Limited Space Remaining for Our Fall 2015 Travel Programs

The ICAA is looking forward to several exciting travel programs this Fall including the return of “Private Paris & Beyond.” For eight days, “Private Paris & Beyond will offer participants expert-led behind-the-scenes visits to outstanding examples of French classical architecture. We will be specially escorted to renowned private residences and châteaux, normally inaccessible to the public. The tour includes eight days filled with events, private visits, and expert lectures, and includes transportation and eight nights accommodation in the classic Parisian Saint-Germain-des-Près quarter. The program will take place September 11-19.


American Academy in Rome Building, Gardens

Later in the Fall, on October 3-11, the ICAA will be leading 20 lucky classicists to the Eternal City. “Secret Rome & the Countryside” promises unprecedented access to Rome’s most exclusive treasures including exquisite palazzi, villas and gardens, and world-class art collections. Highlights of the trip will include a private visit with the chief curator of the renowned Galleria Borghese on a day closed to the public and dinner with the Baroness Coppa Solari at her private palazzo Massimo di Pirro. Click here to view a detailed itinerary.


Casina dell’Aurora-Boncompagni-Lundovisi

We also invite you to tour Private Naples in October with the ICAA. Our exclusive program, organized and conducted by Pamela Huntington Darling, will offer an intimate group of travellers privileged access to sites of unparalleled historic importance and incomparable beauty in Naples, Ravello, Positano, Pompeii and more. We will be received by Italian nobility and esteemed members of the cultural elite for exclusive visits, luncheons, receptions, and dinners in their remarkable private residences with marvelous gardens and views of the Bay of Naples.

Palazzo Farnese, Caracci Gallery

If any of these programs interest you, click here to learn more.


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Summer Studio in Classical Architecture | Week I

On Monday, July 22nd, eighteen students arrived at the ICAA and were welcomed by the director, staff, and Summer Studio instructors, as they began a four-week immersion in the study and practice of classical architectural design. Hailing from ten states (Nebraska, Indiana, South Carolina, Tennessee, New York, Colorado, Alabama, Pennsylvania, Mississippi, and Florida), and also with origins in Russia and Rwanda, the participants comprise undergraduate and graduate students of architecture from twelve schools as well as accomplished professional practitioners. The program has been made possible thanks to the The Richard H. Driehaus Charitable Lead Trust and the generous support of ICAA Chapters across the country: Tennessee, Southern California, Washington Mid Atlantic, Northern California, Philadelphia, Texas, and the Rocky Mountain Chapter.

Drawing in Bryant Park

The students hit the ground running, launching into study of the classical elements, architectural design methodology and composition. Students explored the literature of classical architecture with architectural historian Calder Loth and architect Mark Allen Hewitt, and viewed up-close rare architectural treatises at The Morgan Library; learned about the architectural canon and a method for constructing the Tuscan and Doric orders with architect Martin Brandwein;  completed measured sketchbook drawings in Bryant Park and at The New York Public Library under the guidance of architect George Saumarez Smith along with architect Stephen Chrisman; became acquainted with the  Classical design process and architectural composition strategies, and research into the  origins of the Proto-Doric Temple with architect and Notre Dame professor Richard Economakis;  began study of application of the classical language via a studio design project with architects Michael Mesko and Stephen Chrisman; visited the offices of Robert A.M. Stern Architects to learn about the contemporary practice of classical design;  studied landscape  and architectural features and details at Old Westbury House and Gardens, and learned about  preservation challenges with Director  Lorraine Gilligan.

Studying the Elements of Classical Architecture

Walk through the ICAA studio and library today and you will see architects’ desks laden with pencils, , I-Pads, sketchbooks, watercolor brushes, architectural treatises and coffee cups, signaling intensive learning and an enthusiastic engagement with the practice of classical architecture.

Visiting Robert A.M. Stern’s Studio and Office

Drawing in Bryant Park

Visiting Old Westbury House and Gardens

Drawing in Old Westbury House and Gardens

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Inspired Places & Spaces – June

Last month a group of ICAA members and friends participated in the Institute’s travel program, Great Houses and Gardens of Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. For eight eventful days, participants traveled the countryside to visit an array of magnificent houses and estates, many of which are privately owned. Three participants on the tour, Jack Finglass, Marilyn Gilbert, and Tham Kannalikham were particularly inspired by the following properties:

Hillsborough Castle & Garden

Jack Finglass: Hillsborough was a house that looked domestically scaled on the exterior, but opened to grand spaces suited for the Royals. The rooms were of a large, but still intimate scale. The grounds were spectacular.

Vibse, Lady Dunleigh and William Ashby inside Ballywalter


Marilyn Gilbert: I cannot begin to describe the excitement and cultural experience we enjoyed on our first evening at Ballywalter. The room was charming, the property historical and exquisite, and the hosts were more than inviting. It truly was a royal experience.

