Country, Park & City: The Architecture and Life of Calvert Vaux

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9780195114959: Country, Park & City: The Architecture and Life of Calvert Vaux
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After beginning his career as an architect in London, Calvert Vaux (1824-1895) came to the Hudson River valley in 1850 at the invitation of Andrew Jackson Downing, the reform-minded writer on houses and gardens. As Downing's partner, and after Downing's death in 1852, Vaux designed country and suburban dwellings that were remarkable for their well-conceived plans and their sensitive rapport with nature.
By 1857, the year he published his book Villas and Cottages, Vaux had moved to New York City. There he asked Frederick Law Olmsted to join him in preparing a design for Central Park. He spent the next 38 years defending and refining their vision of Central Park as a work of art. After the Civil War, he and Olmsted led the nascent American park movement with their designs for parks and parkways in Brooklyn, Buffalo, and many other American cities.
Apart from undertakings with Olmsted, Vaux cultivated a distinguished architectural practice. Among his clients were the artist Frederic Church, whose dream house, Olana, he helped create; and the reform politician Samuel Tilden, whose residence on New York's Gramercy Park remains one of the country's outstanding Victorian buildings. A pioneering advocate for apartment houses in American cities, Vaux designed buildings that mirrored the advance of urbanization in America, including early model housing for the poor. He planned the original portions of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the American Museum of Natural History and conceived a stunning proposal for a vast iron and glass building to house the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia. Especially notable are the many bridges and other charming structures that he designed for Central Park. Vaux considered the Park's Terrace, decorated by J. W. Mould, as his greatest achievement.
An active participant in the cultural and intellectual life of New York, Vaux was an idealist who regarded himself as an artist and a professional. And while much has been written on Olmsted, comparatively little has been published about Vaux. The first in-depth account of Vaux's career, Country, Park, and City should be of great interest to historians of art, architecture, and urbanism, as well as preservationists and other readers interested in New York City's past and America's first parks.

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Ask the average New Yorker who designed Central Park, and those who know their history will probably say Frederick Law Olmstead--and they would be partially correct. But ask for the other half of the designing duo and watch for the blank stares. Notoriously introverted, Calvert Vaux left a legacy that, along with Central Park, includes Prospect Park in Brooklyn, original portions of both the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the American Museum of Natural History, as well as many other New York landmarks, yet most people outside of the architectural field have never heard of him. In Country, Park, & City: The Architecture and Life of Calvert Vaux, Francis R. Kowsky succeeds in rescuing Vaux from obscurity. In setting the record straight, Kowsky describes how Vaux originally approached Olmstead to join him in entering the design competition for Central Park in 1857, and after they won, the more charismatic Olmstead was recognized as the force behind the plan, while Vaux kept to the shadows. Kowsky also reveals Vaux as the originator of apartment-style urban dwellings, a concept that he applied to both upscale and low-rent complexes in New York, and which are now standard metropolitan domiciles. This richly detailed and often esoteric biography is a celebration of an artist who deserves recognition. Kowsky has colorfully put a face to the façade.

About the Author:

Francis R. Kowsky is at State University of New York at Buffalo.

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9780195171136: Country, Park & City: The Architecture and Life of Calvert Vaux

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Book Description Oxford University Press Inc, United States, 1998. Hardback. Condition: New. Language: English. Brand new Book. After beginning his architectural career in England, Calvert Vaux came to America in 1850 at the invitation of architect Andrew Jackson Downing. In 1852, he moved to New York City and asked Frederick Law Olmsted, the landscape architect, to join him in preparing a design for Central Park. During the next thirty-eight years in New York, Vaux defended and refined his vision of Central Park and pursued a distinguished architectural practice. After the Civil War, he andOlmsted led the nascent American park movement with their designs for parks in many American cities. And as a pioneering advocate for apartment houses in American cities, Vaux designed buildings that mirrored the advance of urbanization in America, including early model-housing for the poor. Hisworks also include many Gothic and Palladian style dwellings, the original portions of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the American Museum of Natural History, and a stunning proposal for a vast iron and glass building to house the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia. Most notable, perhaps, are the many bridges and other structures that he designed for Central Park. This book is the first in-depth study of Vaux's life and work. Seller Inventory # LHB9780195114959

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