“We really need to develop the context of our historic landscapes without overdesigning them”.
— 2017 Awards Jury
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The Olana Strategic Landscape Design Plan: Restoring an American Masterpiece by Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects,
Appreciation towards ASLA for providing the following description:
Olana州历史遗址位于Hudson山谷，占地250英亩，是Hudson River学院著名画家Frederic Church的住所，工作室以及他所塑造的景观的所在地，同时，这里也被认为是这位画家最伟大的艺术作品之一。纽约州公园，娱乐场所和历史保护办公室（NYSOPRHP）与The Olana Partnership（TOP）合作，委托景观设计师从系统控制，运营和生态三个层面对Olana历史遗址进行了评估。由此拟定的战略性景观设计规划（SLDP）为重新建立当地居住区，Olana历史遗址景观和Hudson山风貌之间的历史关系提供了方法和策略。SLDP提出了三个主要的设计介入领域，以及关于整个场地的整改建议，并提供了市场和财政可行性分析。SLDP的重点是扩展探访Olana历史遗址景观的渠道并增加当地教育机会，这样做既可以为游客融入当地景观提供机会，也增加了当地的旅游游览量。另外，该策略性规划也提出了以Church设计的家园和景观为背景，重建一个可以整体游览的Olana历史遗址的基本愿景。
Located on 250-acres in the Hudson Valley, the Olana State Historic Site is the home, studio and landscape of celebrated Hudson River School painter, Frederic Church, and is considered one of his greatest works of art. The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (NYSOPRHP), working alongside The Olana Partnership (TOP), commissioned the landscape architects to assess Olana programmatically, operationally, and ecologically. The resultant Strategic Landscape Design Plan (SLDP) provides the path for reactivating the historical relationship between the residence, its landscape, and the greater context of the Hudson Valley. It proposes three main areas for intervention, offers site-wide recommendations, and provides a market and financial feasibility analysis. The SLDP focuses on expanded access and educational opportunities in support of the client’s mission for deeper visitor engagement and increased attendance. The plan provides a grounded vision that reestablishes a holistic experience of Olana as Church’s designed home and landscape.
▲ 场地平面 Overall site plan of Olana
现有的Olana游客中心位于Carriage House内，紧邻主建筑。SLDP建议将现有游客中心迁移到新址—Olana中心，并为游客进入“历史核心”区之前提供机会使其率先了解场地条件，以便尽早融入场地。在新的Olana中心内，游客将会体验和解读到整个区域的景观，包括公路系统，湖泊，林地和草地。徒步旅行将从Olana中心出发；短途旅行将指引游客沿着公路前往皇冠山和湖区周围；长途旅行将前往农场方向；自助游旅行将引导游客穿越整个林地；食物可在Olana购买，游客还可以在Olana其中一个风景如画的景点野餐。Olana中心也将首次介绍Church和Olana的故事，并提供一系列游览选项来帮助游客探访Carriage House。
SLDP提出了一个景观愿景，不仅希望更多的访客可以通过不同的路径深入其中，还希望访客可以在游览，体验其景观过程中学习到知识。另外，这个愿景提出了重塑景观体验的想法，以帮助探访者可以获得对Church的造园愿景和艺术创作的更深入理解。 凭借一份对卓越品质的追求和责任感，该团队阐释了美国艺术创作和景观塑造中的一个引人入胜的故事，并拟定了一个切实的文化景观复原的规划：一个考虑到生态，规划，财务，教育，历史和文化各方面的规划。 Olana的设计和规划在全面实施后，将引人为Hudson山谷的美丽风景和它所产生的文化瑰宝而欢呼雀跃。
▲ Olana住宅建于1872年，代表了Frederick Church唯一的私人建筑愿景，其设计灵感来源于他去Beirut, Jerusalem, and Damascus的旅行途中的经历。设计团队的主要任务是重建景观和建筑间的联系，built in 1872, the house of Olana represents Frederick Church’s unique and personal architectural vision, inspired by his travels to Beirut, Jerusalem, and Damascus. The design team’s primary goal was to revitalize the connection between landscape and architecture.
▲ 策略性景观设计规划提供了指导性原则和对该项目的建议，意在激活这个场地，使之成为一个新的游览胜地。Olana游客中心将为游客展示当地景观，并且展示景观景观将被提升到和建筑同等的水平，the Strategic Landscape Design Plan provides guiding principles and recommendations for projects that activate the entire site: a new visitor amenity – the Olana Center – will open the landscape to visitors and bring it equal standing with the house.
▲景观发展时间轴 Olana Landscape Timeline Olana
这个Frederic Church的生活时间轴，反映出他将旅行经历和艺术创作他深深地融入到了他所塑造的景观中，a graphic timeline of Frederic Church’s life reveals his deep engagement with landscape throughout his travels and his art.
