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Article

Eleanor M. McPeck

(b Lancaster, MA, Dec 16, 1814; d Hinsdale, IL, Dec 5, 1900).

American landscape architect and writer. He was a descendant of Moses Cleveland, who came from Ipswich, England, in 1635, and his father, Richard Jaffry Cleveland, was a sea captain. Cleveland gained early agricultural experience in Cuba while his father served as Vice-Consul in Havana. On his return to the USA after 1833, Horace studied civil engineering in Illinois and Maine, settled afterwards on a farm near Burlington, NJ, and became corresponding secretary of the New Jersey Horticultural Society. In 1854 he moved with his family to the vicinity of Boston, spending three years in Salem and ten years in Danvers. During this early phase of his career he formed a partnership with Robert Morris Copeland (1830–74), a landscape architect of Lexington, MA, and designed several rural cemeteries near Boston, including Oak Grove (1854) in Gloucester, MA, and the celebrated Sleepy Hollow (1855) in Concord, MA. In ...

Article

Cornish  

Keith N. Morgan

American town and former artists’ colony in the state of New Hampshire. Situated on a line of hills near the eastern bank of the Connecticut River c. 160 km north-west of Boston, Cornish looks across to Windsor, VT, and Mt Ascutney. It was settled in 1763 as an agrarian community, but its population was rapidly reduced during the migration to the cities in the second half of the 19th century. From 1885 until around the time of World War I, Cornish was the summer home of a group of influential sculptors, painters, architects, gardeners, and writers. For this coherent group, the Cornish hills symbolized an ideal natural environment that reflected the classical images so important in their work. The sculptor who first spent a summer in Cornish in 1885, Augustus Saint-Gaudens, bought his summer residence there in 1891, and he was soon followed by the painters Henry Oliver Walker (...

Article

Patrick A. Snadon

(b New York, July 24, 1803; d Orange, NJ, Jan 14, 1892).

American architect. From the 1830s to the 1850s he was one of the most influential architects in the USA. His work ranges from major government and institutional buildings to ornamental garden structures; his main contribution to American architecture was his introduction of the European Picturesque in his designs for Italianate and Gothic Revival country houses and cottages. With his partner, Ithiel Town, he also refined and popularized the American Greek Revival. He revolutionized American architectural drawing through rendering buildings in romantic landscapes rather than in the analytical, Neo-classical style that preceded him. In 1836 he helped form the American Institution of Architects and advanced professionalism in American architecture through his scrupulous office practices, being, for example, the first American architect to use printed, standardized specifications.

At the age of 16, Davis left school in New York to work as a type compositor in Alexandria, VA. During this time, probably influenced by reading contemporary Gothic novels, he made drawings of prison and castle interiors akin to Piranesi’s engravings of imaginary prisons. In ...

Article

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

Arthur Channing Downs

(b Newburgh, NY, Oct 31, 1815; d Hudson River, NY, July 28, 1852).

American writer, horticulturist, landscape gardener and architect. From the age of seven he was trained in the family nursery garden by his elder brother Charles Downing (1802–85), an experimental horticulturist. Before he was 15, Downing came under the influence of André Parmentier (1780–1830), a Dutch-trained landscape gardener, and he studied the 700-acre estate that Parmentier had landscaped in the English manner at Hyde Park, NY. Downing was also influenced by the mineralogist Baron Alois von Lederer (1773–1842) and the landscape painter Raphael Hoyle (1804–38). In 1834 Downing’s first article, ‘Ornamental Trees’, appeared in journals in Boston, MA, and France. His article ‘The Fitness of Different Styles of Architecture for Country Residences’ (1836) was the first important discussion of the topic in America. He expressed enthusiasm for a variety of styles and insisted they must be used in appropriate settings. His ...

Article

Keith N. Morgan

(b Cambridge, MA, Nov 1, 1859; d Brookline, MA, March 25, 1897).

American landscape architect, regional planner and writer. He was the son of Charles W. Eliot, the influential reforming president of Harvard College (1869–1909). He inherited much of his father’s broad vision and organizational talent, and he applied these to his interest in landscape preservation.

After completing his basic studies at Harvard in 1882, Eliot decided to attend courses in botany and horticulture at Harvard’s Bussey Institute as preparation for a career in landscape architecture. However, in 1883 he was offered an apprenticeship with Frederick Law Olmsted sr, the foremost landscape architect in the USA; he remained with Olmsted until 1885, during which time the office developed plans for several important projects, notably the Boston municipal park system and the Arnold Arboretum, Boston. He then completed his courses at the Bussey Institute, after which he toured abroad for a year, inspecting parks, gardens and natural landscapes from England to Italy and Russia....

Article

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

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

Robin Karson

(b Reading, MA, Nov 6, 1860; d Waltham, MA, Feb 5, 1938).

American landscape architect and planner. Manning spent his childhood in the rural countryside north of Boston and from an early age assisted in the nursery founded by his well-known father Jacob, who also took him on plant-collecting excursions in the wild. In time Manning acquired wide knowledge of both native and exotic plants, and he also became interested in landscape design, advertising his services through his father’s nursery. In 1888 he left the family business and took a position as planting supervisor in the Brookline, MA, office of Olmsted, Olmsted & Eliot.

