Title: DENVER CIVIC CENTER
Location Current Site: Denver CO UNITED STATES
Creator Personal Name: Robinson,Olmsted,Bennett&Plan Comm.
Creator Assoc Person Biography: BENNETT, EDWARD H. Born May 12, 1874; died October 14, 1954. This architect and city planner was a leader in the City Beautiful Movement. He made one of many plans for the Denver Civic Center, along with Charles Mulford Robinson, Frederick Law Olmsted, and Saco DeBoer. Born in England, he emigrated to San Francisco in 1890. From 1895 to 1901, he attended the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris. Later, Bennett worked for George B. Post of New York and Daniel H. Burnham of Chicago. His work for Burnham included drafting the Plan of the City of San Francisco (1905); and co-authoring the Plan of Chicago (1909). The latter project represented a culmination of the City Beautiful Movement, which advocated beauty, efficiency and professionalism. Burnham's mentoring launched Bennett on a career as a planning consultant. Bennett formed a partnership with William E. Parsons in 1919. In 1922, the firm became Bennett, Parsons, Frost, and Thomas; from 1924 until 1938 it was known as Bennett, Parsons & Frost, and from 1938-44, Bennett & Frost. Bennett served as Consulting Architect to the Chicago Plan Commission from 1910 to 1930. In this capacity he helped design many prominent public works projects, including Grant Park and Buckingham Fountain (1915-1927). Bennett and his partners worked extensively outside Chicago. He made plans for Minneapolis (1910-11); Portland (1912); Cedar Rapids (1910-11, 1916); Ottowa (1912-15); Brooklyn (1912-1915); Detroit, (1913, 1915); Pittsburgh, (1914); Denver (1917); Pasadena (1923), and Vincennes (1928-35). Like most civic center, park, or city plans of the era, few were executed. During the 1920s, Bennett's firm also produced zoning ordinances. He participated in three prestigious projects of national scope. He prepared background reports for the New York Regional Plan, published between 1927 and 1931. In 1927, Bennett became Chairman of the Board of Architects in charge of designing the Federal Triangle in Washington, D.C. He also designed the Botanic Gardens Conservatory (1931-33) at the foot of Capitol Hill. Bennett designed six major structures for the 1933 Chicago Century of Progress Exposition. Although not an innovator, he was a respected designer, and he helped establish standards and practices for the fledgling planning profession. Sources: Joan E. Draper. Edward H. Bennett Architect and City Planner, 1874-1954. Chicago: Art Institute, 1982. "Edward H. Bennett. " Pencil Points VI(Aug. 1923): 42-56. Edward H. Bennett. "Public Buildings and Quasi-Public Buildings." In City Planning, ed. John Nolen. New York 1929. Chicago Tribune, October 16, 1954. (Joan E. Draper, 1998)
Creator Assoc Person Biography: OLMSTED, FREDERICK LAW, JR. Born 1870; died 1957. Olmsted, one of America's leading landscape architects and city planners, practiced with his half-brother, John Charles Olmsted. Olmsted Bros. was headquartered in Brookline, Mass., where their father, the famous landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, Sr. had settled. The younger Olmsteds had a national practice. Frederick was more involved with planning than John Charles, who focused on park planning. Frederick made a preliminary city plan for Boulder in 1910, as well as advising Washington, D.C. (1902); Utica (1908); New Haven (1910); Pittsburgh (1910, 1911); Rochester (1911); Newport, RI (1913); Detroit (1915). Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr. was hired in 1912 to plan Denver's Civic Center, its mountain parks system, and a scenic road between Lookout Mountain in Golden and Morrison, at what is now Red Rocks Park. Because of disagreements among Denver's civic leaders, Olmsted was dismissed in 1915. However, his reputation as a talented and thoughtful practitioner only continued to grow. Olmsted also designed new suburbs, including Roland Park, near Baltimore (1900); Forest Hills Gardens in Queens (1912); and Torrance, Calif. (1920s). In the latter part of his career until his retirement in 1949, he concentrated on the development of state and national parks. Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr. had been groomed for success by his father. He attended Harvard and apprenticed on a number of important projects, including the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition. In 1899, he helped found the American Society of Landscape Architects. In 1909, he became the first president of the National Conference on City Planning. In 1917, he was a co-founder of the American City Planning Institute (now American Planning Association). Nevertheless, Olmsted became increasingly sceptical about the efficacy of planning consultants and the end-state plan. He recommended that planning become a regular process of municipal government and that multi-talented teams of experts be hired when needed to develop a flexible series of plans and designs. Sources: Klaus, Susan L. "Efficiency, Economy, Beauty: the City Planning Reports of Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr., 1905-1915." Journal of the American Planning Association 57(Autumn 1991): 456-70. Peterson, Jon A. "Frederick Law Olmsted Sr. and Frederick Law Olmsted Jr.: the Visionary and the Professional." In Planning the Twentieth-Century American City, edited by Mary Corbin Sies and Christopher Silver. