Frederick Law Olmsted

Infos
Peinture sur huile de Frederick Law Olmsted par John Singer Sargent (1895). Frederick Law Olmsted (26 avril 1822 à Hartford, Connecticut - 28 août 1903) était un architecte-paysagiste américain, célèbre entre autres pour la conception de nombreux parcs urbains, dont le Central Park de New York et le parc Mont-Royal à Montréal.
Frederick Law Olmsted

Peinture sur huile de Frederick Law Olmsted par John Singer Sargent (1895). Frederick Law Olmsted (26 avril 1822 à Hartford, Connecticut - 28 août 1903) était un architecte-paysagiste américain, célèbre entre autres pour la conception de nombreux parcs urbains, dont le Central Park de New York et le parc Mont-Royal à Montréal.

Vie et carrière

Né d'un marchand et d'une fille de fermier, Olmsted était fasciné par la nature depuis son enfance. Après avoir fréquenté l'Académie Phillips, il étudia l'agronomie et l'ingénierie à l'Université Yale. En 1843, il se rendit en Chine pour une année, revint travailler sur sa ferme du Connecticut, puis repartit pour la ville de New York où il acheta une petite ferme expérimentale de 0, 5 km² sur Staten Island. Cette ferme, dénommée Les Bois d'Arden (The Woods of Arden) par son ancien propriétaire, fut renommée Ferme Tomosock (Tomosock Farm) par Olmsted. Olmsted fit également une importante carrière en journalisme. En 1850, il se rendit en Europe afin de visiter certains jardins publics de Paris, Londres et ViennePhilippe Coste, « Happy birthday Central Park ! », dans L'Express du 31/07/2003, . Il publia, en 1852 Walks and Talks of an American Farmer in England (Promenades et commentaires d'un fermier américain en Angleterre). Intéressé par l'économie esclavagiste, il fut chargé par le New York Daily Times (maintenant le New York Times) de se rendre au Texas et dans le sud des États-Unis de 1852 à 1857 afin d'étudier la question. Il en conclut non seulement que la pratique de l'esclavagisme était moralement odieuse, mais qu'elle était également coûteuse et économiquement inefficace. Ses dépêches furent conservées et constituent aujourd'hui de précieux documents concernant la période avant la guerre civile. Olmsted fut également le co-fondateur de la revue The Nation, en 1865. Frederick Law Olmsted en 1857 Olmsted's friend and mentor, Andrew Jackson Downing, the charismatic landscape architect from Newburgh, New York first proposed the development of New York's Central Park as publisher of The Horticulturist magazine. It was Downing who introduced Olmsted to the English-born architect Calvert Vaux, whom Downing had personally brought back from England as his architect-collaborator. After Downing died a hero's death in a steamboat explosion on the Hudson River in July 1852, in his honor Olmsted and Vaux entered the Central Park design competition together—and won. On his return from the South, Olmsted began executing the plan almost immediately. Olmsted and Vaux continued their informal partnership to design Prospect Park in Brooklyn from 1866 to 1868, and other projects. Vaux remained in the shadow of Olmsted's grand public personality and social connections. The design of Central Park embodies Olmsted's social consciousness and commitment to egalitarian ideals. Influenced by Downing and by his own observations regarding social class in England, China and the American South, Olmsted believed that the common green space must always be equally accessible to all citizens. This principle is now so fundamental to the idea of a "public park" as to seem self-evident, but it was not so then. Olmsted's tenure as park commissioner was one long struggle to preserve that idea. After completing Central Park, Olmsted served as Executive Secretary of the U.S. Sanitary Commission, a precursor to the Red Cross in Washington D.C. which tended to the wounded during the Civil War. After the war he managed the Mariposa mining estate in the Sierra Nevada mountains in California. In 1865 Vaux and Olmsted formed Olmsted, Vaux and Company. When Olmsted returned to New York, he and Vaux designed Prospect Park, Chicago's Riverside subdivision, Buffalo, New York's park system, and the Niagara Reservation at Niagara Falls. Olmsted not only created city parks in many cities around the country, he also conceived of entire systems of parks and interconnecting parkways which connected certain cities to green spaces. An example of the scale on which Olmsted worked is one of the largest pieces of his work, the park system designed for Buffalo, New York. Olmsted was a frequent collaborator with Henry Hobson Richardson for whom he devised the landscaping schemes for half a dozen projects, including Richardson's commission for the Buffalo State Asylum. In 1883 Olmsted established what is considered to be the first full-time landscape architecture firm in Brookline, Massachusetts. He called the home and office compound Fairsted, which today is the recently-restored Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site. From there Olmsted designed Boston's Emerald Necklace, the campus of Stanford University and the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago among many other projects. In 1895, senility forced him to retire. He moved to Belmont, Massachusetts and took up residence at McLean Hospital, which he had landscaped several years before, where he remained until his death in 1903, and burial in the Old North Cemetery, Hartford, Connecticut. After Olmsted's death, his sons John Charles Olmsted and Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr. continued the work of their firm, doing business as the Olmsted Brothers. The firm lasted until 1950.

Voir aussi

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Sujets connexes
Agronomie   Andrew Jackson Downing   Californie   Calvert Vaux   Central Park   Civilisation chinoise   Connecticut   Europe   Hartford (Connecticut)   Henry Hobson Richardson   Ingénierie   John Singer Sargent   Journalisme   L'Express   Mariposa   Montréal   Morale   New York, New York   Niagara Falls   Olmsted Brothers   Parc Mont-Royal   Staten Island   Texas   Université Yale  
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