New York architecture firm to oversee restoration of Main Fountain Garden
Longwood Gardens announced Thursday that it has commissioned the New York firm of Beyer Blinder Belle Architects and Planners to lead the rehabilitation of the Main Fountain Garden, part of a 40-year master-planning initiative for the gardens.
“We are enthusiastic in our selection of Beyer Blinder Belle, a firm widely-recognized for its stewardship of buildings and sites of cultural heritage,” Paul Redman, Longwood’s director, said in a news release. “Over the course of the past 40 years, they have worked with many prestigious public institutions and historic sites, including Grand Central Terminal and at Lincoln Center, and we are confident they will bring to our project the same creativity and rigor that contributed to the successful restoration of these iconic landscapes.”
Richard Southwick, a partner at Beyer Blinder Belle, said the firm was “honored to be entrusted with the restoration of the Main Foundation Garden, arguably the masterpiece of Longwood Gardens, which has awed and delighted millions of guests for decades.” He said the goal would be to restore the early 20th-century work “in a manner that respects Pierre du Pont’s original design intent and preserves the garden’s authenticity for generations to enjoy.”
Longwood Gardens is the legacy and lifelong project of Pierre S. du Pont (1870-1954), an heir to the du Pont family gunpowder works. Since its founding in 1906, Longwood Gardens has matured into a world-renowned botanical landscape. The Main Fountain Garden was completed in the mid-1930s, inspired
by the 1893 World Columbian Exhibition and Italian and French gardens. Over the course of it 81-year history, it has evolved to reflect the changing ambitions of its founder and to respond to new technical opportunities.
Its rehabilitation will focus on four design issues: preservation of the legacy of Pierre S. du Pont’s original design; restoration of its architectural and structural components; repair and improvements to the mechanical and electrical systems; and enhancements to the planting and fountains of the garden, the release said.
In developing and directing the rehabilitation plan, Beyer Blinder Belle will work with a team of experts, including fountain specialists Fluidity Design Consultants of Los Angeles and urban design and landscape architecture firm West 8 of New York.
Founded in 1968, Beyer Blinder Belle Architects & Planners is a collaborative international practice that has been responsible for the restoration of many landmarks, including Grand Central Terminal, Ellis Island Museum of Immigration, and the fountains and plaza at Rockefeller Center.