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996 Noel, Thomas J., and Barbara S. Norgren. Denver the City Beautiful. Denver: Historic Denver, Inc., 1987. (Joan Draper, 1998)
Creator Assoc Person Birth Date: 1870-11-01 00:00:00
Creator Assoc Person Birth Date: 1874-10-01 00:00:00
Creator Assoc Person Death Date: 1954-10-01 00:00:00
Creator Assoc Person Death Date: 1957-11-01 00:00:00
Creator Assoc Person Birth/Death Dates: 1870-1957
Creator Assoc Person Birth/Death Dates: 1874-1954
Creator Assoc Person Name: Bennett,Edward H., City Planning Comm., Olmsted,FrederickLawJr., Ramos,Juan, Scott,Mel
Creator Assoc Person Role: Associate, Associate, Associate, Associate, Photographer
Subject.Image Description: Voorhies Memorial
Creator.Personal Name Label: Robinson,Olmsted,Bennett&Plan Comm.
Description.Image Comments: ELCALP ENVD 4122 Spg. 99 Lynn Lickteig
Source.Acquisition Date: 2000-01-04 00:00:00
Style/Period: City Beautiful
Style/Period Description: CITY BEAUTIFUL. (1895-1915) The City Beautiful Movement was not a style, actually, but a movement in American urban design and planning. This term denotes a campaign to bring more beauty, order, amenity, and utility to American cities. It was led by architects, landscape architects, journalists and politicians, many of who were also leaders in the Progressive Movement. That movement was contemporary with the City Beautiful Movement of the early 20th century. It sought to infuse public life with efficiency, professionalism, order, and more social justice; reforms included instituting child labor and civil service laws. City Beautiful reforms were both organizational and environmental. Organizational reforms included cities hiring professional designers and planners to make coordinated schemes for capital improvements. These capital improvements included such things as public parks, public buildings, streets, and bridges. The most famous City Beautiful Movement plan was the 1909 Chicago Plan, by architects Daniel H. Burnham and Edward H. Bennett. The experts hired by Colorado cities included Edward Bennett, who advised on the Denver Civic Center; Charles Mulford Robinson, who advised Denver and Colorado Springs; and Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr., who advised Boulder and Denver. These men are counted among the founders of the city planning profession in the United States, as well as being leaders in the City Beautiful Movement. The Denver Civic Center project, to which Olmsted and Bennett contributed, is typical of City Beautiful projects. It was to be a symmetrical grouping of public buildings along the axis defined by the Colorado State Capitol Building and around a formally landscaped mall. The buildings were to be in the American Renaissance style, a Neoclassical style of the 1890 to 1930s era. Although the gardens, Voorhies Memorial, and Denver City County Building were built by the 1930s, the Denver Civic Center was only partially completed. This was typical of most City Beautiful schemes; while they excited interest in the idea of planning, they were either impractical or judged to be too expensive or politically suspect. Around 1910, planning experts such as Olmsted began to criticize the City Beautiful Movement for its preoccupation with formal design over continuous process, and for emphasizing beauty over utility. Olmsted's 1910 plan for Boulder is typical of plans that were transitional between the so-called City Practical Movement and the earlier City Beautiful Movement. Sources: William H. Wilson. The City Beautiful Movement. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1989; Joan E. Draper. Edward H. Bennett Architect and City Planner 1874-1934. Chicago: Art Institute of Chicago, 1984. (Joan Draper, 1998)
Subject Image View Type: Exterior, general view
ID Number.Former Image Accession VISC: 63027
Rights Description: Copyright owned by The Regents of the University of Colorado, a body corporate, and the photographer. All rights reserved.
Creator.Comments: Denver Civic Center
Source.Requestor Full Name: Lickteig, Lynn
ID Number.Former Digital Accession VISC: 8346
Collection Name: Architecture and Planning Collection
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