Facts and Events
- the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia
Calvert Vaux (December 20, 1824 – November 19, 1895) was a British-American architect and landscape designer. He is best known as as the co-designer, along with his protégé and junior partner Frederick Law Olmstead, of what would become New York's Central Park.
Vaux, on his own and in various partnerships, designed and created dozens of parks across the country. He introduced new ideas about the significance of public parks in America during a hectic time of urbanization. This industrialization of the cityscape inspired him to focus on an integration of buildings, bridges, and other forms of architecture into their natural surroundings. He favored naturalistic, rustic, and curvilinear lines in his designs, and his design statements contributed much to today’s landscape and architecture.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1870 US Census, (http://www.ancestry.com), accessed February 27, 2008, citing Census Place: Rondout Village, Ulster, New York; Roll: M593_1106; Page: 421; Image: 256.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 1880 US Census, (http://www.ancestry.com), accessed February 27, 2008, citing Census Place: New York (Manhattan), New York City-Greater, New York; Roll: T9_870; Family History Film: 1254870; Page: 22.3000; Enumeration District: 70; Image: 0046.
- ↑ Various contributors. Wikipedia. (Online: (http://www.wikipedia.org>).
Calvert Vaux (December 20, 1824 – November 19, 1895), was an architect and landscape designer. He is best remembered as the co-designer (with Frederick Law Olmsted), of New York's Central Park.
In 1850, Vaux exhibited in London a collection of landscape watercolors made on a tour to the Continent, and it was this gallery that captured the attention of the American landscape designer and writer Andrew Jackson Downing. Downing had traveled to London in search of an architect that would complement his vision of what a landscape should be. Downing believed that architecture should be visually integrated into the surrounding landscape, and he wanted to work with someone who had as deep an appreciation of art as he did. Vaux readily accepted the job and moved to the United States.
Downing and Vaux worked together for two years, and during those two years, he made Vaux a partner. Together they designed many significant projects, such as the grounds in the White House and the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C. Vaux’s work on the Smithsonian inspired an article he wrote for The Horticulturalist, of which Downing was the editor, in which he stated his view that it was time the government should recognize and support the arts. Shortly after writing this in 1852, Downing died during a fire in a steamboat accident. Vaux took over the partnership, and his later work in Central Park was a fitting memorial to his late partner.
In 1854, he married Mary McEntee, of Kingston, Ulster, New York, the sister of Jervis McEntee, a Hudson River School painter; they had two sons and two daughters. In 1856, he gained US citizenship and became identified with the city’s artistic community, “the guild,” joining the National Academy of Design, as well as the Century Club. In 1857, he became one of the founding members of the American Institute of Architects. Also in 1857, Vaux published Villas and Cottages, which was an influential pattern book that determined the standards for “Victorian Gothic” architecture. These particular writings revealed his acknowledgment and tribute to Ruskin and Ralph Waldo Emerson, as well as to his former partner Downing. These people, among others, influenced him intellectually and in his design path.
In 1858, he made a smart political move and collaborated with Olmsted designing Central Park. Their plan was named “Greensward,” and they were able to obtain the commission through an excellent presentation that capitalized on Vaux's talents in landscape drawing and the inclusion of before-and-after sketches of the site. Together, they fought many political battles to make sure their original design remained intact and was carried out.
In 1865, Vaux called upon Olmsted and they decided to create a partnership. As Olmsted, Vaux and Company, they designed Prospect Park and Fort Greene Park in Brooklyn, and Morningside Park in Manhattan. In Chicago they planned one of the first suburbs, called the Riverside Improvement Society in 1868. They were also commissioned to design a major park project in Buffalo, New York, which included The Parade (now Martin Luther King Jr. Park), The Park (now the DE Park), and The Front (now simply Front Park). Vaux designed many structures to beautify the parks, but most of these have been demolished. In 1871, the partners designed the grounds of the New York State Hospital for the Insane in Buffalo and the Hudson River State Hospital for the Insane in Poughkeepsie.
In 1872, Vaux dissolved the partnership and went on to form an architectural partnership with George Kent Radford and Samuel Parsons, Jr. He returned to working with Olmsted in 1889 to design Newburgh's Downing Park as a memorial to their mentor. It would be the pair's last collaboration. On a foggy November 19, 1895, he drowned in an accident while he was visiting his son, Downing Vaux, in Brooklyn.
Throughout his lifetime, Vaux, while on his own and through various partnerships, designed and created dozens of parks across the country. He introduced new ideas about the significance of public parks in America during a hectic time of urbanization. This industrialization of the cityscape inspired him to focus on an integration of buildings, bridges and other forms of architecture into their natural surroundings. He favored naturalistic, rustic and curvilinear lines in his designs, and his design statements contributed much to today’s landsca
Little is known about Vaux's childhood and upbringing. He was born in London in 1824, and his father was a doctor. Due to this social standing, his father was able to provide a comfortable income for his family.
Vaux (rhymes with hawks) attended a private primary school until the age of nine. He then trained as an apprentice under London architect Lewis Nockalls Cottingham. Cottingham was a leader of the Gothic Revival movement. He trained Vaux until the age of twenty-six, and as a result, Vaux became a very skilled draf
- ↑ Kowsky, Francis R. Country, Park and City: The Architecture and Life of Calvert Vaux. (New York, New York: Oxford University Press, 2003).
- ↑ Kowsky, Francis R. Country, Park and City: The Architecture and Life of Calvert Vaux. (New York, New York: Oxford University Press, 2003), p. 319.
"In the late afternoon of November 21, Vaux went for a walk to the ocean, as he often did, to view the setting su. At the new Captain's Pier, he stopped to chat with the owner and to offer him some advice for improving the nearby beach. That evening, however, Vaux did not return home. Worried for his safety, family and friends, with the aid of the police, launched a search. At 9:30 the next morning, a workman spotted his body floating in Gravesend Bay, near the Captain's Pier."
Kowsky, Francis R., Country, Park and City: The Architecture and Life of Calvert Vaux, New York, New York: Oxford University Press, 2003, p. 319.
- Calvert Vaux, in Wikipedia.
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