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FAH 377 L2 JAN 18th .doc

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University of Toronto St. George
Jane Wolf

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, 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, 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 FAH 377 LECTURE 2 JANUARY 18th 2012 - the growth of NY along with an enormous influx of population a lot of physical changes to the city, city more crowded and more intensely used - no separation between industry and habitation -perm industrial, intensity around the edge, river traffic - city evolves from place where you can walk everywhere in mid 19th c to a border- less metropolis where there is a differentiation between downtown, manufacturing, districts, trains, ferries, all kind of actions - - 1850 manhattan had one single street car line, 25 years later 25 , 160 million peo- ple rider ship - population increase from 370 000 in 1845 to more than a million in 1875 - produced chaos in the streets, terrible crowding, horse manure, human waste, commercial refuse dumped in the streets - economic boom = demand for goods and service, but the poor conditions of growth were making the city impossible, also unhealthy and terrible place to be - IN 1840s advocacy for public park for NY- Downing and editor of NY Post Bryant after preliminary small proposals - 1853 passed, for a site that was north of the developed part of the city, in- cludes the reservoir - 1856 Egbert Viele proposes plan not considered good - 1857 state legislature establishes a non partisan board of commission for central park to discuss park away from politics, Olmsted made superintendent - announce design competition for plan - willing to use it for park : land, featureless, had little commercial value big dev was down town and most profitable parts of city for commercial use was along the water front - gave away land because it was not worth much - development of the land caused area to be worth more than anywhere else in the planet because of improvements made by V and O - Vaux and Olmsted enter competition and win with proposal called, "____ Boards" - Boards- how make convincing argument - photo of existing condition , above schematic design for entire park, bottom paint- ing, what space will look like when plan is put into action - use of images as rhetorical devises to argue for a design end (important) - V/O produce very persuasive plan using a simple and beautiful strategy , that plays on what people now to be current condition and a promise of what might be (using landscape drawing known to people - argue for park as work of art framed on rural scenery in terrible chaotic noisy city - they did not include substantial built character (museums etc) (like most other en- tries) - like Thoreau - scenery itself would be improving and didactic - they articulated that what they were doing was creating not preserving large ex- panses of natural beauty to anticipate time when park would be surrounded by city - thinking ahead to when rural landscape would - creation of the illusion of rusticity , recurred serious reconstruction FAH 377 LECTURE 2 JANUARY 18th 2012 - drawings of the before and after condition of the site - Before, lumpy swampy land mass - After, clusters of trees, open meadows, system of paths around and across - clusters of trees, open meadows, systems of paths around and across - from something found to something made , can't underestimate "made" even thought the way it looks seems to be something which simply appeared and pre- served- VERY DIFFERENT FROM YOSEMITE AND NIAGARA - 1868 version of the plan - part of way O and V won because made clever previsions for roads that needed to be cross the park, proposed that roads would be sunken below level of parks, so traffic wouldn't interfere with illusion of scenery, they minimized struc- tures, made entrance to the park (by place hotel)and then from the city would wind way along gentle curving path through woods and glades, open spaces to a place called the mall - the mall- civic gathering space, long way of elm trees, couldn't see it unless in it , concealed by planting Other important features of the Park: - monument to the damage caused by civil war -the ramble; lower part of park that most intensively captures character of the pic- turesque , sup rising, wild and awesome landscape - from the mall could see lake and ramble, but dense planting of ramble hid the reservoir which had to be accommodated (so weren't aware of the infrastructure) Rest of it consisted of meadows, separated by trees - the circulation works in contrast to the rectangular aspect of city, - winding paths, complete different way to move through space (vs geometry of the city) - edge of the park heavily planted fortification , enter park by walking through it, which shuts out the city - circulation accommodated different types of traffic, carriage rides, foot oaths and bridal paths - different kinds of people could use the park simultaneously - Reservoir disguised as lake, with rugged scenery, less domesticated than lower part of park - 1863 etching of the park beginning to be built - can see mall. lake, and ramble, perspective too high in this image, - Bruce Kelly Photo - tons of earth moved - not completed until late 1870's - reveal different character before and after of earth form and the planting and placement of rocks, amount of excavation, boulders not to be seen moved and all riseduous trees have been added - amount of earth moved for the par, enough to lower entire area of it by 4 feet - enormous and interesting project involved the transfer of water under the terrace form the reservoir, tuneless pipes, enormous infrastructure project FAH 377 LECTURE 2 JANUARY 18th 2012 Images of park- to give sense of how strategy played out and the scale of experi- ence - bridges, sheep, fantasy of constructing country life - work to construct fantasy of country life 19th- 20th c - 1. sheep meadow 2. waterfall at the ramble, made of granite , massive and apparently native "real" it is though all construction
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