Blog post written by Lindsey Naylor
The Special Collections Research Center offered an archival show-and-tell for students enrolled in LAR 444: History of Landscape Architecture, taught by associate professor Fernando Magallanes. The session featured works from the Landscape Architecture Archive in addition to rare books and images that reflect broader trends in design, botany, agriculture, and more. Magallanes requested diverse materials to support the aim of the course, which is to provide a broad overview of landscape architecture history grounded in a larger social, scientific, and artistic context.
The event was also meant to give students a sense of the Archive’s scope, and its potential as a source of inspiration and insight for design and research projects.
Highlights from the Landscape Architecture Archive included architectural drawings, renderings, and presentation materials from the collections of Lewis Clarke , Richard C. Bell , Edwin Gilbert Thurlow , and Reynolds & Jewell . Featured design and planning projects included the Brickyard, the 1965 Raleigh downtown capital plan, and the N.C. Zoo, giving students a peek into the historic context of familiar places. Students also could flip through correspondence between NCSU landscape architecture faculty members and their prominent international design colleagues, like Roberto Burle Marx and Garrett Eckbo.
Sketches, photographs, and architectural drawings were on display for Fayetteville’s iconic Tallywood Shopping Center sign. The modernist 1960s design was by Bill Baron, an industrial designer and NCSU graduate who also worked on projects with Clarke and Bell. Baron recently donated his Tallywood drawings, correspondence, and photographs to the SCRC. The finding aid for this collection will be available in a few weeks.
Students got a sneak peek at the work of R. D. Tillson, a landscape architect who practiced in the High Point area from the 1930s to the 1970s. The Tillson drawings, which fill more than 250 tubes and flat folders, are another recent acquisition and are currently being processed and organized. The collection promises to provide unique insight into the way the practice of landscape architecture evolved in the Southeast during the 20th century. At the show-and-tell, students examined grading and general development plans for Rock Creek Park, an Albemarle, N.C., project funded in the 1930s by the Works Progress Administration.
SCRC staff shared a couple of the hand-colored lantern slides of B.W. Wells , a celebrated NCSU ecologist who built a deep knowledge of the state’s native plants and ecosystems. The slides included in the exhibit showed the trumpet plant and the venus fly trap , Wells’ personal favorite.
Magallanes’ students were particularly drawn to the exhibit’s selection of rare books, including an original 1856 edition of The Grammar of Ornament , the work of architect Owen Jones that is often referred to as “the Bible of design.” Also on hand was an original 1803 edition of Observation on the Theory and Practice of Landscape Gardening , by English landscape designer Humphry Repton . Repton is known for his series of Red Books and for the innovative layering of before-and-after drawings of his planned landscapes.