Watch Now: “Formality & Informality,” a Lecture with Landscape Designer Arne Maynard

Watch Landscape Designer Arne Maynard’s recent lecture focusing on the balance between formal and informal elements in his landscapes and gardens. The discussion, which was filmed in its entirety, was co-hosted by the ICAA and Architectural Digest in New York City.

Arne Maynard is an international landscape designer with a portfolio of high profile clients. He is an RHS Gold Medal and Best in Show winning designer, and is hailed by his profession as one of the most important landscape designers working today. He is also the author of several books including his latest, The Gardens of Arne Maynard.

The lecture was generously sponsored by Hollander Design Landscape Architects, Howard and Nancy Marks, and Karen Pascoe. Filming of the discussion was made possible thanks to Kane Brothers Water Features.

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Examining the Rich History of Architecture in New York

The architecture of New York City is beautiful and complex. While many people enjoy New York’s buildings, few have a full appreciation of the architectural history that sculpted such an intricate landscape. Over the course of four Wednesday evenings in September, instructor Francis Morrone unveiled that history in the lecture series 20th Century Architecture in New York (and the World): An Inclusive History.

Thomas Hastings and Shreve, Lamb & Blake, 26 Broadway, 1921-28

26 Broadway (the Standard Oil Building), 1921-28, designed by Architects Thomas Hastings
and Shreve, Lamb & Blake

The first lecture started the series off with a discussion of the forces that shaped early 20th Century architecture, such as the impact of the garden city movement; the Standard Oil Building, Forest Hills Gardens, and numerous other examples were discussed. Mr. Morrone also spoke about the famous yet nebulously defined Art Deco style of the late 1920s and early 1930s, which influenced many buildings, such as the Chrysler Building, throughout New York City.

The Chrysler Building. Architect: William Van Alen. Francis Morrone discussed its exterior and interior as among the finest in Art Deco design. Note the modern interplay between the Chrysler Building and an adjacent glass curtain wall building, highlighting how the New York City landscape has been altered by a variety of styles and eras.

The Chrysler Building, designed by Architect William Van Alen

The lectures continued to trace the path of New York’s distinctive architecture through the influence of the Bauhaus and the rise of modernism. Major European modernist architects like Mies van der Rohe and Le Corbusier shaped the architecture of New York City, both directly (though buildings such as Mies van der Rohe’s Seagram Building) and indirectly (through projects such as Stuyvesant Town, which was inspired by Le Corbusier’s Plan Voisin). Famed New York architects and their schools of thought, such as the sharply modernist “New York Five” and the more postmodernist and New Classical “Grays”, were discussed alongside examples of their work.

Francis Morrone lecturing

Francis Morrone lecturing

The lectures illuminated a broad selection of buildings, from the myriad forms of churches throughout the city to residences and commercial buildings. Mr. Morrone also discussed the origins and major examples of well-known trends that developed in the 20th century, such as the preponderance of white buildings, the rise of the glass curtain wall, and the elimination of ornament that later gave way to a fascination with experimentation with shapes and form. Throughout the series, he emphasized the role that distinctive coexisting architectural styles, often found together on a single block, play in forming the unique landscape of New York City.

Station Square, Forest Hills Gardens, 1912-16

Station Square, Forest Hills Gardens, 1912-16

Accessible to both experts and enthusiasts, the series drew a large crowd, and students left every class with a greater appreciation of the development of New York’s distinctive architecture.

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Building Craft: Ornamental & Architectural Metal Design

On Saturday, September 23, a group of students gathered at Covax Atelier in Clifton, New Jersey, excited to learn about the process of traditional metalworking and how it is put into practice today. Covax Atelier and the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art co-hosted a half-day course Building Craft: Ornamental & Architectural Metal Design. Participants traveled from several surrounding states to attend and enlivened class conversation based on their knowledgeable backgrounds as architects, artists, and hobbyists.

Zoltán Kovács teaches students about ironworking methods.

Zoltán Kovács teaches students about ironworking methods.