▲如上图所示，基于考古研究素材（例如Frederic Jr’s 1886 Olana平面），咨询团队开始了一系列关于Olana地区房产和环境的空间地理分析，grounded in archival research of source materials such as Frederic Jr’s 1886 Plan of Olana, shown above, the consultant team began a series of geospatial analyses of the Olana property and its environs.
▲通过历史和现存土地使用，土地条件，边界，水文，土壤和坡度等研究，反映出了这篇区域分层的定位信息和视域，设计团队依靠这些信息建立出了一个历史核心区，以便为Olana中心的选址提供了可视性研究条件，studies of historic and existing land use, existing conditions, boundaries, hydrology, soils, and slope informed layered mappings that interpreted viewsheds, estalbished a core of historic significance, and provided visibility studies in siting the Olana Center.
▲建立新的Olana中心的必要条件既要满足其在历史保护区的视域范围内，还要能和历史核心区有视觉上的联系，essential to the siting of the new Olana Center was the preservation of historic viewsheds and providing a visual connection to the Historic Core.
▲优选场地平面 Preferred Site Plan
拟定建立的Olana中心主要是作为游客的主要联系点，它将为进入历史核心区之前的游客提供服务，以便他们能更好地融入这里的景观中，the proposed Olana Center is envirioned as the primary point of contact for visitor information. It will create an experience that orients visitors prior to entering the historic core of the property, preparing them to engage the Olana landscap.
▲优选场地平面 Preferred Site Plan
Frederic Church 所设想的Olana 庄园以农场为中心，占地超过整个场地的三分之一。而SLDP建议重建Church的 Ferme Ornée，以激活该区域，引入教育，并为税收提供机会，Central to Frederic Church’s vision for Olana, the farm once measured over one third of the property. The SLDP recommends the phased restoration of Church’s Ferme Ornée, to activate the land and introduce educations and revenue opportunities.
▲农场内主要谷仓目前储存了19世纪的设备和运输设施，其结构和外表面均需要重新修葺。在该规划中提及了其中要转移的物品的清单，以及要使该谷仓重新运作以辅助农场运行等事项，the Main Barn currently stores 19th century equipment and vehicles and its structure and cladding are in need of rehabilitation. The plan proposes the current inventory be moved and the barn repurposed as a support facility for the working farm.
▲Olana代表了Frederic Church的“人与美国景观和谐共处的个人愿景”。该策略性景观设计规划给游客从多层面提供了体验该景观的机会，包括了为观赏更广阔的Hudson谷风光的所提供的途径，Olana represents Frederic Church’s “personal vision of harmony between man and the American landscape.” The Strategic Landscape Design Plan provides visitors with the opportunity to experience the landscape at many levels, including connections to the larger Hudson Valley landscape.
Documented in drawings and paintings by Church and other Hudson River School artists, Olana has been an iconic American Landscape for nearly two centuries. As noted by the landscape architectural historian who guided the plan: “Olana is one of the largest, most deliberate, varied, and expressive of American estate-scaled picturesque compositions. The landscape as a whole possesses a high degree of integrity; the elements that comprise the landscape’s pictorial effects are still very much intact [ … ] Olana is particularly important as a designed landscape because the complex and varied site Church selected provided the opportunity for him to apply a full range of picturesque techniques, creating a multitude of visual and experiential landscape effects.”
Three landscape architecture firms closely collaborated to facilitate the complex planning process. The lead firm guided the consultant team in terms of overall planning and design vision. The second firm, with an established relationship with the NYSOPRHP, led the group in the development of overall site guidelines, phased costing, and planning of the Maintenance Complex. The landscape historian, quoted above, provided critical assessments of archived documentation ensuring a final design rooted in the conservation and interpretation of this important cultural landscape. A master farmer, economic analyst, and strategy consultant further ensured synergy between mission, design, and feasibility for implementation.
The design process for the SLDP was significantly informed by historical documents (photographs, letters, and previous historic and planning reports), site investigations, and workshops with TOP and NYSOPRHP representatives. The consultant team produced a series of geospatial analyses on the Olana property and its environs. Utilizing Geographic Information Systems (GIS) data supplied by New York State and national agencies, the team generated cartographic diagrams to investigate existing conditions and land use, historic land use, boundaries, hydrology, soils, and slope aspects.
This analysis informed maps and diagrams that allowed the designers to established viewsheds, identify the Historic Core, and sensibly siting the new proposed Olana Center. Historic viewsheds – from the Main House to the Lake, from Crown Hill to the Farm, from Cosy Cottage to the Farm, from Ridge Road to the North Meadow, and from Ridge Road toward the Hudson River were documented and recommended for preservation. External views from Olana to areas beyond the historic boundaries – river, neighboring hills, valleys, and distant mountains – were deemed equally important and essential in understanding Church’s command of this landscape. He designed a procession of views from carriage roads and hilltops, orchestrating a diversity of experiences that recall the picturesque devices used in his paintings. Over the last thirty years, Olana, with the help of partnering organizations, private landowners, and governmental organizations, has worked to protect these viewsheds. The plan’s design interventions respect and elevate these important internal and external views.
