Honoring Garden Design and Landscape Architecture

Peter’s Reflections
A monthly column by ICAA President, Peter Lyden

Consult the genius of the place in all;

That tells the waters or to rise, or fall;

Or helps th’ ambitious hill the heav’ns to scale,

Or scoops in circling theatres the vale;

Calls in the country, catches opening glades,

Joins willing woods, and varies shades from shades,

Now breaks, or now directs, th’ intending lines;

Paints as you plant, and, as you work, designs.

                         (Alexander Pope, Epistle IV, to Richard Boyle, Earl of Burlington)

Here at the ICAA, we have recently featured many prominent garden designers and landscape architects in our national agenda: from Thomas Woltz of Nelson Byrd Woltz, to Arne Maynard, to Doyle Herman Design Associates, and others. Not only do we recognize their talents, but we also note how they are making the cityscapes and landscapes of today greener and more beautiful.

Seven Ponds Farm designed by Nelson Byrd Woltz

Thomas Woltz’s work was recently honored at the inaugural John Russell Pope Awards, hosted by the ICAA’s Washington Mid Atlantic Chapter on April 17, 2015. Thomas has devoted 16 years to creating the spectacular gardens at Seven Ponds Farm in Albemarle County, Virginia. On this 140-acre site, Thomas re-introduced rare plant species that are native to Virginia and expanded water systems to enhance animal habitats. He has always stressed the importance of creating the “highest level of biodiversity.” Seven Ponds Farm is an exquisite demonstration of the cross-section between science and high art.

Seven Ponds Farm designed by Nelson Byrd Woltz

Raised on a family farm at the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina, Thomas had a connection to the land from a young age. His designs demonstrate his commitment to sustainable agriculture, wildlife conservation, and supporting indigenous soil, plants, and water. His primary goal is to create a healthy environment, which in turn, leads to a more beautiful landscape. Thomas’s upcoming projects include designing the eight-acre garden at Hudson Yards in Manhattan, and redefining the landscape park at Olana. We are thrilled to have Thomas in the ICAA family and look forward to seeing the impact of his innovative and sustainable design philosophy spread.

ICAA New York Chapter’s Lecture with Arne Maynard

The garden designs of Arne Maynard

The garden designs of Arne Maynard

Recently, our New York Chapter-in-formation invited top British garden designer Arne Maynard to be the featured speaker at The Century Club on April 8, 2015. His fascinating lecture kept all 200 attendees in rapt attention. Arne described the collaborative process he uses to design a garden, which begins with carefully studying the history and environment of a place, including the main house, before beginning his plans. He described how he prefers for guests to arrive through garden spaces to a home’s front entrance. Therefore, he eliminates car parks directly in front of homes, as they obstruct the landscape and negatively impact the views from the interior spaces. He takes pride in doing plantings that fit within the landscape, taking care not to alter the landscape drastically, to maintain a natural element to his designs. Everyone at the lecture was inspired by the beautiful photos of his work and his own garden, Allt-y-bela in Wales, as well as by hearing how he incorporates the land’s natural elements into his designs.

Doyle Herman Design Associates 2014 Stanford White Award Winning Project in Landscape Design

These successful efforts came in the wake of a wonderful national series of lectures and book signings last year by ICAA Board Member Kathryn Herman and James Doyle. The 2014 Stanford White Award winners’ monograph, The Landscape Designs of Doyle Herman Design Associates, highlights the firm’s award-winning work and renowned sense of restraint and purpose.

Beatrix Farrand Garden at Bellefield, Hyde Park, NY (Image: David Nicholls / Flickr: netnicholls)

The ICAA is proud to recognize these talented individuals and their positive impact on the way we live. Gardening and landscape architecture are an important part of the ICAA’s mission, and we look forward to offering more lectures, garden tours, and featured articles in the coming months and years. For me, Beatrix Farrand is one of the most inspirational landscape designers, and her gardens at Dumbarton Oaks, Bellefield in Hyde Park, and The Mount are some of my favorite exterior spaces. I would love to hear about your favorite gardens and the landscape architects who inspire you. Please share your thoughts in the comments below!

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Inspired Places & Spaces – May

For this month’s Inspired Places & Spaces feature, Edith Platten and Jeanz Holt of ICAA’s Education Department share their favorite sites:

Jeanz Holt, Associate Director of Education & Special Collections: The Great Mosque-Cathedral of Córdoba is one of the buildings that made me fall in love with architecture. The building has an incredible history of being shared and split into different cultural identities, and each element of the building seems eager to share its story. It’s an overwhelming space, and it inspires me to keep learning and striving to understand the architectural language.

