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Guide to the
Clarke & Rapuano Landscape Architecture Collection
1935–2002 (bulk, 1935–1975)

New-York Historical Society
170 Central Park West
New York, NY 10024
(212) 873-3400

New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Julie Viggiano, Kate Fais, and Jenny Gotwals (2006); migrated to ArchivesSpace by Joseph Ditta (2020)

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on June 24, 2020
Finding aid written in English using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Biographical / Historical

Gilmore D. Clarke (1892–1982) and Michael Rapuano (1904–1975) began a professional partnership in Engineering and Landscape Architecture in 1934. Both men were trained at Cornell, and Clarke was later a professor of architecture there, as well as Dean of Cornell's College of Architecture. Their first collaboration was on the design of the Henry Hudson Parkway, and the success of that project encouraged the two to become one of the first multi-discipline firms in the country, with a staff of landscape architects, architects, engineers, and planners. From 1944 to 1954 the practice included Leslie G. Holleran as a principal and named partner.

The firm of Clarke & Rapuano seems to have its hand in most of the major building projects in New York City between 1935 and 1965. Clarke served on the Board of Directors for the 1939–1940 World's Fair, and was a consultant to the Board for the subsequent 1964–1965 Fair. Many private exhibits at the 1939 Fair used Clarke & Rapuano as their landscape architects. Both Clarke & Rapuano were on the Board of Design for Metropolitan Life's four major housing projects: Stuyvesant Town, Peter Cooper Village, Riverton and Parkchester. The firm was appointed to be the landscape architects as well as site-engineers for all four projects. The firm also prepared plans for the development of the grounds of the United Nations; Clarke was on the board of Consulting Architects-Engineers for that project.

While Gilmore Clarke seemed to specialize in planning and design, Michael Rapuano often focused on roadways and their implementation and inclusion in the existing landscape. He served on several local and national committees to study the freeway systems that were becoming more important in the 1940s and 1950s. Clarke & Rapuano worked on several of Robert Moses' major projects: The Major Deegan Expressway in the Bronx, the Van Wyck Expressway in Queens, and the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, including the design of the Brooklyn Heights Esplanade, built over part of that highway.

In 1975 the founding partners both retired, and the firm was bought by the remaining principals, and continued to do the same kind of planning and landscape design work until 1998.