Frederick Law Olmsted: Designing America

Frederick Law Olmsted: Designing America

Fri, 06/20/2014 - 9:00pm

Caption: Frederick Law Olmsted, known as the father of American landscape architecture, was co-designer of Central Park.

Credit: Courtesy of WNED-TV

A glimpse into the life of the most successful landscape architect to have ever lived. From co-designing Central Park to leading the campaign to protect Niagara Falls, Frederick Law Olmsted made public parks and preservation an essential part of American life. Frederick Law Olmsted: Designing America airs Friday, June 20 at 9 p.m. on WXXI-TV.

The program explores the enormous contributions of Olmsted to the American landscape, as well as his marked failures and loss. He was co-designer of Central Park, head of the first Yosemite commission, leader of the campaign to protect Niagara Falls, designer of the U.S. Capitol Grounds, site planner for the Great White City of the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition, planner of Boston’s “Emerald Necklace” of green space and of park systems in many other cities. Olmsted’s pioneering design of the public parks and parkway systems in Buffalo, N.Y., is the oldest coordinated system in America and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

To the pioneer of American landscape architecture, a park was both a work of art and a necessity for urban life. Olmsted’s efforts to preserve nature created an “environmental ethic” decades before the environmental movement became a force in American politics. With gorgeous cinematography, creative animation, and compelling commentary, “Frederick Law Olmsted: Designing America” presents the biography of a man who forever changed the Americans’ relationship with public open spaces.

“Frederick Law Olmsted: Designing America” is a co-production of WNED-TV Buffalo-Toronto and Florentine Films/Hott Productions, Inc. The documentary is narrated by Stockard Channing and the voice of Olmsted is performed by Campbell Scott. More information can be found at www.pbs.org/wned/frederick-law-olmsted.

Funding provided by major grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the human endeavor and The Margaret L. Wendt Foundation. With funding provided by HSBC, The Tiffany & Co. Foundation and The C.E. & S. Foundation. With additional support from The Peter C. Cornell Trust and Mass Humanities.



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