The Olana Center
Olana’s existing visitor center is located in the Carriage House, directly adjacent to the main House. The SLDP proposes to relocate the visitor center to a new facility – The Olana Center – to engage visitors early in their experience of the site, before they enter the Historic Core. At the new Olana Center, visitors will have the chance to experience and interpret the whole landscape: carriage roads, lake, woodlands, and meadows. Walking tours would launch from there: short tours would take visitors along the carriage roads to Crown Hill and around the lake; longer tours might be farm-oriented; self-guided tours could take visitors throughout the woodland; food would be available for purchase, and visitors could picnic at one of Olana’s many picturesque spots. The Olana Center would, for the first time, present the whole story of Church and Olana, offering an array of programmatic options to supplement tours of the House.
Frederic and Isabel Church invested abundant energy into cultivating their land. Central to the property’s sense of place, the farm measured over one third of the property by the 19th century. Church cared deeply about his farm and took pride in the fact that, after some years of establishment, it became profitable. Church painted there and considered it as much an aesthetic endeavor as a productive one, in keeping with the European Ferme Ornée gardens of the 18th century. The farm yielded a diverse array of fruits, vegetables, and flowers, and sometimes included exotic varieties; and was divided into specific gardens, orchards, and fields, intentionally located by Church to take advantage of the appropriate soil condition per type of crop. The proposed plan to restore the farm will reinstate the historic land use, provide educational opportunities for visitors, and provide revenue opportunities. The SLDP seeks to reestablish Church’s intention for an aesthetically considered agricultural landscape.
The House Environs
The House Environs are defined as the areas adjacent to the House historically consisting of the Lawn Terrace, East Lawn, Mingled Garden, and Fern Garden. This landscape played a significant role for the experience of the House, with each primary window situated to frame a view of the immediate gardens and the distant prospect. Currently, visitors are drawn to this area to see the views painted by Church of the Hudson River and Catskill Mountains. Unfortunately, many visitors leave disappointed because the nearby woods are overgrown and obscure the view; the lawn terrace is devoid of grass; and the approach to the house is compromised – visitors are guided away from the original route that Church designed and are lead instead to the utilitarian side of the house. A number of discrete restoration projects, detailed in the SLDP, guide visitors along the route that Church originally orchestrated from the driveway to the house. The proposed design restores landscape areas to accurately reflect the quality of design and materials as well as the spatial conditions of the House Environs that existed during Church’s time.
Among several site-wide recommendations are projects that restore the carriage road system and the woodlands. The Church-designed carriage roads provide an unfolding of the landscape, a controlled exercise in revealed views and created experiences through movement. The landscape architects propose to restore the system of carriage roads, once again allowing them to animate the larger experience of the place. Woodland projects include a planting plan, as well as a clearing plan to more closely achieve the balance of woodland and meadows at Olana during Church’s time. Woodland restoration also relies on a plan for invasive plant management and deer control to restore the sub-canopy layer that the woodland currently lacks.
The SLDP makes manifest the intricate relationship between Church’s designed landscape and art form. The plan and the proposed design interventions engage themes explored by Church that have tremendous significance in how we shape, preserve, and experience landscape: the use of plants and topography to reveal the richness of a unique site, the exploration of the aesthetic possibilities of productive farming, and the creation of both visual and physical connections to large ecological systems.
The SLDP provides a vision for wider access, education, and engagement for a 21st century audience, reframing the physical experience of the landscape to facilitate a deep exploration of Church’s vision and art. Through a commitment to excellence and a shared responsibility to articulate of one of the most fascinating stories of American art and landscape, the team of landscape architects created a plan for the creation of a truly resilient cultural landscape: one that considers the elemental facets of endurance – ecological, programmatic, financial, educational, historical, and cultural. When fully implemented, the design and program of Olana will celebrate the awesome beauty of Hudson Valley and the cultural treasures that it has engendered.
Lead Designer/Landscape Architect: Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects, Thomas Woltz, FASLA, Mark Strieter, ASLA, Charlotte Barrows, ASLA, Matthew Seibert, Associate ASLA
The LA Group-Landscape Architects: David Miller, Timothy Larson
Suzanne Turner Associates-Landscape Historian: Suzanne Turner, FASLA
Camoin Associates-Economic Analysts and Economic Development Planners: Michael N’Dolo, Christa Ouderkik Franzi
Zach Wolf – Farm Consultant