John Charles Olmsted

John Charles Olmsted

John Charles Olmsted (1852-1920), the nephew and adopted son of Frederick Law Olmsted, was an American landscape architect and a member of Olmsted Brothers, a landscape design firm in Brookline, Massachusetts. The firm is famous for designing many public places, including Central Park. John Olmsted's body of work from over 40 years as a landscape architect has left its mark on the American urban landscape.

John Olmsted continued the park planning begun by his father. He carried his design philosophy of integrated park systems into new cities such as Portland, Maine, Portland, Oregon, Seattle, Spokane, Dayton, and Charleston. In these cities he pioneered his comprehensive planning philosophy of integrating civic buildings, roads, parks, and greenspaces into livable urban areas.

Olmsted also designed individual parks in New Orleans, Watertown, New York, and Chicago. His work in park design led to commissions for numerous institutions such as school campuses, civic buildings, and state capitols, as well as designs for large residential areas, including roads and schools. His work in comprehensive planning for the communities surrounding industrial plants and factories is considered especially noteworthy.

In all his work, John Olmsted retained a sensitivity to the natural beauty of the site, including its views, vistas, and greenways, and an awareness that communities and public areas must be comfortable and inviting. He favored modest, informal structures in a naturalistic setting to large, imposing structures.

His first plan for an exposition was his work for the 1893 Chicago World's Fair.Fact|date=February 2007 He continued with the 1906 Lewis and Clark Centennial Exposition in Portland, Oregon, and the 1909 Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition.

In 1899, John Olmsted was a founding member and first president of the American Society of Landscape Architects.

elected works

*1903 - The Seattle City Council hired the Olmsted Brothers to develop a comprehensive plan for Seattle's city parks and boulevards. John Olmsted was the firm's principal designer in Seattle and laid out a 20-mile-long system of interconnected parkways that linked parks and playfields, greenways, and natural lakes and waterways.

*1903 - Grant Park, Atlanta, Georgia

*1903 - Washington Park, Portland, Oregon

*1905 - Druid Hills residential district, Atlanta

*1906 - Oregon State University commissioned John Olmsted to complete a master plan for its Corvallis campus that included the construction of 23 new buildings

*1908 - Bryn Mawr College hired John Olmsted to update the general campus landscaping plan originally provided by his father and to include a private garden and a small theater in the round

*1909 - Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition World's Fair

*1909 - Comprehensive plan for the University of Washington

*1911 - Capitol Lake and the grounds of the Washington State Capitol in Olympia, Washington [ [ Grounds ] at]


* [ National Association of Olmsted Parks - John Charles Olmsted]
* [ Olmsted Parks in Seattle, Ibid.]
* [ Seattle's Olmsted Parks]
* [ University of Washington Campus plans]
* [ Bryn Mawr College Plan]

External links

* [ John Olmsted arrives in Seattle to design city parks on April 30, 1903] at

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