Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Historic Preservation’ Category

Straying once again from the subject of landscape architecture, I am posting some photos of my favorite style of historic architecture. Art Deco buildings are not very common in the northeastern U.S., and I always get excited when I see a well-designed structure in this style, especially those with interesting details. Below are a few examples I’ve photographed during the last couple of years. Also, you can check out more on this subject in two of my previous posts: Miami Beach Art Deco and Art Deco in New York City.
 
A - 111 Eighth Avenue NYC
111 Eighth Avenue building, New York City
 
B - American Radiator Bldg. NYC
American Radiator building, New York City
 
F - Film Center NYC
Film Center building, New York City
 
E - Higgins Armory Building, Worcester MA
Higgins Armory building (former museum), Worcester, MA
 
D - Empire Diner NYC
Empire Diner, New York City
 
G - Grand theater, Ellsworth ME
Grand Theater, Ellsworth, ME
 
H - Greenwich Substation NYC
Greenwich Substation, New York City
 
I - NET&T bldg in Worcester MA
New England Telephone and Telegraph Co. building, Worcester, MA
 
C - Coca cola bldg in Worcester MA
Coca Cola building (former bottling plant), Worcester, MA
 
J - Salvation Army Bldg. 1 NYC
Salvation Army building, New York City
 
K - Salvation Army Bldg. 2 NYC
Salvation Army building, New York City
 
L - Starrett-Lehigh Bldg. NYC
Starrett-Lehigh building, New York City
 
Photos by Alice Webb, except Higgins Armory building photo (obtained from Wikimedia Commons, and cropped).

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Since we’re in the depths of winter here in the northern U.S., I’m sharing some photos of art deco buildings in Miami Beach, in happy pastel colors to help melt away the cold weather blues! I’ve always been a fan of this style of historic architecture, and am happy to see these buildings so well-preserved. For more on this topic, check out my post on art deco in New York City.

 

Deco district (1024x687) (2)

 

Avalon (728x1024)

 

Barbizon (1024x768)

 

Berkeley Shore (1024x796)

 

Blue & purple bldg (1024x669)

 

Boat-like hotel (1024x588)

 

Breakwater (683x1024)

 

Cavalier (1024x724)

 

Colony (683x1024)

 

Deco detail (1024x572)

 

Delano (1024x727)

 

Loews (683x1024)

 

Marlin (683x1024)

 

McAlpin (794x1024)

 

Park Central 3 (1024x667)

 

Starlite (683x1024)

 

Waldorf Towers (890x1024)

 

Winter Haven 2 (683x1024)
 
Photos by Alice Webb

Read Full Post »

Starting in the 1950s and extending into the ‘70s, playground design took a creative turn, away from the galvanized steel structures of yore. Instead of specifying manufactured pieces, designers began to customize entire play areas. Concrete, brick, and other hard materials were used extensively. Several playgrounds built in this style can be found in Central Park, New York City, (photos below). Some of these have been upgraded, maintaining the integrity of the original designs, while complying with today’s safety standards. I like the sculptural qualities and connectivity of the climbers and other features, in addition to the water play areas incorporated in several of the playgrounds. However, I found the spaces to be rather cold and drab in appearance. In my opinion, interspersing some low- and mid-sized plant materials throughout these playgrounds, (not just along the perimeters), would turn them into more inviting spaces and add play value to the sites.

 

1 - Ancient Playground A
Ancient Playground in Central Park, NYC, next to the Metropolitan Museum of Art

 

2 - Ancient Playground B
Ancient Playground in Central Park, NYC, next to the Metropolitan Museum of Art

 

3 - Adventure Playground A
Adventure Playground in Central Park, NYC

 

4 - Adventure Playground B
Water play in the Adventure Playground

 

5 - Adventure Playground C
Water play in the Adventure Playground

 

6 - Heckscher Playground A
Hecksher Playground in Central Park, NYC

 

7 - Heckscher Playground B
Hecksher Playground in Central Park (water play section)

 

Photos by Alice Webb

Read Full Post »

A grand estate built in 1904 in Oyster Bay, Long Island, Planting Fields is now a public arboretum owned by the State of New York. This spacious site includes a restored mansion with adjacent sweeping lawn areas bounded by large specimen trees; formal gardens and fountains; extensive plant collections; numerous woodland trails; tropical greenhouses; and other structures and spaces of historic value. There were several designers involved in planning this property over the years, including the Olmsted Brothers landscape architecture firm of Brookline, Massachusetts, who oversaw projects from 1918 until 1944. Below are a few images of the property that I took during a visit this summer.

