Kiley Gardens is an open plaza that occupies the roof of a parking garage and creates a public green space adjacent to Rivergate Tower. It was the work of landscape architect Dan Kiley, who designed the courtroom where the Nuremberg Trials were held. Kiley is one of two landscape architects in the United State to have been honored with the National Medal of Arts. He used mathematical formulas to create a checkerboard of grass and concrete that comes as close as possible to mirroring the size and proportion of the window patterns of the adjacent 33-story tall Rivergate Tower and six-story pavilions.
Kiley Gardens features a checkerboard pattern of grass and concrete that mirrors the nearby Rivergate Tower.
Backstory and Context
Kiley Gardens was built in 1988 at the same time that the tower and pavilions were built. Initially it was called NationsBank Plaza. As noted above, Kiley used math to design it. Specifically, he used the Fibonacci sequence which is a pattern that begins at zero and continues where each subsequent number is the sum of the previous two. The public can access the plaza via steps on the north and east sides, and on the riverwalk on the west side. Originally, the area along Ashley Drive in front of one of the pavilions featured shallow pools and a 400-foot plexiglass bottomed canal (people could walk under it). This area is now used for parking. Water also used to flow in circular basins and channels.
By the late 1990s, water leakage had damaged the plaza and substructure. The work to repair the site started in 2006 using plans developed by landscape architect Ron Sill. During the reconstruction process, the sabal palm trees and crepe myrtle trees were removed. It is hoped that they can be replanted and other improvements, such as restoring the water fountains, can be made as well. An organization called the Friends of Kiley Garden is working towards raising funds to fully restore the plaza.
"Kiley Garden." AIA Tampa Bay. Accessed October 29, 2016. http://tourtampabayarchitecture.com/page_2-html.
Leone, Jared. "Renowned architect restores Tampa's famed Kiley Gardens." Tampa Bay Times. October 21, 2010. http://www.tampabay.com/news/growth/renowned-architect-restores-tampas-famed-kiley-gardens/1129290.