Rebecca Messner looks at the groundbreaking work being done by the present generation of landscape architects, and wonders why the only one most people can name died more than a century ago.

1 minute read

April 17, 2012, 2:00 PM PDT

By Jonathan Nettler @nettsj


Of course, unable to shake his indelible impact, Messner begins her effort to raise the profile of the present generation of landscape architects by "geeking out" on Frederick Law Olmsted for several paragraphs.

With historical perspective out of the way, Messner turns her attention to today's urban parks, which "are changing the way people interact with cities, just as Olmsted's were." Paying particular attention to projects by Nelson Byrd Woltz, AECOM, and James Corner Field Operations, designers of the High Line, she finds that "suddenly, urban parks are cool again, and not in the way they've always been (It's springtime, let's have lunch in the park!) but in a way that makes the act of actually designing them look really impressive and hip."

Noting the love-hate relationship between the current crop of landscape architects and the ever-present shadow of Olmsted, Messner believes that "the more this new guard of landscape architects tries to distance themselves from Olmsted, the more, in the end, they resemble him."

Monday, April 16, 2012 in Grist

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