After the screening, instructor and professional blacksmith Zoltán Kovács gave a presentation on the basic tools, methods, and materials of metalworking as well as Covax Atelier’s own work on a set of ornamental iron gates commissioned by Yale University, which were created entirely using traditional blacksmithing techniques. He discussed the process he used to create these gates, as well as design considerations valuable to blacksmiths and those working with them alike: the importance of creating samples and mock-ups; the necessity of understanding the color, texture, and chemical properties of the metal used; and the need to take both aesthetics and practicalities, such as the use of card readers on college campus gates, into consideration. In preparation for the project, his team traveled extensively in order to study the works of old masters. Mr. Kovács emphasized the importance of preserving traditional techniques, which were handed down from master to apprentice for generations.

Carl Close shows Foster Lyons how to forge iron.

Carl Close shows Foster Lyons how to forge iron.

Following lunch, the students had the chance to gain hands-on experience with traditional forging skills. Students donned blacksmiths’ aprons, watched the forge come to life, and observed techniques for flattening an iron rod into the beginnings of a decorative shape. Everyone had the chance to heat up a piece of iron, place it on the anvil, and send sparks flying with each swing.

A Covax Atelier blacksmith teaches Elaine Rose how to twist iron.

A Covax Atelier blacksmith teaches Elaine Rose how to twist iron.

After each student had a turn, the instructors showed them the best way to use the shape of the anvil to the blacksmith’s advantage, flattening and attenuating the simple iron rod into a decorative leaf. Each student was invited to use a vise to turn a small plain rod into a piece of twisted iron, creating a palm-sized memento of a thrilling day studying traditional blacksmithing techniques and standing by the heat of the glowing forge.

Some of the students’ finished work, doubling as souvenirs of the class.

Some of the students’ finished work, doubling as souvenirs of the class.

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Arcadia in Acadia: Touring the Architecture of Bar Harbor and Mt. Desert Island, Maine

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Last month, as Summer drew to a close, I had the distinct pleasure of joining a group of ICAA members for a private tour of Bar Harbor and Mt. Desert Island, Maine. Nestled roughly halfway between New Hampshire and New Brunswick, Canada along Maine’s craggy coast, Mt. Desert Island is a natural delight with a rich architectural presence. It was on Mt. Desert Island that the Gilded Age’s wealthiest built spectacular summer cottages amidst the state’s bucolic splendor. Today, the Acadia region remains a destination for architectural historians, enthusiasts, and 21st Century rusticators alike.

Rosserne-2

Rosserne, designed by Fred L. Savage

Among the many highlights on our trip were our enthusiastic and exceptionally knowledgeable guides, Sargent C. Gardiner and Willie Granston. Gardiner – who has been a partner at Robert A.M. Stern Architects since 2008 – is a lifelong summer resident of Mt. Desert Island where his family has spent generations. As such, his knowledge of the area’s history, including its earliest settlers, is expansive and his personal perspective invaluable. Our group visited Gardiner’s aunt’s home, named The Farm House, where we lunched in a beautiful garden designed by renowned landscape architect Beatrix Farrand.

The Farm

The Farm House, designed by Arthur McFarland

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The Beatrix Farrand designed gardens at The Farm House

Our second guide, Willie Granston, was born on Mt. Desert Island and is today a PhD candidate of the History of Art and Architecture department at Boston University. He is interested particularly in recent architecture and its relationship with the natural environment – undoubtedly inspired by his upbringing in Maine!

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The gardens at Garland Farm, Beatrix Farrand’s final residence before her death

Redwood

Redwood, designed by William R. Emerson

Central to the tour were, of course, our visits to an array of beautiful private homes and places – thanks to the careful planning of Classical Excursions who arranged the tour, with input from the ICAA Travel Committee including Board Members and other leading supporters of the organization.

