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Contributions of Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux

To what extent Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux have contributed to the professional practice of Landscape Architecture?
Both Frederick Law and Calvert Vaux are actively participating in Landscape Architectural projects in the 19th century. Calvert Vaux was a young Architect in the year 1857. He collaborated with Frederick Law in the Central Park competition. Apart from landscape projects Vaux also committed himself as an architect designing various houses that harmonises with nature. Frederick Law Olmsted being known as the “Founder of American Landscape Architecture as well as a well-known park designer” by the National Park Service.
Frederick Law Olmsted started the being a Landscape Architecture after experimenting and trying out many different career fields. From a newspaperman, social commentator and farmer. He had many interests in his early life.
In landscape architecture, Olmsted combined his thoughts and interests in rural life and conditions and thoughts of autonomous glory to create a new form of civil engineering that not only focuses on its function but as well as beauty.
The Urbanization Olmsted seen on the road with its interest in rural problems soon make him wanted to work as a Landscape Architect. As he was touring around in Britain in the 1850s, he visited England’s Birkenhead Park, which was an important and a catalyst in venturing into the landscape career path.
In the year 1858, the city commissioners selected, out of the total thirty-tree designs being submitted in the competition for the new park (Central Park) the one chosen “Greensward,” which was the collaboration work of Frederick Law and Calvert Vaux.
Central Park is the recognition of this design through its significant features. It was also one of the earliest examples of a park that is being referred as a well balance work of landscape architecture, as well as the first in any country to propose spacious relaxing grounds which have the beauty of minimalist natural scenery as it met the qualities of complete enclosure by a tightly built city.
Central Park was a great success where both he and Vaux are able to closely towards each other. The use of hills, trees and curve walkways created a form of tranquillity and remoteness from the city. Both Olmsted and Vaux also formed a company and designed major parks in Brooklyn, Buffalo and more. Apart from the formed company, Olmsted also founded his own personal firm in the 1883 which led him to move his home to modernize Boston and created “Fairsted” known as the world’s first professional office for the Landscape Design.
Vaux and Olmsted then started a long partnership with each other where they form the landscape ideas of the position that should be played in the life of cities. But individual inputs by each of them has always been unclear. Some also argued that Vaux must be leading in the project as he is more experience in landscape architecture as compared to Olmsted, thus there is no reason to misbelief Vaux’s design. Soon later, the park’s authorities had decided to make Olmsted the Head Architect with Vaux as an assistant. Although Olmsted had a lot of suffering in the later years in order to highlight Vaux important role towards the design as well as the development of the parks, Vaux had always felt that he did not had the fame that he should receive.
Apart from the Central park project, Olmsted and Vaux also collaborated in 1865 after the Civil War on what many referred as their most successful design The Brooklyn’s Prospect Park. Not only that they also designed several other Brooklyn parks which includes the Carroll Park in Carroll Gardens , Washington Park and the Parade Ground and Tompkins Square.
Olmsted and Vaux also created a new form of pathway that is able to solve the problem of inefficiency of Brooklyn’s Grid Street system. These landscaped pavements are used to connect various different neighbourhoods to different parks all around the queen’s border.
Olmsted crafted various examples of designs which the Position of Landscape Architecture is able to enhance the quality of life in America. These include large urban parks being devoted to the contact and involvement of the scenery and designed to resist and balance out the bogusness of the city and the stress of modern life. One of the most important transports were the Private carriages a smooth road reserved for them that is able to connect parks and spread the advantages of public green space around the city.
Olmsted and Vaux designed the park to be able to create ways and path for the pedestrians and carriages to enjoy and admire the park without having to annoy each other. The design of the roads is considered radical as it allows vehicular access to drive through the park without being divided from the park’s experience.
It provides an array of public facilities for the residents and scenic preservation safeguarding areas of extraordinary landscape beauty from destruction as well as commercial uses. Garden / landscape design could improve both awareness as well as the self-reflections of occupants. With an increasing number in open-air apartments, it encourages outdoor activities where the garden space is a specified training ground for the citizens living around it. Governmental buildings would have been more efficient and do understand the importance of planning.
