tv Frederick Law Olmsted and College Campus Design CSPAN December 30, 2021 6:16pm-7:03pm EST
and the war in vietnam. not everyone knew they were being recorded. >> certainly, johnson's secretaries knew because they were tasked with transcribing many of those conversations. in fact, they were it the ones who made sure the conversations were taped, as johnson would signal to them through an open door between his office and theirs. >> you'll also hear some blunt talk. >> jim. >> yes, sir. >> i want to report the number of people that assigned to kennedy on me the day he died and the number assigned to me now, and if mun are not less i want them less right quick. if i can't ever go to the bathroom, i wont go anywhere. >> presidential recordings. find is it on the mobile app or wherever you get your podcasts. get c-span on the dpo.
watch the biggest political events live or on demand it any time, fir, on our new mobile video app c-span now. access top highlight, listen to c-span radio and discover new podcasts all for free. download c-span now today. good morning, everyone. i am dede petri, as you heard. president and ceo of the national association for olmsted parks and i am delighted to welcome all of you today to the olmsted's end campus design. over the last 18 months we have felt mighty grateful to olmsted whose parks made our lives livable but it is indeed wonderful to see everyone together in this room today. now, this symposium is part of olmsted 200, the national and local celebration in 2022 of the bicentennial of the birth of frederick law olmsted, visionary reformer and founder of the profession of landscape architecture.
the national association for olmsted parks has -- to be the managing partner of this celebration, working with nine other fantastic national partners across the country, which you can see here. we invite everyone to join us in this year-long celebration and exploration of the olmsted legacy. we have a national website. olmsted200.org, and a national calendar. a monthly newsletter, and a lively blog. we have just released a special online exhibit, frederick law olmsted landscapes for the public good. you can see some of the extraordinary panels outside today. we are urging communities, parks, libraries to download this exceptional exhibit to air it inside or out during the bicentennial year. we also ask you to follow us on social media. this program is the first of an endless array of opportunities in person and otherwise around the country through 2022 that you can find on our national calendar.
because the olmsted firm operated in 47 out of 50 states, we can literally find olmsted landscapes from coast to coast. and speaking of individuals from around the country i want to give a shout out to two in our audience today. mike mesner from atlanta. member of the olmsted 200 honorary committee. mike and his daughter rebecca were responsible for the great olmsted documentary, "olmsted in america's urban parks" which we have shone and are continuing to urge communities to show around the country work with georgia tech, mike is also supporting lively and thoughtful discussions about urban planning which we will also be featuring as participant of our olmsted 200 programming. also roger walk.
a trustee of the moreau home steady. living live from -- where senator moral was a key figure in the u.s. congress and contemporary of olmsted. -- 1862, set aside federal lands to create colleges. president lincoln signed the build and we're delighted this bicentennial has been reason for reconnecting the morals and the moral homestead which is a celebration partner and the olmsteds. we think of olmsted as a park maker, and that he was. one of the goals though of the bicentennial is to explore the many other aspects of his multi-faceted career. today we will zero in on campus design. in the wake of the civil war,
american universities emerged as important national institutions. olmsted believed that the physical environment of learning, buildings and grounds, played a significant role in the success of education. he planned campuses for stanford and cornell. and the successor olmsted firms undertook projects at scores of institutions, including duke, swanny, colby, gallaudet. wellesley, swart mother and johns hopkins. and we have a stellar lineup of speakers kicking off. with laurie olin. teacher author and renowned landscape architect. founding part her of his firm based in philadelphia and his career is multi facetted and extraordinary as olmsteds. we are honored that laurie is chairing the olmsted 200 honorary committee. he's ever seen projects in washington monument grounds, in new york city, philadelphia, and portland, oregon.
