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PARTY IN THE PARK: April 26, 2022, marked 200 years since the birth of iconic American landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, a crusader, conservationist, and advocate who championed the concept of public parks in the United States.

aerial view of Vanderbilt Biltmore estate garden, formal landscape design
Frederick Law Olmsted designed the grounds at George and Edith Vanderbilt’s Biltmore estate, in Asheville, North Carolina. Photograph courtesy the Biltmore Company.

red brick open air summer house with arched entry in formal garden
The summerhouse on the U.S. capitol grounds was completed in 1881.

To mark the anniversary, more than 120 organizations have come together to launch Olmsted 200: Parks for All People, a yearlong celebration comprising talks, parties, exhibitions, and more. Olmsted’s career spanned more than 50 years, and he designed some of the country’s most beloved parks, including New York’s Central Park and Prospect Park, and the U.S. Capitol Grounds. “Frederick Law Olmsted proffered the idea that landscape architecture could create places that bolster the project of American democracy,” says Sara Zewde, founder of Studio Zewde and assistant professor of practice at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design. “As we look at American life today, we see a great need and opportunity to build on these original aims of landscape architecture. That’s what Olmsted 200 is all about.”

grove of tall trees with yellow foliage, people sitting in park
Inspired by the grand parks and boulevards in Paris and Berlin, Olmstead coined the term "parkway" to describe roadways lined with continuous leafy trees and parks for strolling. Chapin Parkway, Buffalo Parks System. Photographic by Zhi Ting Phua.

statue of greek goddess Diana under a garden arbor with wisteria estate grounds
Diana, goddess of the hunt, located on the hill overlooking the house at the Biltmore estate. The original terra cotta work, based on a marble housed in the Louvre, was replaced with a marble version carved by H. Whinery Oppice in the 1970s.

As seen in issue No. 63


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