Mosque-Cathedral of Córdoba

Mosque-Cathedral of Córdoba

Edith Platten, Director of Education: My favorite place has to be my parents’ farm in Cambridgeshire, England where I grew up.  We moved there when I was 14.  There was no house, no electricity, no running water, just a million frogs, a lake, a decrepit old barn and acres of land.  Slowly but surely the old barn was restored to a wonderful home, water was pumped up from the clean, fresh, well and we had electricity installed…20 years on and it is a beautiful haven of wild flowers, an orchard, an airy farm house and rickety old jetty for swimming in the lake…many, many treasured memories and an inspired and inspiring place to be.

Cambridgeshire, England

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The 34th Annual Arthur Ross Awards

On the evening of Monday, May 4, 2015, over 400 supporters of the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art (ICAA) gathered in New York City to celebrate the 34th annual Arthur Ross Awards for Excellence in the Classical Tradition.

The 2015 award recipients were ADAM Architecture (Architecture); Moule & Polyzoides (Community Design/Civic Design/City Planning); Merchant Ivory Productions and James Ivory (Fine Arts); Elizabeth White and Samuel G. White (Writing/Editing); and Léon Krier (Board of Directors Honor).

“One thing that struck me about all of our award winners was how collaborative their work is, dependent on so many other artists, artisans, professionals, and collaborators. This is no surprise, as one of the ICAA’s most unique qualities is how our community includes and embraces so many different fields,” said ICAA President Peter Lyden in his remarks.

ICAA Chairman Mark Ferguson presented awards to each of the five recipients, while highlighting images from their key projects.

Established in 1982, the Arthur Ross Awards further the educational mission of the ICAA by recognizing the achievements and contributions of architects, painters, sculptors, artisans, landscape designers, educators, publishers, patrons, and others dedicated to preserving and advancing the classical tradition.

Honorary Chairs for the evening were Mrs. Janet Ross and Ambassador William J. vanden Heuvel.

Serving on the Dinner Committee were Co-Chairs Suzanne Santry, Suzanne Tucker, and Bunny Williams, along with Tim Barber, Courtney Coleman, Thomas Jayne, and Nicholas S.G. Stern.

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A Special Presentation by the 2015 Arthur Ross Award Winners

In celebration of the 34th Annual Arthur Ross Awards, the ICAA presented a special symposium and cocktail reception on Sunday, May 3rd featuring the winners of this year’s Arthur Ross Awards for Excellence in the Classical Tradition.

The evening included a round table discussion and fascinating question and answer session with Robert Adam of ADAM Architecture (winner of the Architecture category); Elizabeth Moule and Stefanos Polyzoides of Moule & Polyzoides (winner of the Community Design/Civic Design/City Planning category); James Ivory (winner of the Fine Arts category); Samuel and Elizabeth White (winners of the Writing/Editing category); and Leon Krier (winner of the Board of Director’s Honor).

The discussion and reception took place at the offices of Robert A.M Stern Architects, who generously hosted the symposium in their stunning offices on West 34th Street. With an inspirational view of the sunset over the Hudson River as a backdrop, guests enjoyed cocktails and conversation as they discussed the creative work of the following evening’s honorees.

Photo Credit: Greg Cherny, RAMSA

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ICAA Welcomes Students from Tuskegee University

The Institute of Classical Architecture & Art was pleased to host a class visit from Tuskegee University’s Robert R. Taylor School of Architecture and Construction Science. Professor Thomas Kaufmann, ICAA Fellow Emeritus and recipient of a Certificate in Classical Architecture, brought eleven of his students to the ICAA as part of a tour of New York and its prominent traditional architecture firms. The students received a tour of the Henry Hope Reed Library and the new Cast Hall. The ICAA is honored to be part of the students’ trip to New York and would like to extend a special thank you to Professor Thomas Kaufmann for bringing his students.

To arrange a class visit to the ICAA please contact education@classicist.org.


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Architecture and Film

Peter’s Reflections
A monthly column by ICAA President, Peter Lyden

As ICAA Board Member Gary Brewer stated at our recent Roman & Williams lecture, “I look to movies for inspiration in architecture and interiors as much as I look to architects.” This intersection between film and architecture is a fascinating subject, which the ICAA will be exploring in the upcoming year.

As you may know, James Ivory and Merchant & Ivory Productions will be receiving an Arthur Ross Award at our May 4th ceremony. James’s work has had an immense impact on me and many of our own ICAA family members as you will see below. Also this coming fall, we are excited by the prospect of creating a new lecture series about film and architecture. Stephen Alesch and Robin Standefer of Roman and Williams, with their incredible experience with set and production design, will partner with James Ivory to help develop this series.

The best part of my job is working with the amazing talent from the ICAA community. Therefore, when thinking about this topic, I turned to some of our members for their insight. For some, one film stood out as their greatest source of cinematic inspiration, while others had a roster of wide-ranging films that have influenced them in various ways, and for many, these films have directly impacted their own design work.