his awards are numerous and impressive. recipient of the 2012 national medal of arts from president obama. 2011 society of landscape arc checkouts and the douglas medal from the garden club of america. today practitioners and scholars will discuss olmsted campus planning and look to the future. how olmsted principles can inform campus design today. and we have an absolutely stellar lineup of speakers, kicking off this morning with laurie olin, teacher, author, and renowned landscape architect. is he the founding partner of it was an interesting and wonderful place, big and sprawling and full of ideas. as luck would have it, his architecture firm was invited to participate in a design competition in the park. as part of the assignment he produced a rendering of every trail, every path, every twig, every stone, every lake in the park. and after doing so, he came to the conclusion that central park was probably the single greatest work of art in america by an
american artist. from that time on, laurie has had his eye on the olmsteads. the olmsted office, the olmsteads of landscape education and the olmsteads in campus design. welcome, laurie. >> good grief. thank you very much. just got to get the right slide show up. all right. we're almost ready. this is preaching to the converted in some ways but it's nice to see you all, it's nice to be here. >> i'm sorry, i thought i would have a second to myself up here. >> buried in this machine are many images. there we go, full screen. thank you.
welcome. it's nice to be here. thanks very much for the overgenerous introduction. when we speak about the olmsted's landscapes, we're speaking of a period that occurred over a hundred years, led by these four men, principally. collectively, these, what we see here are -- i hit the wrong thing. it's supposed to go back, right? there we go. okay. there we go.
okay. so when we -- we talk about these guys and so here we have frederick olmsted sr. on your left. we've got john charles olmsted next. in the hat on the right is rick, frederick olmsted jr. and, you know, collectively, with their partners and their associates, and some people who died prematurely, this office was in business successfully from 1858 to 1960. just over a hundred years. it's a remarkable feat for a design firm, frankly, with a strong identity and with such brilliance. an extraordinary number of campus projects the olmsted firm worked on extends to a list of seven closely spaced pages. the first of these pages is shown on the left there. and what you can see in it if you read closely with one of their very first projects which is the university of california, berkeley, 1865, and one of the
very last, the university of alabama in 1956. by my count, between 1865 and 1900, the period super intended by flo sr., they worked on many college campuses. during the 1890s, princeton, smith, harvard, mount holyoke, vassar. between 1900 and 1960 after olmsted sr.'s departure, the firm worked on more than 180 campuses. just between 1900 and 1915 alone up to the first world war they were employed by institutions that included brown, the university of chicago, wheaton, wellesley, williams, the university of washington, johns hopkins, ohio state, colorado, new york university, baltimore, and oberlin. they worked at annapolis and west point and dozens of land grant colleges. among these were wisconsin, kansas, colorado, oregon, on and on the list goes. there's an enormous range
however in their work from schemes that have become iconic such as those at stanford and duke when you're going to hear about from cathy blake and mark huff to projects that were at times more formulaic. at their very best, this work demonstrates as clearly as any of the diverse plans of the firm's best known member, frederick olmsted sr., a concern and a genius for engendering a social sensibility. how was it that this partner and his colleagues and sons working through the tumult of america in
the decades after the civil war, how was he available to invent a new landscape, a new typology, a paradigm that has become emblematic of american higher education and has been emulated around the world on university campuses? what did olmsted know and when did he know it? it's commonly understood that the antecedent of learning in modern universities was that of monastic settings. the first being of course established in the benedictine monastery of st. clement and set the pattern, as you see here in provence. namely these were composed of inward-looking, cloistered architecture in isolated, sylvan settings.