Skylands 6

Skylands, the private home of Martha Stewart, designed originally for Edsel Ford by Duncan Candler

Skylands 8

Skylands

Visiting Skylands – the private home of Martha Stewart – was a particularly breathtaking experience. The house, designed for Edsel Ford by the architect Duncan Candler, is enchantingly entrenched within the surrounding landscape. Stewart’s personal touches serve to make a home, which is already picture-perfect, distinctively her own.

Over the course of four days, we examined work by a wide range of esteemed architects, including Peabody & Stearns, Delano & Aldrich, William R. Emerson, and many others. Among the more than 15 private houses that our group visited – in addition to civic buildings and churches – Rosserne was another home that left me distinctly impressed and inspired. Built for Rev. Dr. Cornelius Bishop Smith by architect Fred L. Savage, Rosserne is a shingle-style cottage located on Somes Sound that boasts a spectacular garden. Watch below a short video of Rosserne, which I published last week on Instagram.

Our visits were made even more memorable thanks to the company we shared with an enthusiastic group of ICAA members, including practitioners and enthusiasts alike. From forthcoming destinations including Lutyen’s New DelhiAiken, SC; and Florence, the ICAA is traveling to some of the most architecturally significant destinations in the United States and abroad. I encourage everyone to join the ICAA on our travel programs as we explore these incredible locations and develop everlasting experiences and friendships.

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A Weekend at Auburn University for the ICAA’s Workshop in Classical Architectural Design

 

Ross Hall (The Ross Chemical Laboratory) at Auburn University

Ross Hall at Auburn University

This past Friday and Saturday Auburn University, School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture, partnered with the ICAA to host a Workshop in Classical Architectural Design. The workshop, in collaboration with faculty members Scott Finn, Professor and Associate Chair in Architecture and Danielle Willkens, Assistant Professor of Architecture was led by Michael Mesko and Clay Rokicki.  Over 70 architecture students and professional participants from across the region attended with students from both the undergraduate Architectural program and Building Construction & Landscape Architecture graduate program. The combination of students and professionals was not only enriching to the classroom dynamic, but during the welcome breakfast held Saturday morning as well, where the two groups were able to mingle and meet some of the workshop instructors.

Comer Architectural Hall

Comer Hall

The workshop introduced the practice of classical architectural design with emphasis on its application in the design of new buildings and places. Presentations on Friday and Saturday provided case studies of recent professional work, introduced the elements of the classical architectural language, and demonstrated ways in which architects utilize the wealth of material found in historical precedents to inform the design of new buildings. Guest speakers, all of whom were Auburn alumni are renowned professionals whose portfolios and curricula were paired with the core curriculum taught by longtime ICAA instructors and TAs.

Students drawing architectural details of Ross Hall

Students drawing architectural details of Ross Hall

Kellen Krause, who taught “Studying Precedent to Inform Practice and Measured Drawing”, said of the workshop: “The students quickly embraced the language of classicism through several drawing exercises and a field study of a campus building.  It was amazing to see each participant, many of whom had hardly drafted by hand before, readily assembling the Tuscan order on paper and laying out an elevation.  Their eagerness to learn the fundamentals of the classical tradition demonstrates an exciting promise for the future of architecture.” Rodrigo Bollat Montenegro, Teaching Assistant, added that “It was especially rewarding to witness students having that moment of sudden insight as they tackled the drawing exercises. The Tuscan order, which they had seen in an architectural history lecture or a historic building, now all of a sudden was teaching them about proportion, scale, and geometry.”

Students gathered for a lecture led by McAlpine

Students gathered for a workshop lecture

In addition to Krause’s presentation, Auburn University’s workshop curriculum included guest lectures, “The Nature of Location – Region, Tradition, and Telling Your Client’s Story in the Modern Design Practice” with John Sease and David Baker of McAlpine; “Context and Detail – The Importance of Drawing and Design at All Scales” with James Carter, James F. Carter Architect; and “Making Places – Building Types that Form Community” with Louis Nequette of Nequette Architecture & Design.

