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Article

Diller Scofidio + Renfro  

Mary M. Tinti

Architecture, design and conceptual art partnership. Diller Scofidio + Renfro [Diller + Scofidio] was formed in 1979 by Elizabeth Diller (b Lodz, Poland, 1954) and Ricardo Scofidio (b New York, NY, 1935) as an interdisciplinary design practice based in New York.

Diller studied at the Cooper Union School of Architecture in New York (BArch, 1979) and then worked as an Assistant Professor of Architecture (1981–90) at the Cooper Union School of Architecture, becoming Associate Professor of Architecture at Princeton University in 1990. Scofidio, who also attended Cooper Union (1952–5), obtained his BArch from Columbia University (1960) and became Professor of Architecture at Cooper Union in 1965. In 1997 Charles Renfro joined the firm and was made partner in 2004, at which point the partnership changed its name to Diller Scofidio + Renfro. While the couple (who are married) initially eschewed traditional architectural projects in favor of installations, set design and landscape design, by the 21st century their firm had received commissions for both new buildings and renovations of existing architecture. Diller and Scofidio were the first architects to receive a MacArthur Foundation fellowship (...

Article

Jensen, Jens  

Robert E. Grese

(b Dybbøl, Denmark, Sept 13, 1860; d Ellison Bay, WI, Oct 1, 1951).

American landscape architect of Danish birth. He began building his reputation as a designer in 1888 when he delighted the Chicago public with his design for the American Garden in Union Park. With it he set the tone for a lifetime of creating natural parks and gardens. During a stormy career with Chicago’s West Parks, Jensen reshaped Union, Humboldt, Garfield, and Douglas parks. His work on Columbus Park (1916) is generally regarded as the best of his designs for Chicago’s West Parks System. During the same period he designed numerous residential gardens for the élite of Chicago and across the Midwest. He established close friendships with the architects of the Prairie school and occasionally collaborated with them on projects.

Throughout his career Jensen attempted to relate forms and materials to the surrounding native landscape. Designs were not intended to be copies of nature, but symbolic representations using colour, texture, sunlight and shadow, seasonal change, and careful manipulation of space to evoke a deep emotional response. He saw a value in plants then thought to be common weeds and used them in ecological patterns as found in the wild. His design of ...

Article

Lin, Maya  

American, 20th–21st century, female.

Active in New York and Colorado.

Born October 1959, in Athens (Ohio).

Sculptor, landscape artist, architect.

Environmental Art, Land Art.

Maya Lin studied architecture at Yale University, obtaining a BA in 1981 and an MA in 1986. In 1987, Yale awarded her an honorary doctorate in fine arts. She taught in the Yale art history department, the school of landscape design at Harvard University, and the Phillips Exeter Academy. She also worked as a design consultant and an architectural designer....

Article

Maclure, Samuel  

Martin Segger

(b Sapperton, New Westminster, BC, April 11, 1860; d Victoria, BC, Aug 8, 1929).

Canadian architect. He was the son of a British Army Royal Engineer and is reputed to have been the first white child born in the city of New Westminster. He was the foremost domestic architect in British Columbia during the period 1890–1920 and established a building style and form that gave Victoria and parts of Vancouver a distinctive Canadian west-coast flavour. Maclure was a self-taught architect, although he briefly studied painting at the Spring Garden Institute, Philadelphia, PA, in 1884–5. He opened his first practice in New Westminster in 1889 and moved to Victoria in 1892, where he had an office. In 1905 a practice was established in Vancouver in partnership with Cecil Croker Fox (1879–1916), who had trained in London with C. F. A. Voysey. The office closed with Fox’s death at the Front in France in 1916. In 1920 the office reopened under Maclure’s former apprentice, ...

Article

Platt, Charles A(dams)  

Keith N. Morgan

(b New York, Oct 16, 1861; d Cornish, NH, Sept 12, 1933).

