Charleston Gardens and the Landscape Legacy of Loutrel Briggs (Hardcover)
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An elegantly rendered account of the central figure in the twentieth-century Charleston garden renaissance
Charleston Gardens and the Landscape Legacy of Loutrel Briggs provides a fascinating account of the life and career of renowned landscape architect Loutrel Briggs (1893-1977), the individual most directly responsible for the development of Charleston's distinctive garden style. Accomplished landscape architect and award-winning garden historian James R. Cothran provides the most complete portrait to date of Briggs, his continuing impact on the iconic gardens of Charleston, and his legacy in the complex historical tapestry of the lowcountry.
A native of New York and a graduate of Cornell University, Briggs first visited Charleston in 1927 to experience firsthand the city's incomparable springtime beauty and picturesque charm. He opened a seasonal office in Charleston in 1929 and for the next three decades divided his practice between his summer office in New York and his winter office in Charleston. Briggs became a permanent resident of Charleston in 1959.
Briggs completed an impressive array of private and public landscape projects, including Mepkin, McLeod, Mulberry, and Rice Hope plantations; Charleston's Gateway Walk; the William Gibbes house garden; and the South Carolina Memorial Garden, but he is best known for his designs of many small Charleston gardens. He is credited with designing more than one hundred private gardens in Charleston's historic district alone. In these plans Briggs drew on his remarkable sense of scale, harmony, and tradition to work wonders in limited urban spaces. Featuring a distinctive emphasis on "outdoor rooms," some of these gardens survive today while others have been lost over time to natural causes, redesign, or neglect. Today Charleston is in danger of losing one of its most enviable but fragile assets--its legacy of Briggs' gardens.
Cothran's comprehensive work champions a renewed appreciation of the contributions Briggs made to Charleston's landscape tradition and serves as a timely call to action to preserve Briggs' gardens and legacy. The book also provides an inventory of Briggs' projects found in Charleston archives as a resource for further research, exploration, and documentation.
About the Author
James R. Cothran (1941-2012) was a practicing landscape architect, urban planner, and garden historian in Atlanta. He held degrees from Clemson University, the University of Georgia, and the Georgia Institute of Technology. A fellow in the American Society of Landscape Architects, Cothran was past president of the Southern Garden History Society and served on the boards of the Alliance for Historic Landscape Preservation, Trees Atlanta, and the Cherokee Garden Library-Center for the Study of Southern Garden History. He is the author of Gardens of Historic Charleston and Gardens and Historic Plants of the Antebellum South, which has been honored with awards from the American Society of Landscape Architects, the National Garden Clubs, the Council on Botanical and Horticultural Libraries, the Georgia Historical Society, and other organizations.