Hugh Howard - "Architects of an American Landscape" - Ali Feser

Thursday, February 10, 2022 - 6:00pm - 7:00pm
Event Presenter/Author: 
Hugh Howard

Hugh Howard discusses Architects of an American Landscape: Henry Hobson Richardson, Frederick Law Olmsted, and the Reimagining of America's Public and Private Spaces. He will be in joined in conversation by Ali Feser.

Presented in partnership with Chicago Studies at UChicago

Virtual Event

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About the book: As the nation recovered from a cataclysmic war, two titans of design profoundly influenced how Americans came to interact with the built and natural world around them through their pioneering work in architecture and landscape design.

Frederick Law Olmsted is widely revered as America's first and finest parkmaker and environmentalist, the force behind Manhattan's Central Park, Brooklyn's Prospect Park, Biltmore's parkland in Asheville, dozens of parks across the country, and the preservation of Yosemite and Niagara Falls. Yet his close friend and sometime collaborator, Henry Hobson Richardson, has been almost entirely forgotten today, despite his outsized influence on American architecture--from Boston's iconic Trinity Church to Chicago's Marshall Field Wholesale Store to the Shingle Style and the wildly popular "open plan" he conceived for family homes. Individually they created much-beloved buildings and public spaces. Together they married natural landscapes with built structures in train stations and public libraries that helped drive the shift in American life from congested cities to developing suburbs across the country.

The small, reserved Olmsted and the passionate, Falstaffian Richardson could not have been more different in character, but their sensibilities were closely aligned. In chronicling their intersecting lives and work in the context of the nation's post-war renewal, Hugh Howard reveals how these two men created original all-American idioms in architecture and landscape that influence how we enjoy our public and private spaces to this day.

About the author: Hugh Howard is the author of numerous books on architecture and design, including Architecture’s Odd Couple; Dr. Kimball and Mr. Jefferson; Thomas Jefferson: Architect; Houses of the Founding Fathers; and a memoir, House-Dreams. He lives in New Hampshire.

About the interlocutor: Ali Feser is currently a Harper Schmidt Fellow and Collegiate Assistant Professor in the Social Science at the University of Chicago. She is a cultural anthropologist trained at Bard College and the University of Chicago, and her work is situated at the intersection of visual studies, science studies, queer and feminist theory, and the anthropology of late industrialism. Her book manuscript, Photochemical Life in the Imaging Capital of the World, is an ethnography of U.S. visual culture, industrial capitalism, and political fantasy through a material history of Kodak film. She is also collaborating with artist Jason Lazarus on a series of installations based on her research.

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