these also involved -- didn't go forward? hello? there we go. these also involved a number of urban settings as well such as heidelberg and of course oxford and cambridge when you see here. regardless of their frequent rural origins they engendered communities that became towns and in some cases cities. they set a pattern for the town/gown symbiosis. the two english universities in particular, oxford and cambridge, that most influenced developments here in america, these were divinity schools. and they had enclosed courtyards, mostly. they also developed areas adjacent outside of them for recreation and for scientific experiment especially in botany and horticulture, something that happened in the monasteries earlier, something that we see here, we see teddy, st. teddy, edward college at oxford and we see the playing fields and the oxford botanic garden as examples of this. well, the earliest and best
known institutions of higher education in the english colonies of course were also divinity schools and although not exactly monasteries they were founded in rural villages like cambridge, massachusetts or around the edge of towns like new haven, connecticut. they were among farms, dozy lanes and scraps of relic forest. new haven, on the left, has three chapels built on the outskirts of town and beyond which yale's first buildings were later built and you see on the right cambridge common with its adjacent church and varying ground, harvard's earliest buildings. these schools like many later began a single building surrounded by some trees, a bit of grass and some unpaved lanes but as they grew the number of buildings increased. the campuses pushed up against or encroached on the communities. you're looking here at early plans of harvard. like the houses and outbuildings
of yankee farms their buildings were generally arranged close enough for convenient communication although separated for protection and differentiation of purpose. they were also small enough to finance and build without too much difficulty. like yale, and princeton, harvard began as a divinity school across the charles river next to a small village west of boston. adjacent to its common and chapels. it grew as an unplanned arrangement of detached georgian buildings populated with trees. these early schools, harvard, 1836, will -- excuse me, 1636, yale, 1717, princeton, 1795, they possessed what might be described as kind of a loose fit formality. unlike oxford or cambridge where the majority of early american ecclesiastes and clerics were educated, in the new world, unconstrained by property, ownership, surrounded by lots of space, these new institutions
were simply georgian buildings place income the open, augmented by freestanding buildings. yale, for instance, began as a series of buildings in a row along a lane behind the chapels on the new haven common that back up into the woods with paths, sheds, and outhouses. you can see the plan on the left and in the view on the right one sees the old row, as the series of buildings that formed the beginning of yale were called and became one side of the earliest quadrangle. as at harvard and elsewhere soon enough there were more buildings built behind and to the north of them and the woods receded once more. here you see the oldest buildings at princeton on the left and harvard on the right
and the ubiquitous american elms which along with oaks, ash, and chestnuts were commonly planted to accompany each of these earliest buildings and colleges. this combination of elms, freely arranged buildings characterized the villages and towns for the next two centuries and offering the basic building blocks of rapidly proliferating divinity schools. there were a couple of rare exceptions to this ad hoc approach to academic planning, however. there was union college in schenectady on the left and then the sketch of jefferson, university of virginia, on the right and charlottesville.
both of which formed a coherpt grouping and both of these had a domed, pantheon like structure as a central feature. union college was designed by the french landscape designer and built between 1812 and 1814. the postcard view on the left is from 1909. a french architect, he was active here following the revolution and some scholars think he was actually run out of the country by benjamin latrobe who with jefferson cribbed mightily from some of his work. jefferson replaced the central domed chapel with the library. eschewing religion as the heart of the scheme and teaching spaces and pavilions that house faculty and students together. whatever the truth regarding the pedigree, jefferson's famous
academical village shares the campus with -- with remay's campus with colin campbell. one of the other developments in the colonies used -- was that of the urban sort. the earliest example being at the college founded by benjamin franklin. it was not a religious divinity school and it consisted of well manored buildings in the center of the city. evolving quickly into the first true american university. one other early institution was a college that evolved into columbia university in new york and it began in lower manhattan. by 1848 it had moved once up to the 48th and madison into the gothic revival structure that you see here on the lower left. and this is the one that olmsted would first have known when the rapidly expanding city looks like it did in the print that you see on the right. well, if this was the state of college development in america at the time of frederick olmsted's youth what was his knowledge of it? this is a famous photo that you
