CAP Lecture Series | Charles Birnbaum

Thursday, October 19, 2023 5:30pm to 7:30pm

Join the College of Architecture and Planning for a lecture by Charles Birnbaum, Thursday, October 19 at 5:30 p.m. at the Sturm Auditorium at the Denver Botanic Gardens.

Click HERE to RSVP to Attend.

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 are three Olmsteds. News flash: he didn’t live from 1822-1957. Generally speaking, there is still much to discover about his impact on the profession. Olmsted-designed landscapes are more than just picturesque scenery and public grounds for society’s use and enjoyment.

This presentation draws on 40 years of professional practice – incorporating big ideas and anecdotes and lifting the veil on those in Olmsted’s practice and his successor firms from 1857-1979, beyond those named Olmsted. Additionally, this presentation addresses how the Olmsted practice serves as the definer and proselytizer of the professional discipline that Olmsted senior named, how the firm defines what a corporate practice should look like and how it should function--including support for the “grand tour,” the idea of preparing multiple alternatives to sell your ideas.

Olmsted introduces new typologies (parkway, park system), recognizes that landscape is infrastructure and that a thorough understanding of soils and water (from watersheds and hydrology to soil remediation) is essential. He understands landscapes and cities to be dynamic, possessing intertwined systems that are guided and shaped, and the idea of managing change.

Finally, the presentation reflects on how we can steward Olmsted’s ideas and built works today – from a deeper and broader cultural context (e.g. race, gender) to supporting and collaborating with individuals and organizations who are working in their communities to engage with Olmsted and his legacy.

This lecture is presented by Civitas.

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We would also like to extend our thanks to ASLA Colorado and Landscape Forms. 

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