Thomas J. Campanella
I will conduct field research to excavate the Italian sources of Michael Rapuano’s unique aesthetic of park and parkway design. A Fellow and later a trustee and president of the American Academy of Rome, Rapuano was one of the most influential landscape architects of the twentieth century. Using primary-source archival material, including recently discovered family letters, drawings, and sketchbooks, I intend to retrace Rapuano’s footsteps in Italy to better understand the designer’s formative early years and, especially, to probe the origins of his signature public-works baroque design style that became a template for park planning in New York for fifty years. The research is essential to understanding Rapuano’s signal contributions to American design history and will contribute to a major book on Rapuano and his collaborator of forty-two years, Gilmore Clarke. The book, Designing the American Century, will be published by Yale University Press.