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Posts Tagged ‘Wolfgang Oehme’

Today, we write with sad news. Mr. Harry W. Porter, former faculty member and Dean of the University of Virginia, passed away yesterday at his home in New Bern, North Carolina. He was 74.

Mr. Porter was one of the founding members of the University’s School of Architecture. Recruited by Dean Joe Bosserman in 1969 after having taught at both the University of Michigan and Harvard, Mr. Porter established the School of Architecture’s Department of Landscape Architecture and served as its first chair until 1982. He was appointed Associate Dean of Administration that same year, and served as Interim Dean of the School until he was awarded the position of Dean in 1989.

During his time at the University, Mr. Porter was awarded the Elson Professor of Architecture chair and the Lawrence Lewis, Jr., Professor of Architecture chair.

Harry became the first University Architect in the Office of the Architect where he advised on the architectural design and development of the University grounds. He was also the first Dean of the School to live in Pavilion IX on the Lawn. He retired in 1994 and in 1996, a pumpkin ash tree was planted in his honor in front of Pavilion IX.

As a sign of the alumni body’s great affection and gratitude for Mr. Porter, the School completed a successful campaign after his retirement to establish the Harry W. Porter Jr. Visiting Professorship in Architecture. This program continues to serve all four departments on a rotating basis to invite outside guest critics and lecturers each year to the School.

Mr. Porter has been recognized nationally as one of the country’s finest educators in landscape architecture. He was a Fellow of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), an honorary member of the Virginia Society of the American Institute of Architects (VSAIA), and former president of the Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture.

That was his professional resume. To those of us who had the privilege of knowing him, Harry was invincible – the white knight who could do no wrong. As a student in Mr. Porter’s program, OvS Principal Eric Groft describes him as, “…Omnipotent, almost god-like, and one would do anything to get his favorable recognition.”

Here at Oehme, van Sweden, we are deeply saddened with the news of Harry Porter’s passing, but know that his memory will live on in our hearts, our work, and our passion for the art of landscape architecture. He will be greatly missed by all who had the pleasure of knowing and working with him.

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Oehme van Sweden has always paid particular attention to the subtle beauty and strong forms that emerge from the winter garden. After one of the many recent snowfalls that has blanketed the region, the plantings we designed for the Tanger Outlets at the Arches in Deer Park, New York looked beautiful against the thick layer of snow.  We hope that the shoppers taking advantage of the post-holiday bargains appreciated the sculptural forms of the plantings as much as we did!

The muted wheat color of the Hakonechloa macra and Pennisetum alopecuroides glowed against the drifts piled in the planting beds, with the dancing and waving forms of the grasses frozen in place by the weight of the snow.   

Hakonechloa macra (Hakone grass) with Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Snow Queen’ behind

 

Pennisetum alopecuroides (Fountain grass)

The multi-stemmed trunk of the Magnolia virginiana emerged from its blanket of snow. Partially protected by a glass canopy, it still held many of its leaves.

Magnolia Virginiana (with Rohdea Japonica)

At one of the main entries, the dark seed heads of the Rudbeckia fulgida ‘Goldsturm’ punctuated the bed of Perovskia atriplicifolia.  The Japanese tree lilac was silhouetted against the swiftly-moving clouds, bringing attention to the beauty of its form.

Perovskia atriplicifolia (Russian sage) in the foreground with Rudbeckia fulgida ‘Goldsturm’ (Black-Eyed Susans) and Syringa reticulate (Japanese Tree Lilac) behind

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Any of our followers who have been keeping an eye on Oehme van Sweden lately know that our latest book, The Artful Garden: Creative Inspiration for Landscape Design, will be coming out on February 1st of 2011.

This afternoon, we were welcomed with a nice surprise. UPS stopped by with a box of eight, brand new, never-been-paged-through copies of The Artful Garden.

We. Are. Thrilled.

Not only do we get the tactile and olfactory experience of our new book (The gloss of the pages! The heft of the binding! The smell of fresh ink!), we are able to experience just how this book will illuminate any gardener’s path to inspired design and creation of a perfect garden from the reader’s point-of-view.

James van Sweden will teach you to think not in terms of borders and beds or even paths and meadows, but of a tapestry woven from sky, trees, rocks, vines, flowers, grasses, and space — all the while providing the practical tools and tips you need to turn this inspiration into reality. 

And the release is just three weeks away…

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Earlier this fall, Oehme van Sweden Principal Eric Groft had the pleasure of speaking at Guild Hall in East Hampton as part of the Garden as Art: Designers Choice talk and garden tour. For this event, Eric was honored to be introduced by longstanding client (and very good friend) Barbara Slifka. Barbara gave a truly moving introduction of Eric, which we are priveleged to be able to share here:

This is going to be a very personal introduction. You can read all about Eric’s academic and professional background in your programs. I have known Eric for about 25 years. We first met when he was the Project Manager on my Sagaponack beach house, and since then we have worked on two other projects—one in New York and another again in Sagaponack. We have also become good friends.

Working with Eric – and Jim van Sweden and Wolfgang Oehme (the founding partners of Oehme van Sweden) – has been a very educational experience. It was as though someone had lifted a curtain in front of me and I was seeing gardens for the first time. Eric has a truly trained and professional eye. When he is involved on a project, it is the total effect he is interested in, and not just plants or flowers or trees, but the whole landscape. This includes the hardscape – the fences, the paths, the swimming pool, the driveway, the scale of the pots. All of this is important, and all the details matter, because they all add up to the final vision.

Working with Eric, I was exposed to a whole new way of looking at plants – his sense of scale, his interest in texture, his interest in shapes, and his interest in colors (all year long – winter can be beautiful!). All of a sudden I was noticing movement, the way plants flow and interact with each other, and the volume of plants needed to make a statement. For me, being exposed to Eric has brought a wonderful new dimension to my life. I love formal gardens, but once exposed to Eric’s special taste and talent, I hope your eye and personal taste will change forever.

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Last weekend, OvS principal Eric Groft attended the Quail Hill Farm’s annual benefit dinner with Oehme van Sweden client Barbara Slifka.

Above (L to R): Rebeccah Chapman with the Peconic Land Trust, OvS client Barbara Slifka and Ovs Principal Eric Groft.

The table was set for 175 organic farmers, wine makers, artists, brokers, and the one and only, Mr. Alec Baldwin!

The dinner and its communal table benefitted the Peconic Land Trust. The Peconic Land Trust is a nonprofit organization that was established to ensure the protection of Long Island’s working farms, natural lands, and heritages.

Quail Hill Farm is a Rockefeller Farm. It is one of the original CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) farms in the U.S. and is located in Amagansett, New York, on the South Fork of Long Island, on land donated to the Peconic Land Trust by Deborah Ann Light.

The food that was served at the dinner was all organic and locally grown and prepared by New York’s BEST chefs!

Can you spot Mr. Baldwin in this photo?

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Welcome to the inaugural edition of the Oehme, van Sweden & Associates blog. Founded in 1977 by Principals Wolfgang Oehme and James van Sweden, both fellows of the American Society of Landscape Architects, Oehme, van Sweden is widely known for our artistic design solutions that balance sustainable practices with concerns about life-cycle costs and maintenance. Our deep appreciation of nature and consistent focus on horticulture are the inspirations behind our “New American Garden” style of landscape architecture, which is based on the year-round qualities of the natural environment.

Today, Oehme, van Sweden’s twelve professional landscape architects create outdoor environments that honor the legacy of our founders while breaking new ground in the field of landscape architecture. Through our blog, we look forward to sharing our inspirations, exploring new developments in the field of landscape architecture, and keeping you abreast of our latest news.

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