Press Releases

January 19, 2017

Follies, Function & Form: Imagining Olana’s Summer House

The Center for Architecture, in collaboration with The Olana Partnership, is pleased to announce the opening of Follies, Function & Form: Imagining Olana’s Summer House, on Tuesday, January 31, 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM at the Center for Architecture. The exhibition, originally on view at Olana State Historic Site in Hudson, New York, was developed by The Olana Partnership and co-organized by the American Institute of Architects New York (AIANY) and the American Society of Landscape Architects, New York Chapter (ASLA-NY).

Co-curated by The Olana Partnership’s Mark Prezorski, Landscape Curator, and Jane Smith, AIA, of Spacesmith, Follies, Function & Form unites noted architects and landscape architects to address one of the great mysteries at Olana – the Summer House.

Olana is the 250-acre creation of American landscape artist Frederic Church and exists in the birthplace of America’s celebrated art movement, the Hudson River School. Considered Frederic Church’s great masterpiece, Olana combines art, architecture, design and conservation ideals. The 1886 “Plan of Olana,” a detailed blueprint of Church’s vision for his large‐scale designed landscape, contains details that are largely accurate, yet it includes a structure labeled “Summer House,” which doesn’t exist today.

Lacking documentary evidence to demonstrate the design and style of this structure, 21 architects and landscape architects were invited to interpret the summer house at Olana. The exhibition presents innovative design ideas that respond to Olana’s historic context and dramatic setting. The diverse group of designers created concept sketches, much in a way Frederic Church sketched to convey design ideas. Each was free to explore historic or fully contemporary design themes.

“Frederic Church acted as the architect and landscape architect at Olana, and we are honored to present an exhibition which will spark a conversation between architects and landscape architects today,” says Prezorski. "During his lifetime, Church was a significant figure in New York City, so it's especially fitting to bring this exhibition to New York's Center for Architecture."

“It is wonderful that this exhibition has traveled from Olana to the Center for Architecture,” said Jane Smith, who is also Vice President for Professional Development at AIANY. “There is something refreshing and invigorating in these drawings by our peers that celebrate the sketch, the purest element of the architect’s palette.”

Featured designers include: Richard Alomar, ASLA (Rutgers University), Diana Balmori, FASLA (Balmori Associates), Mary Burnham, AIA (Murphy Burnham & Buttrick Architects), Randy Correll, AIA (Robert A.M. Stern Architects), Christopher Counts, ASLA (Counts Studio), Adriaan Geuze (West 8 urban design and landscape architecture), Judith Heintz, ASLA (sassafras55), Steven Holl, FAIA (Steven Holl Architects), Joan Krevlin, FAIA (BKSK Architects), Tom Krizmanic, AIA (Gensler), David McAlpin, AIA (Fradkin & McAlpin Architects), Laurie Olin, FASLA (OLIN), Peter Pennoyer, FAIA (Peter Pennoyer Architects), Margie Ruddick (Margie Ruddick Landscape), Hayes Slade, AIA (Slade Architecture), Allan Shope, AIA (Allan Shope Architect), Ken Smith, ASLA (Ken Smith Workshop), Alison Spear, AIA (Alison Spear AIA), Dana Tang, AIA (Gluckman Tang), Michael Vergason, FASLA (Michael Vergason Landscape Architects), and Adam Yarinsky, FAIA (Architecture Research Office).

Opening Reception
Tuesday, January 31, 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM

Members of the press are invited to the opening reception.

Panel Discussion - Olana Reimagined
Tuesday, March 14, 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM

A panel discussion exploring contemporary architecture in historic parks and landscapes.
Speakers (more to be confirmed): Charles Birnbaum, FASLA, FAAR, President and CEO, The Cultural Landscape Foundation; Angelyn Chandler, Deputy Commissioner for Capital Programs, New York State Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation; Joseph Disponzio, Preservation Landscape Architect, NYC Department of Parks and Recreation

Members of the press are invited to the opening and related panel discussion.
Please RSVP to cschaulsohn@aiany.org

About Olana and The Olana Partnership
Olana is the greatest masterpiece of Frederic Edwin Church (1826-1900), the preeminent American artist of the mid‐19th Century and the most important artist’s home, studio, and designed landscape in the United States. Church designed Olana as a holistic environment, integrating his advanced ideas about art, architecture, landscape design, and environmental conservation. Olana’s 250-acre, artist‐designed landscape with a Persian-inspired house at its summit embraces unrivaled panoramic views of the Hudson Valley and Catskill Mountains and, today, welcomes more than 170,000 visitors annually.

Olana State Historic Site, a historic site administered by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, Taconic Region, is a designated National Historic Landmark and one of the most visited sites in the state. The Olana Partnership, a private not-for‐profit education corporation, works cooperatively with New York State to support the restoration, conservation, and interpretation of Olana State Historic Site. 2017 marks the 50th anniversary of the public opening of Olana. To learn more about Olana and The Olana Partnership, please visit www.olana.org

About the Center for Architecture

The Center for Architecture is the premier cultural venue for architecture and the built environment in New York City, informed by the complexity of the City’s urban fabric and in dialogue with the global community. The Center shares a home with the AIA New York Chapter and has the unique advantage of drawing upon the ideas and experiences of practicing architects to produce thought-provoking exhibitions, informative public programs, and quality design education experiences for K-12 students. It also leads New York City’s annual month-long architecture and design festival, Archtober. The Center for Architecture’s aim is to further public knowledge about New York City architecture and architects, foster exchange and collaboration among members of the design, development, building, scholarly, and policy sectors, and inspire new ideas about the role of design in communities by presenting contemporary and practical issues in architecture and urbanism to a general audience. http://cfa.aiany.org

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