Free Lecture: Cultural Landscapes, Design and Historic Preservation

Charles Birnbaum, founder and President of The Cultural Landscape Foundation (TCLF), will be speaking at a free lecture from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. on Monday, April 15, 2013, at the U. of M., 100 Rapson Hall, 89 Church Street SE.


This lecture will reveal both the opportunities and constraints in this area of converging disciplines. Special attention will be placed on the segmented divide between design and historic preservation and nature and culture – and how this information is consumed by the general public. Within this context, the limitations of available research (physical and financial), how we assign significance, and the quest for authenticity will also be explored. Additionally, larger philosophical challenges such as holistic stewardship and the recognition of a cultural landscape’s palimpsest (historic layers) will all be explored. Examples will be both local and National in scope.

About Charles Birnbaum, FASLA, FARR, Founder and President of The Cultural Landscape Foundation (TCLF):

Prior to joining TCLF, Birnbaum spent fifteen years as the coordinator of the National Park Service Historic Landscape Initiative (HLI) and a decade in private practice in New York City with a focus on landscape preservation and urban design. His recent projects include two web-based initiatives: What’s Out There (a searchable database of the nation’s designed landscape heritage) and Cultural Landscapes as Classrooms. His has authored and edited numerous publications including the Modern Landscapes: Transition and Transformation series (Princeton Architectural Press, 2012), Shaping the American Landscape (UVA Press, 2009), Design with Culture: Claiming America’s Landscape Heritage (UVA Press 2005), Preserving Modern Landscape Architecture (1999) and its follow-up publication, Making Post-War Landscapes Visible (2004, both for Spacemaker Press), Pioneers of American Landscape Design (McGraw Hill 2000) and The Guidelines for the Treatment of Cultural Landscapes (National Park Service, 1996).

In 1995, the ASLA awarded the HLI the President’s Award of Excellence and in 1996 inducted Birnbaum as a Fellow of the Society.

He served as a Loeb Fellow at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design during which time he founded TCLF. In 2004, Birnbaum was awarded the Rome Prize in Historic Preservation and Conservation and spent spring/summer of that year at the American Academy in Rome. In 2008, he was the visiting Glimcher Distinguished Professor at Ohio State’s Austin E. Knowlton School of Architecture.

That same year the ASLA awarded him the Alfred B. LaGasse Medal and in 2009 the President’s Medal. Birnbaum is currently a Visiting Professor at the Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture Planning + Preservation and a frequent blogger for The Huffington Post.

Additional event information:

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