Olmsted Calendar

INASLA Conference on Landscape Architecture 2022

Columbus, IN

This year's Indiana Chapter ASLA Conference on Landscape Architecture will elevate the unique nature of our profession which lives at the intersection of horticulture, engineering, architecture, the arts, experiential design, storytelling, human behavior, ecology, spirituality, history, and culture. Our inspiration can come from anywhere because we see how all these things are connected in the world. Project types can vary greatly; yet we are asked to flex into each project – intrinsically bringing a wholistic point of view to both discover and “connect the dots.” As part of this conference TCLF President and CEO Charles A. Birnbaum will present a plenary keynote address,"The Olmsted in All of Us."

As the 200th anniversary of Frederick Law Olmsted’s birth approaches, the life of this pioneering landscape architect is increasingly celebrated. But what is the true legacy of Olmsted’s career as a designer, planner, educator, reformer, advocate, activist, inventor, innovator and influencer for today’s society?

Birnbaum will explore this question by charting the rise of the Olmsted renaissance in the mid-1960s during both the height of Modernism and the waning years of the Olmsted firm’s practice. This renewal of interest, which began with “Man and Nature: the Olmsted Exhibition” at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design (GSD) on the centennial of New York City’s Central Park, was advanced by the designation of Fairsted, Olmsted’s home and office in Brookline, Massachusetts, as the Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site in 1980.

Two more organizations — the National Association of Olmsted Parks and the Central Park Conservancy — were founded that same year. Together, these entities became a dynamic center of ideas and energy that introduced Olmsted to a new generation of landscape architects, historians, preservation professionals and the public. An archival treasure trove of over 300,000 documents produced by the Olmsted firm further invited and enabled an unprecedented level of research, documentation and analysis of his work.

Diving deep into the meaning of the Olmsted renaissance, Birnbaum’s lecture will conclude with a call to action for the next generation of research and practice, recognizing that the deeper they go, the more relevant Olmsted’s legacy becomes.