OLIN Hosts Friends of Architecture

Members of the Friends of Architecture, a group of University of Texas at Austin students, faculty and patrons, gathered for a group photo on their tour of the historic Barnes estate in Merion, Pennsylvania.

Members of the Friends of Architecture, a group of University of Texas at Austin students, faculty and patrons, gathered for a group photo on their tour of the historic Barnes estate in Merion, Pennsylvania.

OLIN hosted the Friends of Architecture, a group of University of Texas at Austin students, faculty and patrons, on a guided tour of the Rodin Museum and the Barnes Foundation along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, as well as the historic Barnes estate in nearby Merion. OLIN regularly hosts tours of projects to spur discussion and critical thinking about the studio’s work and the practice of landscape architecture, and to reinforce our mission of academic exploration.

The tour group gathered under the shade of the arboretum at the Barnes estate in Merion.

The first stop on the tour was the 12-acre arboretum and former home of Dr. Albert C. Barnes, renowned as a curator and steward of one of the world’s most important and eclectic art collections.  OLIN Associate Yue Li explained to the group how deeply the arboretum and gardens of the estate influenced the design of the new Barnes Foundation, which opened in May of 2012 in the City of Philadelphia.

 

Associate Yue Li explained OLIN’s design of the new Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia, including an interior courtyard framed by galleries.

The connection between art and garden, so prevalent in Merion, was maintained at the new Barnes Foundation, which recalls the lush gardens of the original estate within the urban context of Philadelphia.

 

Visitors to the Barnes Foundation are guided to the entrance by a linear reflecting pool and a formal allée of Japanese maple trees. Other plantings found throughout the site include chestnut trees, Franklinia trees and myriad herbaceous plantings.

At the Barnes Foundation, the second stop of the tour, Yue described how many plant species found in the Merion arboretum were used in the design of the Philadelphia site. Additionally, windows at the new Barnes were designed to match the scale and spatiality of those found at the original estate, and border plantings were chosen to mimic those found outside the windows of the original galleries.

 

View of the Rodin Museum’s formal garden, which features low hedges surrounding a calm pool and Sweetbay magnolia trees framing the Meudon Gate—a replica of the entry at Rodin’s 18th-century country estate. Senior Landscape Architect Eve Kootchick explained the deep consideration and meaning behind the design of the garden’s details, from the selection of plant species to the paving material.

The Rodin Museum, the tour’s final stop, involved careful restoration efforts balanced with modern functionality. Senior Landscape Architect Eve Kootchick showed the group the original plans for the museum, designed by famed landscape architect Jacques Gréber, and described the three-year project.

 

OLIN created sweeping pathways leading up to the formal garden entry of the Rodin Museum—these paths serve as a transition between the frenetic urban experience of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway to the stateliness of the entry gates, which begin the museum experience.

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