Second Wave of Modernism

Chicago, IL

The central motivation of the conference is in-depth consideration of the reappearance of modernist tendencies in current landscape architectural practices.

If the first wave of modernism in landscape architecture began in 1929 with the design of Fletcher Steele’s revolutionary application of a bent axis at the Camden Amphitheatre in Maine, and quietly ended at the Bicentennial on July 4, 1976 with the ribbon-cutting of projects such as Lawrence Halprin’s Freeway Park in Seattle and Heritage Park in Fort Worth; Hideo Sasaki’s Waterfront Park in Boston; Bob Zion’s Waterfront Park in Cincinnati; and SOM’s design for Constitution Gardens in Washington, DC, what happened in Landscape Architecture after that? Unlike architecture, which experienced a two-decade romance with post modernism, the same did not occur in the landscape architecture profession. Today the terms modern and minimal are casually applied to public landscapes and gardens without any deep understanding of what makes them modern. The conference will explore this question by looking at the work of leading landscape architecture and garden design professionals to identify how it is influenced by the preceding generation.

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