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The Olmsted Legacy:

Olmsted's Design Principles


A Winding Path through Central Park. Winding paths are typical of Olmsted designs.(3)

A Winding Path through Mount Holyoke College Campus to the Old Library. Circa 1890. (4)




Scenery: Designs of “passages of scenery” with a liberal use of plantings even in the smallest spaces and in areas with the most active use.

Suitability: Creation of designs that are in keeping with the natural scenery and topography of the location with a respect for and full utilization of the “genius of the place.”

Sanitation: Creation of designs to promote both physical and mental health of users with provisions for adequate drainage and similar engineering considerations.

Subordination: Subordination of all details and features (both of natural and artificial materials) to the overall design and the effect intended for it to achieve.

Separation: Separation of areas done in different styles so that “incongruous mixture of styles” will not dilute the intended effect of each; separation of ways in order to insure safety of use and reduce distractions for those using the space; separation of uses that conflict with another.

Spaciousness: Creation of designs that make the area seem larger than it is using bays and headlands of plantings forming indefinite boundaries.

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Atlas Home Page The Olmsted Legacy Frederick Law Olmsted Olmsted's Design Principles Olmsted's Design for MHC
Shurcliff's Design for MHC 1904 Garden Gettell Amphitheater References



This page was created byShay Campbell 07 in History 283, Spring Semester 2006 -