Working alongside Frederick Law Olmsted, John Charles Olmsted and Charles Eliot, Manning learned to apply his vast horticultural repertory to a Romantic style of landscape design that combined aspects of the British Picturesque with an American appreciation for bold scenic effects and attention to the genius loci. He also learned the rudiments of sophisticated data-gathering techniques developed by Eliot during work on the Boston park system. Manning’s most important projects with the Olmsted firm included the Boston parks, the installation of plants at the Chicago World’s Columbian Exposition (...

Article

Deborah A. Middleton

The first national parks were conceived to preserve the natural wonders of a primeval American wilderness that served as inspiration for American painters and photographers. American landscape architecture and park design were central to the emergence of the National Park System at the end of the 19th century, and the permanent conservation of threatened areas of natural beauty. Photography and landscape painting strongly influenced the aesthetic appreciation of unspoiled nature. Photography informed the construction of pictorial spaces, distances, situated views in unexpected places, lighting, angle of view, framing of the view. The overwhelming experience of America’s natural places influenced painters, such as Thomas Cole, Thomas Moran and Albert Bierstadt, and naturalists, such as John Muir, whose emphasis on the transcendental vision of wilderness began to shape a desire to conserve these places as national symbols of America. Moran’s paintings of Yellowstone Park were influential in designating Yellowstone as America’s first national park on ...

Article

Charles E. Beveridge

(b Hartford, CT, April 26, 1822; d Waverly, MA, Aug 22, 1903).

American landscape designer, urban planner, and writer. Influenced by 18th-century English traditions of landscape design and by his own social beliefs in the importance of community and the civilizing role of aesthetic taste, Olmsted undertook a large number of public and private commissions. His commissions ranged from regional plans and scenic reservations to residential communities, academic campuses, and the grounds of private estates. With his partner Calvert Vaux and later independently, he designed a series of city parks systems between 1858 and 1895 in which landscaped parks were integrated with other public spaces through broad interconnecting thoroughfares, or parkways, which incorporated drives, paths, and areas of turf and trees. His major work includes Central Park (1858–77), New York, and the ‘Emerald Necklace’ series of public spaces in Boston (1880s). He believed in the power of landscaped scenery to exercise a restorative and civilizing influence.

Olmsted’s forebears helped to found Hartford in ...

Article

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

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

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

Robin B. Williams

Town plan for the second largest city in Georgia. The Savannah plan is celebrated today as one of the finest urban layouts in the world, yet it had limited influence outside Georgia. Conceived in the context of Enlightenment idealism, it is rivaled in its sophistication in America only by the plan of Washington, DC. In 1733, General James Edward Oglethorpe founded the Georgia colony and laid out Savannah as its capital. Its network of numerous squares and broad streets dedicated a greater percentage of land to the public realm than any other city plan in history and created a model of humanly scaled urbanism.

Oglethorpe devised a plan linking the region to the city in which each freeholder received a roughly 45-acre farm lot, a 5-acre garden lot and a 60×90 ft (c. 18×27 m) town lot. The town plan reflected the utopian ideals of the colony with an egalitarian network of wards, each originally 675×675 ft (205×205 m) in size and centered on a public square. Yet, within each ward, blocks and streets establish subtle hierarchies. Pairs of “trust lots” reserved for public buildings flank each square to the east and west, while to the north and south lay four residential “tything” blocks, each comprising ten residential town lots set in two rows of five divided by a lane. The plan also employed two classes of streets: civic streets include principal streets 75 ft (23 m) wide on axis with each square and those running east–west between the wards, and, half their width, secondary streets 37.5 ft (11.5 m) wide skirting the squares; utilitarian streets include principal streets 45 ft (13.7 m) wide running north–south between wards and lanes 22.5 ft (7 m) wide subdividing the tything blocks. Despite dramatic social and technological changes since ...

Article

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

Mark Alan Hewitt

(b Philadelphia, PA, Nov 5, 1869; d Bermuda, March 29, 1950).

American landscape architect. A pioneer in her profession, Shipman was called “the dean of American women landscape architects” by House and Garden magazine in 1933. She maintained an office for over 40 years and designed some 600 projects, mainly residential, throughout the USA.

Born Ellen McGowan Biddle in Philadelphia, she was the daughter of Colonel James Biddle and Ellen Rose McGowan, both from prominent American families with considerable wealth. She grew up on Army posts on the far corners of the Western frontier until the age of 18, when her father took a post in Washington, DC. She was educated at finishing schools and enrolled for one year at Radcliffe College (1892–3). She did not stay, instead marrying Louis Shipman, an up-and-coming young playwright, in 1893. The couple soon settled in the arts colony of Cornish , NH, among an extraordinary group of painters, writers, architects, sculptors and patrons associated with the American Renaissance (...

Article

[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

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

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 (...