Seaforde House & Gardens

Tham Kannalikham: The Neo-classical design and the singular most extraordinarily beautiful library with the magnificent treasures that are protected with love will have a permanent place in my mind.  Seaforde will be a treasured memory, always.

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Uniquely Irish

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


Though the last glimpse of Erin with sorrow I see,
Yet wherever thou art shall seem Erin to me;
In exile thy bosom shall still be my home,
And thine eyes make my climate wherever we roam.

                        -Thomas Moore


Along with 15 fellow ICAA patrons and friends, I recently had the pleasure of experiencing Great Houses and Gardens of Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, one of the ICAA’s travel programs. Our trip included many highlights, but the gracious welcome we received from the owners of the homes that we visited made an indelible impact on me. It was a true delight to learn about the history of these homes through each owner’s personal tales and family lore.

Ballywalter Park

Ballywalter Park

All of us on the trip came away with a greater appreciation for the “uniqueness” of classical architecture and interiors of the Irish Big House. We were struck by how the great Georgian estates differentiated themselves from their English influences, creating their own unique tradition.

Ballywalter Park

Staff Quarters at Grey Abbey

Castle Ward

These distinctive traits were observed in so many aspects of the Irish Big Houses, from interior design, to architectural details, to landscape features. Many Irish Georgian homes have severe fronts with scaled down ornaments. Flanking wings were often added to the central block at a later period to make these houses much grander in scale and appearance.



Inside each home was a magical surprise of fanciful mouldings and decorations like nowhere else. Mahogany imported from Cuba was a highly sought after commodity for the Irish. The wood landed in the city of Cork where Irish estate keepers had the first choice of the very best wood pieces for their furniture and decor. Seeing these fanciful wooden pieces in so many of the houses where we stayed was an absolute joy. The patterns in the furniture, such as goblins carved into tables, were exuberant and uniquely Irish, demonstrating what Desmond Guinness calls “Irish Fantasy at work.”

Dining Room at Hillsborough House

Hillsborough Castle & Garden

Hillsborough Castle & Garden

In the typical Irish classical style, staircases in many of the homes are located to the side of the structure. This is a feature that I particularly admired, as it gave the first hall clean, proportional, and classical lines reminiscent of Palladio’s Villas.


Castle Coole

In Ireland it’s common to see two interior design styles within the same house. The Gothic style (à la Strawberry Hill) did have an influence on Irish homes, but only partially. This was the case at Grey Abbey, a classically designed Georgian Home with a drawing room converted to the Gothic style. While the Irish may have converted a room or a few rooms to a new style, they would not change the entire house.

Barons Court



Although the Irish Big Houses had their own tradition and unique aesthetics, the impact of great British designers and architects remains. The influence of Capability Brown is evident at many of the sites, where the houses were designed in natural settings with flower and vegetable beds that were kept away from the homes in walled gardens. Unlike many English estates, the homes that we visited have stayed “true to form” and have not added Victorian garden designs.

Wing at Ardbraccan

Marino Casino

Russborough House

Many of the great British architects produced their best works in Ireland, without ever stepping foot on Irish soil. Sir William Chambers produced one of Europe’s finest classical buildings – the Casino at Marino – for James Caulfield, the first Earl of Charlemont. Additionally, James Wyatt who visited Ireland in one brief trip designed one of the most perfect, classically designed homes at Castle Coole. The famed Lafranchini brothers, known for their ornamental plasterwork, were revered in Ireland and even resided at Castletown until their deaths, as if they were members of the Conolly family.

Castletown House

Lodge Park

Lodge Park

The ICAA’s travel programs provide a wholly unique opportunity to experience classical and historic homes and sites firsthand. If you’ve been a participant on any of the ICAA’s travel programs, we’d love to hear highlights of your trip in the comments below. To view upcoming travel destinations with the ICAA, please visit


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ICAA Rocky Mountain to Present Student Scholarship at 3rd Annual Newman Awards

The Institute of Classical Architecture & Art – Rocky Mountain Chapter is pleased to announce the award of a $2,500 Student Scholarship at the 2015 Newman Awards, which will be held September 15 at the Brown Palace Hotel in Denver, CO.

To apply for the scholarship, students must submit an entry in the Student Award Category for the 2015 Newman Awards Call for Submissions. The submission deadline is Friday, May 29, 2015. Complete submission details can be found on the ICAA Rocky Mountain Chapter website.

By casting a wider net, the Rocky Mountain Chapter believes they will attract more students to submit the work, which has up to date received little to no recognition. Once these students realize that there is an audience for contemporary classicism, they will begin to take more of an interest in studying it.

The Chapter would like to thank all of  the Newman Awards Sponsors for their continued support, as well as the Newman Awards Committee for the hard work that goes into producing such an elaborate event.

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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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