American architect, garden designer, etcher, and painter. He was brought up in New York, where he began his artistic training in 1878 at the National Academy of Design and the Art Students League. The following summer he was introduced to the recently revived art of etching, and he quickly achieved critical recognition for his work in this medium. He continued to etch for most of his life, concentrating on coastal scenes in which he strove to capture the atmospheric interaction of light, air, and water. In May 1882 Platt travelled to Paris to continue his training as a painter, working first independently and then after 1883 at the Académie Julian under Jules Lefebvre. Although he exhibited The Etcher (Boston, MA, St. Botolph’s Club) at the Paris Salon of 1885, Platt eventually rejected his figural training and turned back to his youthful interest in landscape. On his return to New York, he continued to exhibit his paintings and etchings, and in ...

Article

Platt, Charles Adams  

American, 19th – 20th century, male.

Born 16 October 1861, in New York; died 12 September 1933, in Cornish.

Painter, engraver, architect, garden designer. Seascapes, landscapes, interiors.

Charles Adams Platt was a student of the National Academy of Design, the Art Students League of New York and of Lefebvre and Boulanger in Paris. He belonged to the American Federation of the Arts. He won a bronze medal at the Paris Exhibition of ...

Article

Public art in the 21st century  

Jeremy Hunt and Jonathan Vickery

At the turn of the millennium, public art was an established global art genre with its own professional and critical discourse, as well as constituencies of interest and patronage independent of mainstream contemporary art. Art criticism has been prodigious regarding public art’s role in the ‘beautification’ of otherwise neglected social space or in influencing urban development. Diversity and differentiation are increasingly the hallmarks of public art worldwide, emerging from city branding strategies and destination marketing as well as from artist activism and international art events and festivals. The first decade of the 21st century demonstrated the vast opportunity for creative and critical ‘engagement’, activism, social dialogue, and cultural co-creation and collective participation. New public art forms emerged, seen in digital and internet media, pop-up shops, and temporary open-access studios, street performance, and urban activism, as well as architectural collaborations in landscape, environment or urban design.

Intellectually, the roots of contemporary public art can be found in the ludic and the architectonic: in the playful public interventions epitomized in the 1960s by the ...

Article

Sasaki, Hideo  

Leslie Luebbers

(b Reedley, CA, Nov 25, 1919; d Walnut Creek, CA, Aug 30, 2000).

American landscape architect and educator. Sasaki taught from 1953 to 1970 at the Harvard Graduate School of Design (HGSD), where he was chairman of the landscape architecture department from 1958 to 1968. In 1953, Sasaki also opened his design practice, which, after several name changes (including Sasaki, Walker and Associates (1959–63), with former student Peter Walker, and Sasaki, Dawson, DeMay Associates (1963–75), with former student Stuart O. Dawson and architect Kenneth DeMay) and its growth from a handful of recent landscape architecture graduates to an interdisciplinary staff of 300 partners and employees, became (after 1975) simply Sasaki Associates, the firm that carries his name and philosophy throughout the world.

The son of Japanese immigrants who farmed in the San Joaquin Valley, Sasaki grew up with an appreciation of the relationship between nature and human endeavor. After Pearl Harbor and before he completed his city planning degree at the University of California, Berkeley, he was caught in the mass internment of Japanese-Americans. Sasaki earned a BFA in landscape architecture in ...

Article

Schmidt, Garden & Martin  

Kathleen Roy Cummings

American architectural partnership formed in 1906 by Richard E(rnst) Schmidt (b Ebern, W. Germany, 14 Nov 1865; d Winnetka, IL, 17 Oct 1959), Hugh M(ackie) G(ordon) Garden (b Toronto, 9 July 1873; d Chicago, IL, 6 Oct 1961) and Edgar Martin (b Burlington, IO, 26 Feb 1871; d Chicago, IL, 17 Sept 1951). Richard E. Schmidt studied (1883–5) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, before opening a practice in Chicago in 1886. After a brief partnership with T. O. Fraenkel from 1891 to 1895, Schmidt practised alone until 1906.

The early designs in Schmidt’s office continued the restrained, commercial style that Louis Sullivan had introduced in the 1880s and 1890s. The Schoenhofen Brewing Company Building (1902) and the Albert Madlener House (1902), Chicago, especially, were recognized by critics for their geometric massing, careful proportions and skilful effects of brickwork. Perhaps from as early as ...

