Press Releases

The Cultural Landscape Foundation Screens Oral History About Pioneering Landscape Architect James van Sweden at NYU’s Cantor Film Center, March 16

Media Contact: Nord Wennerstrom, Wennerstrom Communications | T: 202.255.7076 | E:

van Sweden Discusses Career, Philosophy & Creation of the New American Garden Pioneers Oral History series is Winner of ASLA 2010 Award of Excellence - Communications

Free Evening Event Sponsored by New York Chapter of American Society of Landscape Architects, The Horticultural Society of New York, New York Restoration Project and the New York Botanical Garden - with generous support from Seibert & Rice

Washington, D.C. (January 24, 2011) – On March 16, The Cultural Landscape Foundation (TCLF) will screen selections from its fifth illustrated, online Pioneers Oral History, this one focused on landscape architect James van Sweden (, 5:30 PM ET at New York University’s Cantor Film Center (36 East 8th Street). van Sweden, recipient of the 2010 American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) Design Medal, together with business partner Wolfgang Oehme and award-winning firm, designed the Federal Reserve Board Garden (Washington, D.C.), the Chicago Botanic Garden, and Nelson A. Rockefeller Park (New York, N.Y.), as well as hundreds of residential gardens across the country. In 25 separate segments totaling more than one and one half hours (taped 2009-2010), van Sweden discusses his life, career, influences, philosophy and the creation of the New American Garden. The event is free and open to the public courtesy sponsorship by the New York chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects, the Horticultural Society of New York, New York Restoration Project and the New York Botanical Garden, but space is limited and reservations are required (

The van Sweden Oral History includes a downloadable transcript of the interviews featured on the Web site, and reflections by 18 of his friends, family, colleagues, collaborators and co-workers about his life, career and legacy. Approximately 30 minutes of the oral history will be shown on March 16 followed by a panel discussion with clients and colleagues, and a book signing by Oehme van Sweden (OvS) principals of The Artful Garden (James van Sweden and Tom Christopher, Random House, 2011). Panelists include:

·         Tom Christopher, Co-Author of The Artful Garden, is a gardener and writer who apprenticed for two years at the New York Botanical Garden and graduated from the NYBG School of Professional Horticulture. A noted Rosarian and garden consultant, he has collaborated with OvS on other books and projects.

·         Suman Sorg, FAIA, is a collaborator, friend and client of James van Sweden and Chief Designer of Sorg and Associates in Washington, D.C. Sorg is committed to thoughtful, modern architecture that explores spatial, material and visual experiences. In a ‘creativity swap,’ Sorg designed Ferry Cove, van Sweden’s weekend house on the Chesapeake Bay, and OvS designed her neighboring garden. The partnership between Sorg and Associates and OvS includes the design of U.S. Embassies in Barbados, Nepal and Afghanistan.

·         Frank Castagna is Chairman of Castagna Realty Co, Inc, the New York development firm responsible for Americana Manhasset, Wheatley Plaza and Rock Rim Ponds, three of OvS’ larger-scale projects. Castagna also commissioned OvS for his private residence. OvS has been collaborating with Castagna Realty and Peter Marino Architects for more than thirty years.

·         Carole Rosenberg is co-owner of the Rosenberg Gallery and Alex Rosenberg Fine Art. With the recommendation of sculptor Lila Katzen, Mr. and Ms. Rosenberg commissioned OvS to design their garden on Mecox Bay in Water Mill, N.Y. - the first OvS garden in the Hamptons in 1981.

The series is an outgrowth of the Pioneers of American Landscape Design Project and currently includes oral histories with Edward Daugherty, M. Paul Friedberg, Lawrence Halprin and Carol Johnson. Collectively, these histories document and preserve the unique, first‐hand perspectives of renowned landscape practitioners. They are available free of charge to present and future generations of stewards, designers, researchers and others interested in the field.

“The Pioneers Oral History series is part of TCLF's overall goal of interpreting and protecting America's designed landscape legacy through its mission of ‘stewardship through education,’” said TCLF Founder and President Charles A. Birnbaum. “These oral histories foster a richer, deeper appreciation for often invisible, typically little‐known, and in some instances threatened works of landscape architecture.”

The series format spotlights the designer’s personal and professional history, their overall design philosophy and how that approach was carried out in their most emblematic projects. Richly edited, the video segments include never before seen archival footage, new photography, and on‐location videography.

Oral histories are currently in production about Cornelia Oberlander, Stuart O. Dawson and the late Robert Royston. The Pioneers Oral History series is winner of the ASLA 2010 Award of Excellence (Communications Category) and the recipient of a 2009 National Endowment for the Arts Design Arts grant. ASLA serves as the series official education partner. 


NY ASLA ( is the New York chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects, the national professional association founded in 1899 for landscape architects that represents more than 14,200 members. Members of ASLA automatically become members in their local/state chapter.

About The Horticultural Society of New York

The Horticultural Society of New York ( enhances New York City’s environmental and cultural life by providing unique educational, vocational and therapeutic outreach programs, library resources and exhibitions. It is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization, and relies on the generous support of individuals to continue providing our unique services to all New Yorkers.

About the New York Restoration Project

New York Restoration Project ( carries out Founder Bette Midler’s dream of a cleaner, greener New York City. To that end, NYRP restores, revitalizes and develops under-resourced parks and community gardens throughout the city’s five boroughs, working to ensure that every New York City resident, family and neighborhood has access to vibrant, green spaces. By providing enriching educational and community programming, NYRP also works to instill both individual and civic respect for nature and responsibility for contributing to New York City’s environmental sustainability.

About The New York Botanical Garden

The New York Botanical Garden ( is a museum of plants, an educational institution, and a scientific research organization. Founded in 1891 and now a National Historic Landmark, it is one of the greatest botanical gardens in the world and the largest in any city in the United States, distinguished by the beauty of its diverse landscape and extensive collections and gardens, as well as by the scope and excellence of its programs in horticulture, education, and science.

About Seibert & Rice

Seibert & Rice is the leading American importer of handmade terracotta planters and urns from Impruneta, Italy. For over fourteen years the company has provided terra cotta planters and urns to America’s most beautiful gardens, both large and small. Seibert & Rice have also placed terracotta pots in some of the most prestigious institutions in this country, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The New York Botanical Garden, Longwood Gardens, Biltmore Estate and the Boston Public Library.

About The Cultural Landscape Foundation

The 12-year old Cultural Landscape Foundation ( provides people with the ability to see, understand, and value landscape architecture and its practitioners, in the way many people have learned to do with buildings and their designers.  Through its Web site, lectures, outreach, and publishing, TCLF broadens the support and understanding for cultural landscapes nationwide to help safeguard our priceless landscape heritage for future generations.