Olmsted’s design approach showed the complexity of his perception and even paid attention to the slightest details for a resident in harmonizing green-space. Olmsted understands the reasoning behind his landscape work which is capable of affecting the emotions of others. This was quite noticeable throughout his park designs, where he designed the pavements of the scenery such that the visitors would be saturated. Able to experience the curative action of the landscape as what Olmsted would describe it as “Unconscious” process. In order to achieve this outcome, he overpowered all the elements of the design in making the land-art contacts more subtle.
Olmsted always wanted to think ahead of the current trends and actions and being able to derive his designs based on the important principles of human psychology. In detail, he cross referenced from the analysis of earlier British Sophist of unsentimental landscape and their attention towards the special qualities of composition and attractive scenery.
The essence of agrarian landscape was the English deer park, creating an emotion of an enlarged space and its delicately inflected ground and smooth, a cropped lawn. He was able to realise that this style is known as his special formula to cure the bad effects of an modern life. The “Picturesque” style was being used in deep and worn out terrain, and followed by planting with a thick layer of different ground covers , shrubs and etc. This eventually will result in a thought of charitableness, outpouring and secrecy. His extreme experience of this effect was on the Isthmus of Panama as he was passing through a journey to California. Where both forms includes the qualities of infiniteness, and the shortage of singular objects for a detail exploration.
As Olmsted defined it , the term “scenery” is never applied to vision of any field that is seen as straight forward. Hence it should have a level of complexity in its shapes and visuals closer towards the eye, unimportant details when looked further away. These characters were important for the unknown motion of the scenery in mind. They were also an important element to his design as practicing benchmarks for exquisite understanding. The standard of elegance that includes a mixture, complexity and a fine series of surfaces, colours and tones were important to Olmsted creative and cultivating purpose.
Although the site that Olmsted favoured needs a at least a rainfall in order to achieve its outcome, he understood that majority of the United States does have a different weather. Following that he sets out to develop a distinct landscape technique for the south, while in the west it requires a water-conserving technique. He applied the techniques of this approach with six projects in the San Francisco Bay and Colorado.
During Olmsted career, he and his firm completed out over 500 commissioned projects. Which includes 100 parks and recreation areas, with over 200 private estates as well as numerous residential projects and campus design for a handful of academic institutions. Olmsted himself is a creative designer, even though he had trouble with expressing his ideas in words. With approximately six thousand letters were still around till this days, With its discussion with 300 design commissions. And at times he paid for the publications as well as public distribution of these letters which includes his experience in journeys and several documents by the United States commission.
Calvert Vaux who is also one of America’s well-known architect / Landscape architect. He also shaped some of America’s most prominent landscape during the 19th century. He worked with famous landscape figures such as Andrew Jackson Downing and later with Frederick Olmsted, and hence Vaux’s style on the landscape architecture was ignored in the 20th century. Vaux was an optimist who worked hard throughout his career and life to improve the living conditions of the lower class and promoted art education for all.
Calvert Vaux had been successful in Architecture before the age of twenty-four, where he came to America and met downing. And after the sudden death of downing in the 1854, the project of designing the grounds of the capitol and the Smithsonian Intuition has yet been completed in America.
In Vaux private life, he was a man of singular purity, kindness and trustworthy. Although he lacked of socializing skills, which was able to allow him to have a better position. But he still had many accomplishments and practice of the best type. The career of Vaux was an inspiring one for those young artists who are struggling as well as citizens who are labouring and working in civic and village improvements.
Although the 1870s were Vaux’s most productive years but he latter soon found out that his High Victorian Gothic Style against the rising popularity of Neoclassical style had soon made his worked looked dull and outdated. Even though he won the projects with the High Victorian architect, for the American Museum of History as well as the Metropolitan Museum of Art and building the first stage of each of them, he soon lost the projects for continuing the later parts, due to the multiple reviews that the buildings had. His ability to win over large projects soon drops, and he turned to designing lodge houses and other beneficial buildings for the Children’s Aid Society located over in New York City. Apart from that he also devoted his last few years of life in focusing projects on the New York Public Parks as landscape architect, which led him to design several small parks throughout the city and also being able to continue his work on the Central Park. At his death during 1895, Vaux did not lead the role in the developments of architecture in America but he had left a long and unforgotten projects.
