FAH101H1 Lecture Notes - Tral, The Short North, New York Post

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15 Dec 2012
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FAH 377 LECTURE 2 JANUARY 18th 2012
- Review of Watkins and Oltsted worked for mining company in california, sides of
hills blasted away
- both involved in mapping and monumentalization of Yosemite
- watkins as photographer
- Olmsted restorative power of landscape, report on preservation of landscape,e
guarantee of access for foreigners and americans, symbol of nation
Niagara Falls Reservation
- O. key figure in design of experience of Niagara falls
- sublime landscapes which inspire awe and terror and sense of great beauty can't
be made by people but can be interpreted by people.
- plan which shaped the perception of visitors
- river and falls merge, natural process over 12 000 years at which time under ice
carved out falls
Painting by Frederick Church 1857 of Niagara , famous landscape circulated among
intelligence in north america and east coast cities, very popular tourist destination,
also painted by other artists
- unlike yoisemite:
- Niagara was not a remote place in mid 19th century, close to toronto, buffalo, new
york city, other cities of eastern sea born
- 1906 new york state made land for purchase along the falls. since 1859 falls were
used to generate power
- now still used to generate power
- resource exploitation at the site of the landscape and whats interesting is that the
artistic depictions to show inhabitation because do not match the myth
- . photograph shows building at perimeter, not as serene and perfect as the photos
Watkins was making in california where indigenous population was small/. went
away
- O had an interesting task with was similar to yo in the choreography in the experi-
ence but different because there was already a huge volume of people coming , so
to make a sublime experience meant had to mask this alternate reality of landscape
- 1877 O wrote report recommending a scenic restoration of Niagara falls to urge
the state it was signed by important people, powerful crowd advocating this
- petition. . . bill passed 1883, 1885 purchase of land for scenic reservation
- commission of the design went to Olmsted and Vaux?
- O, wrote it was he most difficult problem in landscape architecture to do justice to
most serious. . .
- seeing an aerial perspective, looks unaltered
- ambition of project to create experience of sublime which would edit out what
didn't adhere to the sublime landscape, the "messy bits"
- reservation included island and land on american side
- carriage drive connecting sites of particular interest , there weren't any structures .
. .
- island heavily forested, strips along the river,
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FAH 377 LECTURE 2 JANUARY 18th 2012
-plan executed as a carriage drive with small pedestrian paths that wander through
dense planting and only emerge where more mundane development are not seen,
camouflage
- in the report - articulate notion of solitary intimacy in the wilderness, idea that visi-
tor should experience not only grand spectacle of the falls but the greater beauty . .
sensory and intense individual communion with landscape despite presence of
thousands of visitors
- creation of image was powerful
- notion that O/ V working to create an experience of nature that was not simply ex-
posure of nature itself, but choreographed, articulated experience
Olmsted and the Nature in the North American City:
- projects which brought "natural scenery into the city for public good"- O
- consistent aims and vocabulary, use series of design tools to transform landscape
- typography, circulation and planting
- in a different way for each he paid close attention to practical economics, as well
as civic purposes
- patronage arguments for projects, programs (practical aims that need to be ac-
commodated, also design methods and specific tactics
Context:
- read excerpt from Thoreau
- also looked at secondary source essay on garden designer and theorist A.J Down-
ing, which both influenced Olmsted ? Or were influenced?
- Thoreau, Downing and the rural cemetery movement
- T, americanTranscendentalism philosopher , in cabin to come to terms with
nature at Walden Pond?
- describes in essay nature as a " companion, mirror, consoler, source of life"
- uses poetic device to identify himself with nature and also nature with humanity
describes nature in anthropomorphic way
- people made truer and better through immersion to nature (romantic idea)
- ideological antecedent to Olmsted's work
- Geographic antecedent to his work comes from A.J downing
- NOrth American Landscape designer and theorist who played important role in
translation of appropriate idiom from European landscaper design to New World
- started out believing in the European value that artifice for instance in introduc-
tion of exotic plants was actually a sign of genius or designer, things that couldn't
be distinguished from nature couldn't be valued as art, but over course of career
ideas develop away form that notion for a commitment not to "gardenesque" but
picturesque and beautiful
- beautiful= image characterized by 18th c english literature, landscapes smooth
graceful and flowing, calming, soft,
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FAH 377 LECTURE 2 JANUARY 18th 2012
- Picturesque- different set of values, irregular, rough, wild and a little sup rising,
and its values were argued for by Gilpin and Price
- Downing came to feel that the picturesque and the beautiful, particularly the pic-
turesque, were suitable to north american because of the availability to raw materi-
als and richness of the indigenous landscape
- native landscape, not something to leave alone but basis for selection editing and
recomposition in order to make an ideal image
- other Antecedent: rural cemetery movement began in 1830's in north america
when cemeteries began to move away from centre of cities and churches, over-
crowding and hygiene because as became more crowded, more smelly, and aware-
ness of these places transmitting disease
- also interest in the exploitation of real estate value in cities (cemetery not prof-
itable)
- cultural notion that the beautiful archaic scenery in gardens etc great places to
burry people, those they left behind could console themselves in spiritually uplifting
environment , inner peace
IMAGE
- first landscape cemetery in north america outside of boston built in 1830s
- cemetery with arboretum, partly sponsored by Boston Cultural society
- it became a popular place to enjoy landscape and scenery
- Consequences:
1. seen as unseemly for cemetery be place of leisure
2. need to get out of 19th c cities which were rough places
Cemeteries played a big role in public consciousness for need of public parks
around citied
- Olmsted on one of his travels to britain became very interested in parks there,
which were publicly accessible and the role they payed in building a culture and civ-
ilization
- he was particularly struck by Burningham which was accessible to public
Central Park - constructed refuge in the city
- although 4 projects share similarities in the way they look, different roles in the
city
- Central park is very much about the invention and construction of a separate
scenery within the city but contains the cities opposite, rural and picturesque
scenery
- seeing the map made in 1811 for the subdivision of property in NYC
- can see from the map that old parts of town irregular pattern, original settlement
at the bottom
- 1811 whole rest of manhattan island ( area up 255 street) planned out according
to a relentless grid, long east west direction short north south, it was done accord-
ing to the interest of land speculators
- city intended to provide easy format for subdivision and lots, it made most of wa-
terfront, interest in providing access to wear houses along the cities edge
- homogenous pattern
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