This major two-day symposium brings together experts in the fields of landscape architecture history and practice to examine the residential projects of the Olmsted firm, spanning from 1857 to 1979. Organized and hosted by Planting Fields Foundation, in conjunction with the National Association for Olmsted Parks (NAOP) and the Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site, this multi-day convening focuses on the impact of the Olmsted firm on residential landscape design, considering patronage, taste-making, and place-making for a private context; American landscapes and issues of race; methods of sustainability in the preservation and restoration of historic designed landscapes; and decision-making models for studying and sustaining historic design landscapes, among other topics.
TCLF’s President Charles A. Birnbaum will present his lecture “The Olmsted in All of Us,” charting the rise of the Olmsted renaissance in the mid-1960s during both the height of Modernism and the waning years of the Olmsted firm’s practice. This renewal of interest in Olmsted’s work began with Man and Nature: the Olmsted Exhibition at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design (GSD) on the centennial of New York City’s Central Park. Fascination in Olmsted’s practice was further advanced by the designation of Fairsted, his home and office in Brookline, Massachusetts, as the Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site in 1980. Diving deep into the meaning of the Olmsted renaissance, Birnbaum’s lecture will conclude with a call to action for the next generation of researchers, educators and designers, recognizing that the deeper they go, the more relevant Olmsted’s legacy becomes.