Thanks to McAlpine for their invaluable sponsorship of the Workshop—their generosity and involvement was instrumental to the success of the program. And a special thanks to the Southeast Chapter and their coordinator, Lynn Amoroso for their efforts, without which the program could not have run so seamlessly.  Additional thanks goes to Danielle Willkens and Scott Finn from Auburn University, whose efforts were essential in making the program a success.  Last but not least, thanks to the ICAA’s Teaching Assistants, Samantha White, Bryan Jones, Cameron Bishop and Rodrigo Bollat Montenegro.

The two-day program has traveled to many universities across the country, sometimes recurring annually. Each iteration with each university provides the opportunity for a singular connection to local architects and architecture. To inquire about bringing the ICAA’s Workshop in Classical Architectural Design to your school, please email education@classicist.org.

Students working on their drawings in a breakout session

 

 

 

 

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ICAA and Architectural Digest Host Sold-Out Lecture with Landscape Designer Arne Maynard

Landscape designer Arne Maynard lecturing

On Tuesday, September 19th over 140 guests attended a sold-out lecture with world renowned landscape designer Arne Maynard. Co-hosted by the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art (ICAA) and Architectural Digest, Maynard’s discussion focused on the balance between formal and informal elements in his landscapes and gardens.

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A garden designed by Arne Maynard (Photo: William Collinson)

Following introductions by ICAA President Peter Lyden and Architectural Digest Decorative Arts Editor Mitchell Owens, Maynard highlighted a selection of mature projects in the United Kingdom, Europe, and the United States. Maynard illustrated how formal garden layouts – defined by elements such as paths, hedges, trees, and topiary – form the bones of the garden that endure throughout the year and juxtapose with seasonal plants that, in their moment of exuberance, are encouraged to inhabit the spaces.

Amy Astley, ICAA President Peter Lyden==Institute of Classical Architecture & Art and Architectural Digest Lecture with Landscape Designer Arne Maynard==The General Society of Mechanics, NYC==September 19, 2017==©Patrick McMullan==Photo - Sean Zanni/PMC== ==

Architectural Digest Editor in Chief Amy Astley with ICAA President Peter Lyden

In advance of the lecture, ICAA President Peter Lyden told Architectural Digest, “Arne is among today’s most influential and renowned landscape designers. To experience one of Arne’s gardens is to witness the perfect synthesis of formal and informal design principles that, together, harmonize the architecture of a place with its natural setting.”

Mitchell Owens==Institute of Classical Architecture & Art and Architectural Digest Lecture with Landscape Designer Arne Maynard==The General Society of Mechanics, NYC==September 19, 2017==©Patrick McMullan==Photo - Sean Zanni/PMC====

Architectural Digest Decorative Arts Editor Mitchell Owens introducing Arne Maynard

Architectural Digest Editor in Chief Amy Astley was in attendance at the lecture, as well as the magazine’s Interiors & Garden Director Alison Levasseur.

Also present were ICAA Board Members Andrew Cogar, Pierre Crosby, Barbara Eberlein, Mark Ferguson, John Flower, Jared Goss, Kirk Henckels, Michael Mesko, and Mark Pledger. Caleb Anderson, Anne Bass, Frank de Biasi, Kathryn Herman, Edmund Hollander, Chris Kane, Tham Kannalikham, Fernanda Kellogg, Julian Lethbridge, Thomas Lloyd, Charles Miers, Gene Meyer, Karen Pascoe, Katharine Rayner, and Gilbert P. Schafer III, among other ICAA supporters and friends, were also in attendance.

The lecture was generously sponsored by Hollander Design Landscape Architects, Howard and Nancy Marks, and Karen Pascoe. Filming of the discussion, which will be made available online, was sponsored by Kane Brothers Water Features.

Arne Maynard== Institute of Classical Architecture & Art Lecture with Landscape Designer Arne Maynard== The General Society of Mechanics, NYC== September 19, 2017== ©Patrick McMullan== Photo - Sean Zanni/PMC== ==

All lecture and event photos courtesy of: Sean Zanni / PMC

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