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Harvard, MA

The addition of a new library on the premises of Harvard's Dumbarton Oaks Garden has continued to raise questions about the issue of historic landscape preser-vation theory. The proposed library would encroach on a Beatrix Farrand designed landscape that was donated by patron Mildred Bliss.

In the recent newletter of the Maryland ASLA, James Urban, FASLA argues that the landscape does not meet the criteria of an historic landscape based upon evidence, derived from correspondence between Bliss and Farrand, and that the garden was intended to change in order to support the growth of the institution. He cites the removal of a large section of the Farrand designed Copse in favor of the 1963 contruction of a Pre-Colombian museum as the some of the strongest evidence for this case because the work was funded and supported by Mildred Bliss. He further suggests that the proposed development would not unduly compromise the integrity of the garden. Urban concludes that, "Historic preservation is less about freezing time and more about helping historic landscapes exist in contemporary society."

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October 16, 2019, 2:05 am PDT

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