Today marks the first day of Black History Month. I've been reading about the first American professionally-trained black landscape architect, David Williston (1868-1962). Mr. Williston was born in North Carolina, studied in Washington D.C., New York and Pennsylvania. He taught "agricultural science" at Tuskegee University (and elsewhere) where he was also responsible for campus planning and development. If you'd like to learn more, follow this link to the National Park Service's "Learning From Leaders" article featuring Mr. Williston. Below is a photograph of a campus space at Tuskegee University and a portrait of Mr. Williston.
Fascinating Boston Globe Magazine article. If you are familiar with our wonderful City, all the more interesting. Click the link and take a look when you get an opportunity!
joe runci/globe staff/FILE
Boston would have had a mini Interstate 95 if William Callahan’s 1948 Master Highway Plan had been realized.
High above the sea at Northeast Harbor, Maine is a magnificent garden. Thuya Garden is today overseen by the Mount Desert Land & Garden Preserve but was conceived by Joseph Henry Curtis and expanded by Charles K. Savage. Curtis, a landscape architect, designed the hillside trail that brings the visitor from Asticou Terraces Landing , through a quintessential Maine landscape complete with stone steps, walls and ramps to unique landscape structures and lookouts offering splendid distant views.
Existing Juniperus virginiana (Eastern Red Cedar) and native Vaccinium angustifolium (Lowbush blueberry) thrive on these slopes. Once through the garden gates, the visitor comes to vibrant perennial gardens modeled after those of Gertrude Jekyll by Beatrix Farrand
The Isabella Steward Gardener Museum has just undergone an extensive renovation and has a new addition. Architect, Renzo Piano, created a glass box within which sits a living room/reception space/library area, artists’ studio, a gift shop, offices, a performance space, a contemporary art gallery space, and a greenhouse; it is connected to the historic house/museum via a glass-enclosed corridor. I visited one recent very cold January day. The bright and open design of the addition stands in stark contrast to the dark and enclosed spaces of the original Gardener. The new gallery spaces are sparse in comparison to the
original museum which continues to be filled with layer upon layer of art and artifact. Yet, my favorite space continues to be the courtyard. The new building entrance loses out on the drama of the old entry which opened onto the incredible courtyard. And what a space! Palms, orchids, moss and other plants are set aside gravel paths, fountains, statuary and urns- literally an oasis in the center of Boston. Sadly, visitors can no longer walk those luscious paths but can only take in the view from its edges.
At the end of June I visited Trinity Church in Copley Square Boston. I had visited many times in the past- sometimes to attend a service and at other times to take a closer look at the building and grounds. I used to work on Boylston Street and had lunch in the “new” Copley Square whenever I could. Did you know that Trinity Church is considered one of the finest American buildings by the American Institute of Architects and that it established the “Richardsonian Romanesque” style that influenced architectural design throughout America as well as in Europe and Canada? I encourage you to take a closer look for yourself.
Great Horned owlets, early spring blooms, as well as the structure and beauty of the landscape were discovered on a recent trip to Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Mount Auburn is a 175 acre public open landscape in the making for some 180 years. For the landscape architect it is a treasure, an encyclopedia of landscape design.
Check out their website to learn more (http://www.mountauburn.org/national_landmark/history.cfm) or see for yourself at 580 Mount Auburn Street., Cambridge.
I attended the Olana Symposium on April 16th. David Schuyler (Professor of Humanities and American Studies, Marshall College) introduced the speakers; Linda Ferber (Vice President and Senior Art Historian, New York Historical Society), Harvey Flad (Professor Emeritus of Geography, Vassar College), and Laurie Olin (Landscape Architect, Olin Partnership). The discussion was filled with wonderful images and analysis of paintings from the Hudson River School, thoughtful interpretation of struggles to preserve scenic views along the Hudson River and the presentation of award-winning contemporary landscape architectural projects spanning the globe which illustrated both aggressive and gentle modifications to their existing conditions. I came home rejuvenated by the experience. Laurie Olin is exactly right- everything a landscape architect does revolves around views- preserving them, creating them, choreographing them.
Inspiration comes from the world around us; color, texture, pattern- all components of the ever changing landscape. The camera captures these moments for further reflection. This blog will feature monthly musings centered on the landscape.