 


Colorful blooms at the Arboretum Center

 


Vegetation covers a wall near the Rose and Pool Gardens

 


The Italian Blue Pool Garden

 


Perennials at the Pool Garden

 


Perennials at the Pool Garden

 


A pleasant, shady trail

 


Parrotia persica in the Synoptic Garden

 


The Synoptic Garden includes an extensive plant collection.

 


Coe Hall (north side)

 


Coe Hall (south side)

 


East Lawn near Coe Hall

 

Photos by Alice Webb

Read Full Post »


 

After moving to the northeastern U.S., I became intrigued by the numerous historic parkways that crisscross parts of New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, and some neighboring states. They’re a pleasant alternative to the interstate highways, primarily due to their scenic qualities and absence of commercial truck traffic. I have only traveled on a few of these picturesque roads so far, but I look forward to experiencing more of them.

Historic parkways can be found elsewhere in this country, but not at such a high concentration as one will find in the northeast, especially in New York City and surrounding areas. In fact, the first parkway built in the U.S. was the Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn, designed in 1866 by landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted and architect/designer Calvert Vaux. These two coined the term “parkway”, whose original intent was to provide a scenic connection to and between parks. Eastern Parkway terminates at Prospect Park, also designed by Olmsted and Vaux.

After World War I, the newer parkways took on several distinguishing characteristics. These include the exclusion of commercial vehicles, limiting access to a few interchanges, curvilinear alignments, and emphasis on experience (instead of getting to one’s destination as quickly as possible). Also, the land acquisitions became much wider with these later parkways, providing better buffering from surrounding development. The first road to be designed in this manner was the Bronx River Parkway, built in 1923.

Landscape architects and engineers worked as teams designing many of these parkways. These two professions collaborated on determining alignment of the roadways, which included many ecological and scenic considerations. Although landscape architects designed the parkway plantings as well, this was only one small part of their role.

Below are some photos of the Merritt Parkway in Connecticut, which I traveled for the first time this month. I was amazed by the variety of bridges along this roadway, most of which are outstanding works of art, executed in a range of styles. Also, the many mature trees along this 37.5-mile stretch of road, including some in the medians, make the drive a very pleasant experience. Unfortunately, the decorative elements on some of the bridges are deteriorating, and the Merritt Parkway has also suffered from other symptoms of neglect. The National Trust for Historic Preservation included it in its 2010 list as one of America’s most endangered historic places.

Many historic parkways in this region have been facing the pressures of increasing traffic over the decades since they were built. Insensitive alterations and lack of maintenance have also contributed to their decline. I remain hopeful that funds will become available to restore these roadways after this nation’s economy improves. Perhaps reducing and enforcing speed limits would also discourage drivers from using the parkways for their daily commutes, and return them to their original intent as scenic byways.

 


One of 66 unique bridges on the Merritt Parkway. This one includes small bas-reliefs on the abutments.

 


There are many mature trees along the Merritt Parkway.

 


Approaching another decorative overpass on the Merritt Parkway

Photos by Alice Webb

Read Full Post »

Lawrence Halprin (1916-2009) was a prominent American landscape architect who designed many modernist parks, plazas, fountains, and other projects, primarily in the 1960s and 1970s. Many of his works feature poured-in-place concrete forms and running water that represent natural elements and processes. In Portland, Oregon, Halprin’s firm designed a series of three public spaces, which I visited in May of this year. The water in the fountains had been turned off at that time, but presumably would be back on during the summer months, since the fountains are meant to be accessible.

Sadly, some notable modernist landscapes have been poorly-maintained and at risk of demolition and re-design. Several of Halprin’s works have been threatened in this manner, but The Cultural Landscape Foundation has brought attention to these and other endangered landscapes through its Landslide education campaign. So far, Halprin’s Portland parks have not been considered at-risk.

 


Keller Fountain Park: The design of the Ira Keller Fountain (water turned off at time of photo) was inspired by the waterfalls of the Colombia River Gorge.

 


Keller Fountain Park: The fountain was designed to be accessible and therefore has 36” safety barriers along the edges.

 


Pettygrove Park includes this sculpture called “The Dreamer” by Manuel Izquierdo. In summer the pool surrounding the sculpture is filled with water.

 


Pettygrove Park features circular and curvilinear forms, and includes numerous grass mounds.

 


Lovejoy Fountain Park: Fountain and “stepping stones” (water turned off)

 


Lovejoy Fountain Park: The lower pool of the fountain is in foreground, with modernist-style buildings lining the east edge of the park.

 


Pleasant pedestrian walkways connect the Halprin parks in Portland.

Photos by Alice Webb

Read Full Post »