Hosted by the ICAA Southeast Chapter | 1 AIA CES Learning Unit|Elective | 1 LA CES PDH
April 2022 marked the bicentennial of Frederick Law Olmsted, Sr.’s birth. Although many still do not know that there is no “A” in his name, and that there were three Olmsted’s. His impact on the profession – and the public – from coast-to-coast – is still not fully understood. Olmsted-designed landscapes are more than picturesque scenery and public grounds for society’s use and enjoyment.
This presentation draws on forty years of professional practice – incorporating big ideas, anecdotes, and aims to lift the veil on those in Olmsted’s practice and his successor firms from 1857-1979 (beyond those named Olmsted). Additionally, the presentation will address how the Olmsted practice served as the definer and proselytizer of the professional discipline that Sr. named, how the firm came to define what a corporate practice should look like and how it should function and how landscape architects need to seize the opportunity to lead and orchestrate from the planning of cities and campuses to getting involved early and siting the building architecture.
Olmsted introduced new typologies (parkway, park system), he recognized that landscape was Infrastructure and that a thorough understanding of soils and water (from watersheds and hydrology to soil remediation) was essential. He understood landscapes and cities to be dynamic, possessing intertwined systems that could be guided and shaped, and the idea of managing change.
Finally, the presentation concludes with reflections of how we can steward Olmsted’s ideas and built works today – from a deeper and broader cultural context to supporting and collaborating with individuals and organizations who are working in their communities to engage with Olmsted and his legacy.
Charles’ most recent book Experiencing Olmsted: The Enduring Legacy of Frederick Law Olmsted's North American Landscapes (Timber Press, 2022) will be available for purchase.
This lecture is offered in collaboration with the Olmsted Linear Park Alliance, Atlanta, Georgia. Olmsted Linear Park is a 45-acre greenspace and old-growth forest that meanders along Ponce de Leon Avenue. The Druid Hills neighborhood and the park were designed by Frederick Law Olmsted in the late 1890’s. The Olmsted Linear Park Alliance oversees the management and preservation of the park.
Charles A. Birnbaum, FASLA, FAAR, is the president, CEO, and founder of The Cultural Landscape Foundation (TCLF). Prior to creating TCLF, Birnbaum spent fifteen years as the coordinator of the National Park Service Historic Landscape Initiative (HLI) and a decade in private practice in New York City, with a focus on landscape preservation and urban design.
Since taking the helm at the foundation in 2008, Birnbaum’s major projects include the web-based initiative What’s Out There (a searchable database of the nation’s designed landscape heritage) and the creation of the first International Prize in Landscape Architecture named for Cornelia Hahn Oberlander. He has authored and edited numerous publications, including the most recent publications: Experiencing Olmsted: The Enduring Legacy of Frederick Law Olmsted's North American Landscapes (Timber Press, 2022); and Shaping the Postwar Landscape, (UVA Press, 2018).
In 1995, the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) awarded the HLI the President's Award of Excellence. In 1996, the ASLA inducted Birnbaum as a Fellow of the Society. He served as a Loeb Fellow at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design, during which time he founded TCLF. In 2004, Birnbaum was awarded the Rome Prize in Historic Preservation and Conservation and spent the spring and summer of that year at the American
Academy in Rome. In 2008, he was the Visiting Glimcher Distinguished Professor at Ohio State University's Austin E. Knowlton School of Architecture. That same year, the ASLA awarded him the Alfred B. LaGasse Medal, followed by the President’s Medal in 2009. In 2017, Birnbaum received the ASLA Medal, the Society's highest award. Birnbaum has served as a Visiting Professor at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, a visiting critic at Harvard’s GSD, and currently serves as a Lecturer in Landscape Architecture at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design. He was also a frequent contributor to the Huffington Post (2011-18). In 2020 Birnbaum received the Landezine International Landscape Honour Award as well as the Garden Club of America’s Historic Preservation Medal. In 2023 TCLF received ASLA’s Olmsted Medal.
At the End of this course, participants will be able to:
Presented as part of the Bunny Mellon Curricula at the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art. The ICAA is very grateful to the Gerard B. Lambert Foundation for its generous support of this program, along with the Bunny Mellon Curricula Sponsors:
Lead Sponsor, Hollander Design Landscape Architects
Garden Symposium Sponsor, Kathryn M. and Ronald J. Herman Charitable Foundation
Garden Design Prize Sponsor, Harrison Design
Continuing Education and Public Programs Sponsor, Charlotte Moss
Film Series Sponsor, Janice Parker Landscape Architects
The ICAA Southeast Chapter thanks
Additional support is provided by:American Society of Landscape ArchitectsGeorgia Chapter
Carter and Hampton MorrisFernbank Museum of Natural HistorySpencer Tunnell
This event is hosted by an ICAA Chapter. Please check the Chapter website or contact the Chapter directly for the most up-to-date details including dates, times, and pricing.
The ICAA is excited to offer AIA CES Learning Units|Elective and LA CES PDHs for attendance at the lecture.
Instructional Delivery Method: Live In-Person Learning Program
Program Level: Introductory
Prerequisites: None required
AIA CES Program Approval Expiration Date: June 5, 2026
AIA Provider Number: G193
AIA Provider Statement: The Institute of Classical Architecture & Art is a registered provider of AIA-approved continuing education under Provider Number G193. All registered AIA CES Providers must comply with the AIA Standards for Continuing Education Programs. Any questions or concerns about this provider or this learning program may be sent to AIA CES ([email protected] or (800) AIA 3837, Option 3).
This learning program is registered with AIA CES for continuing professional education. As such, it does not include content that may be deemed or construed to be an approval or endorsement by the AIA of any material of construction or any method or manner of handling, using, distributing, or dealing in any material or product.
AIA continuing education credit has been reviewed and approved by AIA CES. Learners must complete the entire learning program to receive continuing education credit. AIA continuing education Learning Units earned upon completion of this course will be reported to AIA CES for AIA members. Certificates of Completion for both AIA members and non-AIA members are available upon request.
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