Change and Continuity
As urban growth continues at a relentless pace, Charles A. Birnbaum, FASLA, FAAR, believes it is crucial for landscape architects to weave a site’s history into new designs, but not in ways that are nostalgic or staid. He points to Philadelphia’s Society Hill and the Russell Page Garden at The Frick Collection as early inspirations for managing change with continuity. More recent projects such as Lincoln Road (Miami) and Spain’s Madrid RIO further demonstrate how historic preservation can blend with modern design to showcase a city’s unique cultural assets. The founder and CEO of The Cultural Landscape Foundation (TCLF), Birnbaum is also at the forefront of efforts to save significant works of landscape architecture, including Chicago’s Olmsted and Vaux-designed Jackson Park and Washington, D.C.’s Modernist Pershing Park. Prior to establishing TCLF in 1998, Birnbaum served for 15 years as Coordinator of the National Park Service History Landscape Initiative. Currently a Visiting Professor at Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture Planning + Preservation, he has authored and edited numerous publications and received many awards, most recently the ASLA Medal (2017).