Jens Jensen: maker of natural parks and gardens
Jens Jensen was one of America's greatest landscape designers and conservationists. Using native plants and "fitting" designs, he advocated that our gardens, parks, roads, playgrounds, and cities should be harmonious with nature and its ecological processes--a belief that was to become a major theme of modern American landscape design. When Jensen died in 1951 at the age of 90, the New York Times called him "the dean of American landscape architecture."
In Jens Jensen: Maker of Natural Parks and Gardens, Robert E. Grese evaluates Jensen's work against the background of landscape design traditions that included Andrew Jackson Downing and Frederick Law Olmsted, as well as earlier movements in Europe. Grese examines Jensen's part in the Chicago cultural renaissance that occurred just prior to World War I, a movement that brought social reform, a new understanding of ecology, organic trends in architecture, and great strides in American literature. Drawing on Jensen's writings and plans, interviews with people who knew him, and analyses of his projects, Grese presents a clear picture of Jensen's efforts to enhance and preserve "native" landscapes.
Jens Jensen worked with some of the leading architects of his day--Sullivan and Wright among them--so many of his projects involved the extravagant estates of wealthy entrepreneurs in Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, and elsewhere. But Jensen also worked on schools, parks, playgrounds, hospitals, institutional homes, and government buildings. Long before environmental activists took over the idea, he foresaw the need to preserve the dunes, forests, prairies, and wetlands native to the Middle West. He championed the network of forest preserves around Chicago, protection of the Indiana Dunes (now a national lakeshore), the state park system in Illinois, and numerous parks in Wisconsin. Jens Jensen: Maker of Natural Parks and Gardens offers a compelling look at Jensen's visionary work and remarkable career.
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A Cultural Context for Jensens Work
Jensens Design Career
Jensens Design Style
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