Monday, May 01, 2017

A park, over a freeway, in Seattle. That's a mighty nice thing, and it's the descendant of Central Park in New York

and that all resulted from people seeing the ordinary freeways... and thinking, hey, why not cover that up with something nice to look at, and a nice park to bring trees back into the city?

It worked in New York City on the East River Drive, and in Boston over the Big Dig, and in Chicago with the Millennium park

in 1966 Lawrence Halprin wrote the book Freeways, his followup to Cities. He knew something about cities, as he grew up in Brooklyn, and was a sandlot baseball star as a kid

One of his university classmates was Philip Johnson (oh, yeah, I dig architecture too) and he went and visited Taliesin, Frank Lloyd Wright’s studio in Wisconsin after graduating. Well, FLW was taught landscape architecture by the Olmstead boys, their dad was the genius who laid out Central Park in New York. His sons did great work too, but, probably will be known most for teaching FLW, who went on to do beautiful things, and getting back to my story, inspired Halprin.

After university, he was a Lt on a destroyer, the USS Morris, during WW2, and recuperated from a kamikaze attack in San Fran, which he adopted as his home.

He is best known for the master landscaping plan for the 1962 Seattle World's Fair including the innovative elevated monorail from downtown to the park, and the landscape plan for the West Coast Memorial to the Missing of World War II, Ira's Fountain in Portland, and Freeway Park in Seattle... which reclaimed the interstate 5 right-of-way as a park.

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