In their late 1880s both Frederick Olmsted and Vaux collaborated with each other on Special projects such as providing free design service to the city of Newburgh (New York) where they construct a park in memory of Andrew Jacks.
Their final collaboration concerns the Niagara Reservation. An area the state of New York bought as to prevent any form of commercial development which will compromise the scenery. Both Olmsted and Vaux composed their plans that would revive the Niagara’s spectacular sceneries making it accessible to tourist.
In conclusion I think that both Landscape Architects did way beyond their part in the professional practice of Landscape Architecture as they were very sensitive towards minor details such as the landform, climate changes, materials/surfaces and the thoughts / activities of the people. They did not neglect other points in its design such as transportation in which are widely used till this day where they are able to immerse themselves in to the landscape, rather than being separated and divided.
They also tried to make roads and path efficient for both pedestrians as well as vehicles. And the landscapes that both men design had special qualities in them where it’s designed towards tranquil and peaceful emotions. These psychological design qualities are a huge advantage towards the users in terms of de-stressing themselves and being able to admire the elegant sceneries.

A Report on Health and Safety in Architecture

In simple terms, health and safety is about identifying risks and eliminating or controlling them to stop accidents and occupational ill-health. Today there is a high focus on safety in the industry. Many companies have documented that the safety and well being of their workers and fellow human beings deserve the highest priority. In history, this is a major leap. If one looks at the approach and many deaths during projects such as the great Chinese wall, which is still measured to be the largest construction project to date, the dive is visible.
One ancient Chinese myth states that each stone in the great Chinese wall stands for a life gone during the wall’s construction. Although no files are obtainable this myth may be nearer to fact than we would like to think. Archaeologists have revealed thousands of bodies covert in the foundation of the wall. Bodies were also used to make up the wall’s thickness. It has been estimated that millions of workers lost their lives due to accidents, strong physical labour, hunger, and disease. This is in the order of size of a life per metre of wall length!
Statistics from the UK Health and Safety Executive show that normally one or two people are killed every week as a effect of construction work. Occupational ill-health, which can build up over time, accounts for further loss of life. This fact sheet provides an foreword to health and safety best practice for construction companies and construction industry professionals, clients and their advisors. 2.2 million people work in Britain’s construction industry, making it the country’s biggest industry. It is also one of the most risky. In the last 25 years, over 2,800 people have died from injuries they received as a result of construction work. Many more have been injured or made ill.
One in five construction sites failed health and safety checks during the latest national inspection proposal carried out by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), Inspectors from Britain’s workplace regulator visited 1759 refurbishment sites during March and checked on how 2145 contractors were complying with health and safety regulations.On 348 sites sufficiently grave risks were discovered to warrant enforcement action being taken – either stopping work straight away or ordering improvements to be made (Phil Hughes, 2005).
This paper investigates the existing safety measures at construction sites in Britain. The review of literature touches on the importance of safety in the construction industry, the types of construction hazards, British Labour Law on the protection against occupational risks and industrial accidents, construction site security, etc. The background of Britain is described; a study of safety levels at construction sites is conducted through questionnaires. Conclusions are made about the legal approaches to the regulation of occupational safety and health.
To investigates the existing safety measures at construction sites. Study the importance of safety in the construction industry, the types of construction hazards, industrial accidents, construction site security, etc. Analysis the health and safety in British constructions.
Objectives or Purpose of the study:
To achieve the goal of this study, it is needed to:
Make a brief overview of all health and safety in the present construction industries.
Analyse the ways in which these safety measures are using in various construction industries.
Study on British construction industries and their way of using safety measures.
Identify recent accidents occur at construction industries in Britain.
Attempt a brief comparison between the difference in safety measures using in Britain and other developing countries.
Suggest various ways to reduce accidents at construction sites by using safety measures effectively.
