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[Detail] Yosemite National Park, Mirror Lake and Mt. Watkin

American Landscape and Architectural Design, 1850-1920, provides students historical materials related to the history of American design that will also assist in understanding the turn-of-the-century culture and the challenges and opportunities that were created as the nation industrialized and urban centers flourished. Many images can be used to learn about the City Beautiful Movement and the work of Frederick Law Olmsted. In addition, these materials reflect the relationship between humans and the environment in images related to westward expansion, and architecture and design.

1. History of Architecture and Design

One unique aspect of American cultural history is the history of American design. Browsing the collection's Indexes and Special Presentations provides a thorough and concrete sense of the development of architectural and landscape design in America, from trefoils and tiger rugs to national parks.

Yosemite Valley

Yosemite Valley from Glacier Point, Yosemite National Park, CA.

Heurtley House, IL

Heurtley House, Exterior, Oak Park, IL, 1901.

Stotesbury Estate Garden

Stotesbury Estate, Formal Garden, Chestnut Hill, PA.

The Names Index can be used to learn about some of the landscape designers and architects who shaped the history of American design. Browse this index to find their names and examples of their work. Do the examples reflect individual styles? Through outside research, find out about these architects' backgrounds and lifestyles. Which designers and architests were most prolific? Most influential? Return to the collection and look for evidence of the influences these architects had on cultural values and preferences.

Coonly House, IL

Coonley House, Exterior, Riverside, IL , 1908.

Rice Estate Site Plan

Rice Estate, Site Plan, Newport, RI.

Boston Public Library

Boston Public Library, Boston, MA.

Taliesin I, WI

Taliesin I, Exterior, Spring Green, WI, 1911; redone, 1925.

One of the most well-known American architects is Frank Lloyd Wright. Search on Frank Lloyd Wright to find images of several of the houses and parks he designed. Trace the influence of his style on other architects and designers as well as on the physical landscape.

  • What features recur in Wright's designs? Determine if these features influenced others by browsing items from the Subject Index and looking for those features in other architects' works.
  • What is the nature of the relationship of Wright's buildings with the environment? How does his style compare with those of other architects?