesboro in 1973.

Although Roche didn’t live here, he had a significant impact on the city’s built environment. His designs, which have become well known, have contributed to the city’s renowned design heritage and many examples of Modern architecture.

Roche is gone, but his spirit endures. You can see it all around.