Due to the current condition of the U.S. economy, the construction industry is throbbing. The amount of financial support from both government and independent contracts has been adequately decreased; contractors are going to have a hard time funding and implementing their projects. Construction deals are being broken down and shut down due to a lack of capital while others are rolling without the correct needs, safety standards, and training programs. When the latter occurs there is a far greater risk for a construction accident to happen.
Structures used to facilitate construction, such as framework and scaffolding, are often not given the importance they deserve, because of their momentary nature and because their cost is not recoverable from a single construction as a line item. Consequently, in many countries, the accident and failure rate for temporary structures are higher than those in eternal structures. Every industrial accident leads to tragedies such as injury or death to persons, and damage to property and the environment, with all the linked direct and indirect costs and effort. Economically and professionally more important is the fact that accidents also lead to delays in the construction process. All these add up to unwanted repercussions, not only on the workers and the organizations concerned, but also on the entire construction industry, the community, and, if the accidents and failures are sufficiently great or frequent, on the government itself. Most of the accidents and failures in momentary structures may be traced mainly to minor mistakes in fabrication, to moderately inexpensive items of materials or equipment, and to oversight or negligence in the functioning of applicable codes and regulations (Alan Griffith, 2001).
Statistic has shown that the number of casualty and permanent disablement cases due to accident at the Malaysia construction sites is one of the uppermost as compared to the other sector. Even though the number of engineering accidents decreasing but the benefits paid to the accidents victims are ever increasing. Hence, there is an burning need to mitigate this problem. There are three basic steps that should be taken namely identifying the hazard, assessing the risk and domineering the risk to ensure a safe and conducive working condition. Implementation of effective hazards control methods may require different approaches due to changing of working environment at the construction sites. Latest technology employed at site had wiped out traditional method of construction and consequently bring in new types of hazard to the industry.
There is an state compulsion for workers to ensure their own safety and health and, in agreement with specific instructions and the preparation they have received, to make correct use of safety devices and observe all safety rules, both collective and individual, and any other means of protection, warning or control. This obligation also extends to the use of machinery, equipment, tools, substances and risky products to ensure that inappropriate use does not jeopardise the health and safety of other employees and persons who may be there in the place of work.
The basis of British health and safety law is the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.The Act sets out the general duties which employers have towards employees and members of the public, and employees have to themselves and to each other. These duties are capable in the Act by the code of ‘so far as is reasonably practicable’. In other words, an employer does not have to take method to avoid or reduce the risk if they are technically impossible or if the time, trouble or cost of the measures would be grossly disproportionate to the risk. What the law requires here is what superior management and general sense would lead employers to do anyway: that is, to look at what the risks are and take reasonable measures to tackle them. The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 (the Management Regulations) generally make more clear what employers are required to do to manage health and safety under the Health and Safety at Work Act. Like the Act, they apply to every work activity (Vivian Ramsey, 2007).
The injure and death rate on building’s sites in London makes construction work the most risky job in the capital. People are injured every day and on average someone dies every month. What makes this even more appalling is that these are the least accident rates yet recorded. Our report is concerned with improving the health and well-being of London’s construction workers at a time when construction work is booming. Nearly £5 billion is being spent each year, just on new building projects. It is clear that we are not yet doing all we can to stop accidents. The industry has set itself targets to reduce accidents, but is not yet on track to reduce these targets. Everyone involved in commissioning, delivering and working in construction still must do more to make this industry as safe as any other. We should not accept as a fact of life that construction work is dangerous and nothing can be done. The 2012 Olympics is the perfect cabinet for how construction projects can be Commissioned and delivered to the highest standard. We do not want a repeat of the Situation in Athens where 14 workers died on the projects unswervingly associated with the Olympics and as many as 26 in the building of following transport infrastructure (Richard Fellows, 2001).