Article

Society of Architectural Historians  

Damie Stillman

[SAH]

Professional organization devoted to the study of architecture worldwide. Founded in 1940 by a small group of students and teachers attending summer session at Harvard University, the Society of Architectural Historians (SAH) has grown into the leading professional and scholarly organization in the world concerned with various aspects of the built environment. With a membership of around 2700, composed of architectural historians, architects, planners, preservationists, students, and other individuals interested in the subject, as well as nearly 1000 institutions worldwide, it publishes a scholarly periodical, the Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, whose topics range from antiquity to the present day around the world; a monthly electronic Newsletter; and a multi-volume book series of detailed guides to the architecture of the individual American states, Buildings of the United States (BUS). The Society sponsors an annual meeting, held each year in a different part of the USA or Canada, or occasionally elsewhere, where members present scholarly papers, discuss these papers and other architectural topics, explore the area via a series of tours, and learn of the award of a number of prizes for notable accomplishments in the field, as well as designation of Fellows of the Society for lifetime contributions to architectural history. These include four book awards, the Alice Davis Hitchcock, Spiro Kostof, Elisabeth Blair MacDougall, and Antoinette Forrester Downing, for architecture, the built environment, landscape architecture, and preservation, respectively; the Philip Johnson Exhibition Catalogue Award; the Founders’ Award for the best article published in the ...

Article

Steele, Fletcher  

Robin Karson

(b Rochester, NY, June 7, 1885; d Rochester, NY, July 16, 1971).

American landscape architect. Steele spent his childhood in Pittsford, NY, in the farmhouse that had belonged to his grandparents. Early memories reveal a strong love of nature and an appreciation for landscape values that would guide his future designs. After high school, Steele entered Williams College, where he honed his acerbic wit and also made many close friends, some of whom became important clients. Against his parents’ wishes, he enrolled in the newly formed graduate program of landscape architecture at Harvard University in 1901.

Steele was not impressed by the “old maids” at Harvard, preferring instead Denman Ross, a painter and art theorist with whom he maintained a close personal and intellectual relationship for decades. After one year, he dropped out of the program to take a paid position in the office of Warren H. Manning, who assigned him to supervise development of several large projects. After a three-month grand tour (funded partly by Manning), Steele opened a Boston-based practice in ...

Article

Tennessee Valley Authority  

Gavin Townsend

(TVA)

Federal Agency, founded in 1933. Chartered by the US Congress on May 18, 1933, the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) was established to control the flooding of the Tennessee River and to generate the enormous amounts of hydroelectric power needed nationally. To fulfill its aims, TVA constructed dams, hydroelectric plants, locks and housing throughout the Tennessee River basin, employing thousands of workers in Southern Appalachia and providing economic relief and electricity to one of the most impoverished regions of the country.

The first task was to provide housing for TVA’s construction workers in Norris, TN. Under Earle S. Draper, Director of TVA’s Division of Land Planning and Housing, TVA architects in 1934 produced a series of well-designed houses built in traditional styles and materials and arranged along winding roads in the manner of an English “garden city.” Norris included a common central green and a band of wilderness around the town. The arrangement was later used on a much larger scale (...

Article

Wright, Henry  

Kristin E. Larsen

(b Lawrence, KS, July 2, 1878; d Newton, NJ, July 9, 1936).

American landscape architect and housing reformer. Educated at the University of Pennsylvania, Wright received his early training in planned picturesque park and streetscape design in the offices of the landscape architect George Kessler (1862–1923). Wright’s first widely recognized project in Clayton, an upscale neighborhood in St Louis, MO, featured palatial homes on large lots along curvilinear roads and oriented toward interior parks. He moved to Washington, DC, in 1918 to design new communities for war workers in the ship building industries. This short-lived experiment in federally funded housing transformed Wright, connecting him with such architects as Clarence Stein (1882–1975), who shared his social reform sensibilities. In the 1920s and 1930s, in partnership with Stein, Wright designed “new towns” inspired by the English garden city writings of Ebenezer Howard but reflective of the new “motor age.” Begun in 1924, Sunnyside Gardens in Queens, New York, featured single family, duplex and cooperative apartments arranged in a perimeter design around central courtyards. In ...