After beginning his architectural career in England, Calvert Vaux came to America in 1850 at the invitation of architect Andrew Jackson Downing. In 1852, he moved to New York City and asked Frederick Law Olmsted, the landscape architect, to join him in preparing a design for Central Park. During the next thirty-eight years in New York, Vaux defended and refined his vision of Central Park and pursued a distinguished architectural practice. After the Civil War, he and Olmsted led the nascent American park movement with their designs for parks in many American cities. And as a pioneering advocate for apartment houses in American cities, Vaux designed buildings that mirrored the advance of urbanization in America, including early model-housing for the poor. His works also include many Gothic and Palladian style dwellings, the original portions of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the American Museum of Natural History, and a stunning proposal for a vast iron and glass building to house the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia. Most notable, perhaps, are the many bridges and other structures that he designed for Central Park.
This book is the first in-depth study of Vaux's life and work.