Complete safety does not exist. Safety is often defined as taking acceptable risks. This recognises that in fact every activity, whether it is driving a car, cooking in the kitchen or working on a drilling rig has linked risks. By accepting that there will always be a certain risk concerned it is possible to reduce risks, by dropping the chance of an unsafe event and mitigating its result. Lack of training has been recognized as one of the major contributory factors in accidents and ill health in construction. Many activities are made safe simply by ensuring that those doing the work have knowledge of and understand the importance of safe practices. The incidence of inspections depends on the nature and place of work. For example, following the first inspection, work at places over two metres in height require weekly inspections. In contrast, for work in excavations (including shafts and tunnels), inspections are necessary at the start of every shift. Inspections help to ensure that safety is monitored during changing site circumstances. Reports detailing inspections are generally required every time an inspection is carried out, but there are exceptions. Executive
Research Methodology
In order to understand the various health and safety measures in the present construction industries in Britain different methodologies have to be adopted.
Primary Sources
Direct Interview is one of the main sources of primary data today. This method would be used for the internal research. The internal research will focus on a few semi-structured interviews with a few senior and top managers. The intention is to formulate a true picture of the health and safety measures used in Great Britain These interviews will help to find out the reasons for the accidents occurring in construction industries.
Another methodology that I hope to adopt for my research is the questionnaires. Questionnaires are more economical, and easier to arrange; the answers too will be in a standardized format. In situations of difficulty to get appointments with the top-level managers this method would be used. Postal questionnaires will be sent to top managers of the Companies and the responses can be analyzed.
Secondary Sources
Book Reviews
The external research will be carried out through the reading and understanding of published material. This includes books and articles written on the importance of safety in the construction industry, the types of construction hazards, British Labour Law on the protection against occupational risks and industrial accidents, construction site security. Etc.
Internet Research
Internet research is another source of secondary data. This will be used to gather historical and current information on health and safety in the world especially in Britain. This will also help us to get information on Company infrastucture as a whole.
Documents can be treated as a source of data in their own right. In effect it can be an alternative to questionnaires, interviews or observation. This includes published materials of company details
Data analysis
In order to analyze the data both quantitative and qualitative research has to be performed.
Qualitative research
In qualitative research words are the units of analysis. Qualitative research tends to be associated with description. The data needed for qualitative analysis has to be gathered from interviews and questionnaires. Methods like ethnography will be used for the process of qualitative analysis and ethnographic data storage software will be used to store information. There are many advantages of using such software which will help store the data safely, the data can be coded easily, and retrieval of data will be more reliable. Computerization removes barriers and scales to the scale and complexity of analysis. There are virtually no clerical limits to how much stuff you get now, and few to how complex it is. (Richards and Richards 1993:40)
Quantitative research
Quantitative research tends to be associated with numbers, as the unit of analysis and it tends to be associated with statistical data. Charts and graphs have to be constructed from the figures and information gathered from the questionnaires and researches. Word processing and spreadsheet packages can be used for this purpose. Information in the form of numbers will be gathered from Company Mangers by using different data collection tools like questionnaires, review of previous documents etc. and the data will be used to construct meaningful figures and charts using software.
Form of Presentation
The dissertation will be presented in a written form supplemented with charts showing current and historical data.
Projected Findings
The importance of health and safety measures in the construction industries and the methods used in Britain.
Phil Hughes (MSc, FIOSH, RSP.), Ed Ferrett , Introduction to health and safety in construction, Butterworth-Heinemann; 2 edition (2005)
Alan Griffith, Tim Howarth, Construction health and safety management, Longman (2001)
Vivian Ramsey, Construction law handbook, Thomas Telford Ltd (2007)
Richard Fellows, David Langford, Robert Newcombe, Sydney Urry, Construction Management in Practice, WileyBlackwell; 2nd Edition edition (2001) accessed on 14/12/09 at 5.30 pm accessed on 14/12/09 at 6.00 pm accessed on 14/12/09 at 6.00 pm accessed on 14/12/09 at 10.30 pm accessed on 15/12/09 at 8.30 pm accessed on 15/12/09 at 11.30 pm accessed on 15/12/09 at 12.30 am accessed on 16/12/09 at 1.30 pm accessed on 16/12/09 at 5.30 pm accessed on 16/12/09 at 10.00 pm
John R. Illingworth, Construction methods and planning, Taylor