must know and frederick law olmsted is in the lower right. that's misbrother -- that's his older brother john just above him on the right side there. well, not a lot is documented, except for his shifting about new england after his mother died and that although he didn't enter college like his older brother when he might have, because of a severe eye ailment first in 1842 and then for several months in 1843, he visited his brother john and stayed with him at yale where he audited science and other classes. participating in the life of this lively group of young men who you see who were to become very prominent citizens later and in some cases clients and friends. but then a lot happened to him in the next 20 years between 1843 and 1863 when he produced the first plan. he spent another brief period with his brother at yale in 1845 and then he went off to europe where he traveled through england, france, holland, ireland and scotland and he
returned an became a farmer as you heard earlier and he became, you know -- he began corresponding with all sorts of people, one of whom was andrew jackson downing and he began writing. by 1855 as an editor of putnam monthly, he was soliciting material from melville, thorough and many others and he traveled through the slave states. established and publishing his findings. he returned to europe again in 1856 and in that time he visited the french riviera, italy, and central europe. in 1858, as you all know, he collaborated to produce the competition winning green sword
plan for central park and it was interrupted by the civil war. at which point he worked himself into the state of collapse, organizing medical facilities, supplies and logistics for the wounded as the head of the sanitary commission for the u.s. and following which that situation, he took his family to california. by that point he had married his brother's widow and adopted her children. and then later they had some of their own. well, he went to california to organize and plan facilities for a mining company in the sierra and preserved it. next when the company collapsed financially in 1865, he did return to new york and in part responding to the pleas from calvert vox to come help with prospect park and with the continuation of central park, but not before becoming involved in the college of california in berkeley across the bay from san francisco. earlier in 1861, while he had
been in new york prior to the civil war he had prepared a plan for the hartford work for insane and led him to think of his education and his being self-directed, community, health and the environment. his proposal for berkeley was for what might be termed an informal grouping of cottages and structures in the trees north of strawberry creek, several of which you can see here. the emphasis was upon a rural enclave with a domestic nature. and it was to be removed from the big city across the bay and it was to adjoin a smaller residential up community. dave farquar had a distant view to the access of the golden gate and this was following of course what we know -- bernard mayback kind of blew that away. they were both trained in paris and they abandoned olmsted's scheme and under the patronage
of phoebe hearst they created what exists today. the only remaining elements are strawberry creek and one curve drive along the north. well, in 1866, back in partnership with vox in new york, while serving and editor for the nation, he completed three campus plans. one for the massachusetts college in amherst, another for columbia institute for the deaf and dumb which is know as gallaudet university and one for the university of maine in orono, maine. you can see the plan here in the drawing and there was a photo taken around 1907. it was an agricultural and technical school, so you can see along the top of the drawing, you can see he laid out fields to the east and west of the main academic building and he arrayed the residential cottages as you see below in a rather loose knit armament around curving lanes amid orchards and remnants of forests, which frame a large
grassy meadow which can be used -- you can see it says parade ground. memories of the recent war being fresh which slopes down to the river. his plan for columbia institute for the deaf and dumb now gallaudet exhibits a number of developing ideas. one is an observation that american college buildings have been generally placed and planned with an equally consistent regard to make the greatest public display possible. they are in this respect greek and pagan as the english or gothic and christian. well, despite this tendency on the part of the trustees and architects to show off you can see in the plan that he
developed for this small cottage and in a very urban context his desire to produce a heavily planted perimeter boundary with a central interior open green and a series of smaller spaces of major and minor paths. additionally, as in almost all of the campuses he was then to design, residential structures are folded into the edges for faculty and staff and in other instances for students as well. he spoke about the health requirements and in one case, in the institution for the mentally ill, seeming more pressing than for other academic grounds he wrote, quote, the most desirable qualities and home grounds for a retreat for the insane are those that favor the moderate exercise and fran quill occupation of the mind. the desirable are those that
exhibit heat or bewilderment which you can see in the multilayered composition. well from 1872 to 1873, following the plan he made with vox for the city of buffalo in the park system, olmsted collaborated with h.h. richardson on the site plan for the buffalo asylum for the insane. as in hartford when he wrote kick out the lunatic hospital and developed the home, here he -- despite the -- what i have to say the massive scale of the institution, he set out to create a pleasure ground with patches of lawn. subsequently, at mass general's mclean asylum he had the buildings for the breakdown in scale in their arrangement. you can see here there's a garden for women, for, you know, far -- garden for men. there's an interestingly enough a thing called the pasture pleasure ground. a pasture pleasure ground, i love the idea of that