Interestingly, Gary Brewer referenced Jacques Tati’s Playtime as helping confirm his commitment to classicism by “underscoring his initial sense that modernism was devoid of cultural meaning, and sometimes bordered on the absurd.”

Not surprisingly, our members also pay close attention to historical accuracy. David Hathcock noted that in the 1995 version of Pride and Prejudice, “Lyme Park is used as the Pemberley exteriors while Sudbury Hall is used for the Pemberley interiors. This is interesting to me. Many of these period films swap the exteriors and interiors willy nilly. As an architect this bothers me. But, I can understand the filmmakers wanting to reveal the more palatial look of Lyme Park’s exterior, while the interiors of Sudbury Hall are dripping in heavy plaster and wood carvings, very Grinling Gibbons-esque.”

Leslie-Jon Vickery was deeply inspired by Out of Africa, in which production designer Stephen Grimes took great pains to maintain the historical accuracy of the sets. As Leslie described, “the interiors for Blixen’s residence were re-created from photographs and drawings of the original home, with set designers researching and reclaiming many of the original pieces from the farm that were sold off when the writer left Africa in the early 1930’s.”

When asked about whether a project had been influenced by a specific film, Board Member Alexa Hampton replied, “The rooms on film to which people seem most attached aren’t in the great magnificent houses which display grand design gestures; but, rather, the quieter, more attainable interiors…In this respect, no one has had more of an impact on design through the medium of film than Nancy Meyers. It’s Complicated, The Holiday, and Something’s Gotta Give are the films most referenced by my clients.”  She also added, “some of the worst interiors have had a great impact, too. If someone wants me to reference Miss Havisham’s dining room from the perfect 1940′s David Lean adaptation of Great Expectations or if they ask me to copy a detail from Tony Montana’s Miami house in Scarface, I know this: I need to RUN!”

Still from the film Persuasion

ICAA Board Member Andrew Skurman explained, “Roger Michell’s 1995 film adaptation of Jane Austen’s 1817 novel Persuasion sparked my interest in Regency interiors and the work of the architect, art collector, and world traveler Thomas Hope … Around the time the film was released, I was commissioned to design an apartment high above Nob Hill. Inspired by the Thomas Hope room in Bath, that I was swept away by in the film, I decided to use white lacquered walls and white glass floors, for their ethereal qualities, to give the apartment a sense of calm, serenity, and elegance. Every surface and finish was precise yet luxurious and superbly crafted.”

The Pendersleigh House from the Merchant & Ivory film Maurice (filmed at Wilbury Park)

While I wish I could share all of the fascinating replies that our members shared, as they are a testament to the broad-ranging perspectives and boundless creativity that exist in our community, I will finish with a list of all the films that were mentioned as having provided inspiration. I hope this list will inspire you to watch some new films, be swept away by their beauty, and perhaps even have an impact on your future work. And please, in the comments below, share the films that have influenced your work or your love of architecture, gardens, or interiors.  For me, the house Pendersleigh in the Merchant & Ivory film Maurice (filmed at Wilbury Park) is my absolute favorite and served as a model for my own interiors, and I look forward to hearing (and watching) your favorites!

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

David Calligeros
Great Expectations

Cocteau’s Beauty and the Beast
The Holy Innocents
The Royal Tenenbaums
Moonrise Kingdom
Castle in the Sky
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

Sense and Sensibility

Matthew Enquist
Sense and Sensibility
White Collar 
(TV show)
The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King

Steven Gambrel
I am Love
Gods and Monsters
The Ghost and Mrs. Muir

Elizabeth Graziolo
Beneath the Hagia Sophia
Shallow Grave
Life is Beautiful

Something’s Gotta Give

Kahlil Hamady
It Started in Naples

Pride and Prejudice

Alexa Hampton
The Leopard
The Talented Mr. Ripley
I Am Love
Les Liaisons Dangereuses
Marie Antoinette

Merchant & Ivory films
Gosford Park
Brideshead Revisited
It’s Complicated

The Holiday
Something’s Gotta Give

David Hathcock
Gosford Park

The Patriot
Amazing Grace
Pride and Prejudice
(1995) (This version is better, let’s face it)
Pride and Prejudice

Out of Africa

Jonathan Hogg
Suddenly Last Summer
The Last Emperor
Howard’s End
A Room With a View
La Grande Bellezza
Tous Les Matins du Monde
Hannah and Her Sisters

The Third Man
Touch of Evil

Andrew Skurman
Roger Michell’s 1995 film adaptation of Persuasion 

Andrew Tullis
Barry Lyndon
A Passage to India
The Last Emperor

The films of Peter Greenaway
The films of Merchant & Ivory
The great Thirties designer Cedric Gibbons
Brideshead Revisited

Leslie-Jon Vickory
Out of Africa

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