interesting phrase. well, moving on. in any consideration of his educational campuses it's appropriate to review his work to the health facilities at least the four that i'm aware of. because they were extended studies in making of institutional communities. with an emphasis upon tranquility and health and they were created at remove from the chaotic towns of the day. interestingly enough the buffalo asylum has been transformed into the hotel and the grounds are in the process of being refurbished to explain their history. but returning now to academic projects, the olmsted firm worked at the lawrenceville school in new jersey from princeton for decades. his stepson who joined the firm in 1875 and like rick later worked with his father on this campus and many of the rest, like the earlier scheme for the hartford retreat he referred to it as a new institute for living. lawrenceville was organized as a series of pavilions around a
soft oval walk with planting forming separate enclosures. the central space is smaller than that of a public park. well, this central quad of the lawrenceville skill as it appears today, which is like most of those that followed, it's not rectangular. these images are from charles beveridge's book, design of the american landscape. his interest in creating a village ensemble is evident. another aspect of such a plan, in addition to a commons it provided a number of smaller spaces that students could be responsible for the upkeep of those spaces and to learn aspects of gardening and domesticity which he wrote
about. it was a goal of the students. well, this was -- this project -- this project was a close collaboration with a firm peabody and stearns, architects from boston. they went on to collaborate on a great number of projects after that. so i'm not going to say much about stanford university because kathy is going to give you a full presentation about that later. but one can't give an overview of the campus contribution of olmsted without mentioning stanford. it is one of his most iconic works as is jefferson's in charlottesville. this is a superb collaboration of the architects if not the client and olmsted was a genius in working with others. and at its planning, its logistics, the working, all of the parts. the stanford campus is an exemplary i would say of a vision of architecture and landscape is intertwined and is
being complimentary and it reads olmsted architects. his son john charles was heavily involved in producing and managing the work. there are two things i wish to say regarding stanford, however. which vis-a-vis the range of his campus planning. one is to note olmsted sr.'s interest in the salient concern in all of his planning and that of his sons and his departure for loosely organized structures. in his corresponding -- correspondence regarding trinity college to the president in hartford in 1872, he had earlier explained why a quadrangle didn't seem a good idea because of the particular topography. but he noted, quote, the
quadrangle is expedient for an abundance of light and air, consistently with the sense of retreat from the outer world. kathy is bound to say more about that and the brilliance so i'll move on. but i will say that in 1884, nine years after he had joined the firm, john charles olmsted, j.c. as he is referred to, became a full partner. by 1884, he's a full partner. he had been sent west when he was young to spend summers with the geological survey crew in the rocky mountains and then he attended college classes in botany and science. some of his drawings have been -- they were earlier misidentified at a time for being those of h.h. richardson. he took on a considerable amount of work in the practice. like his father, j.c. spent many days, months, even years on the road especially in the american west. and this is the plan done by
olmsted, olmsted and elliott when charles elliott was a partner in 1895. and it was done largely under the design leadership of john charles. and it follows the departure of olmsted sr. from the firm and it predates the 1904 st. louis worlds fair, honoring the louisiana purchase after which they modified the earlier plans somewhat to integrate it with the subsequent fair. here is the plan for columbus, ohio. with the giant oval, working across the country often with limited consulting contracts, john charles and the firm at times relied upon a simple formula for the layout of the -- of some of the agricultural campuses promulgated by the morale act and fritz will tell us more about. this is the familiar central tree lined oval, accompanying the academic and administrative
were involved in several other booster events. the alaska yukon expedition took place on the grounds of the fledgling university of washington on the outskirts of seattle. it was laid out and largely designed by john charles led by the architects and they were very much under the spell of the recent chicago exposition. when j.c. had first gone to
seattle, the fledgling university existed in a single building on first hill. you see it in the upper left photo, and the decision to move outside of the developing commercial and residential area to the wooded site a few miles away, led to the first plan that you see. with its prototypical oval and a few little handful of buildings around its perimeter. well, next, he produced a more formalized development that centered on a classical green quadrangel plan. after the fair, here we go, after the fair, he worked with the university of washington on a sequence of designs to transform it from the early scheme that you see here in the upper middle drawing through the transformation into the exposition and back again with a very complex geometry.
this dramatic geometric shuffle was the result of what trans -- what happened one day on one of the early planned days when he was laying out the exposition. the rain and the fog lifted and there was mount rainier. he thought, oh, my god, i got this organized the wrong way, so he redid it and on the spot, he realigned the central axis of it on the mountain and subsequently organized the campus with this arrangement. while other work in the pacific northwest followed. on his earlier plan for the lewis and clark expedition, this modest scheme followed several of his father's earliest plans with a row of buildings facing a broad green meadow. later, oregon state, he laid out in corvallis, and again, it was nestled against a residential
community but employed a generous tree lined oval to serve as the transition and a buffer while organizing the building's, you know, around a sequence of more intimate quadrangles that were introverted. as in colorado and ohio, placing the agricultural livestock and athletic facilities away in the countryside. conversely, the olmsted plan for the university of oregon in eugene despite the habitual organization on a major green, a common space utilized -- utilized the river. to give specific character and an aspect of nature as an alternative to the urbanizing residential perimeter in all of the other directions.
well, meanwhile, the younger son, frederick olmsted jr. who was born in 1870 after the family returned to the east coast, like j.c. he was sent off and after studying the sciences and apprenticeship during the chicago exposition and working on the site of biltmore and ashmore, he became a partner as both his father and partner elliott died shortly thereafter. if rick's father can be thought of as developing the practice of landscape architecture, the vision and methods and the older brother managed the remarkable work and flow of work for many decades, frederick olmsted jr. developed the profession. the codification and various bodies to guide and direct the public realm, creating the first
academic program at harvard in 1900, he was one of the founding matters of the association. rick became the commissioner of the commission of fine art which grew out of the commission which he has been a key member of and he was the principal architect that created the national park service writing the bill for the passage in 1908. if j.c. can be seen as having a broad influence on the west with the leaders, flo jr. like his father moved comfortably in institutional circles and participated in a number of development plans for older institutions such as this largely unfulfilled, unrealized plan for harvard on the left and the plan for princeton that you
see on the right as it began to expand beyond the handful of early structures. facing nassau street and the town. throughout their careers, all three olmsteds commonly collaborated with prominent architects and institutions throughout the country. while the father was once of his difficulties with french educated architects, pointedly referred to many trained at the school at their stiff design habits and he wrote about it quite clearly, all three formed close and long lasting friendships with a number of brilliant architects. this scheme for johns hopkins university was familiar across the quadrangle, which you will see again at duke, may have been largely executed by local architects in baltimore. but the advisers on the plan one notes are a triumvirate. the former two are superb and noteworthy architects who worked with the olmsted office. on forest hills community in new york and clotter worked with them at wellesley and other places. well, they were comfortable and he collaborated well with them. and a superb example is duke university and with julian abele, the penn graduate who was
also the principal designer for trumbauer's noteworthy philadelphia's establishment office. you will hear more about these projects from mark later on. i'll comment only that the decades long collaboration produced a result equally as iconic and regionally -- that must be either my phone or my time's up, as regionally specific and suited as the senior olmsted project -- please. i'll finish in a minute. suited as a senior olmsted with richardson's successor firm and
finally, what were the essential ideas underlying the immense body of work? beginning with the earlier experience of plan at yale and elsewhere, it was pointed out to the trustees at columbia and new york university, in new york, which had already had to move twice by the time he got involved. the need to remove the college from any location near manufacturing industry or bustling commerce. he advocated for the rural neighborhoods and he developed a landscape of diversity to provide greater variety of environment. and when considering medical institutions, he aimed for insightments of voluntary exercise. not unlike the notions he sought in the liberal arts enclaves he understood that the burgeoning middle class in the desire for education and engagement in society put enormous pressure on young people and from childhood
to their careers in commerce that called for tranquility and for stimulation. at the environment in which their college experience should be in nature. their college experience should both shelter them and encourage engagement with others in nature, which he writes as the source of health in life. these photographs from homestead campuses present an image of unique landscapes, unlike its antecedents, that became associated with colleges in the united states and something envied around the world for its idealist avocation of a community and beneficial relationship to nature, transforming one of frederick law olmsted's four marks, if man is not to live by