Calvert Vaux is best known as the co-architect, with Frederick Law Olmsted, of New York's great parks, including Central Park, Prospect Park, Morningside Park, and Riverside Park. Vaux, however, left an even deeper architectural legacy in the city, from schools to commercial buildings to grand public spaces like the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Vaux (pronounced "Vox") was born in England and came to the United States in 1851 to work for Andrew Jackson Downing, the country's leading (and basically only) landscape architect. Downing's untimely death in 1852 led Vaux to take over the architecture firm just as the city was beginning work on Central Park. Vaux suggested a contest to pick the park's design, which he and Olmsted handily won. (Olmsted gets the lion's share of the credit for their park work, but the architectural sensibility is all Vaux.) Over the years, Vaux worked with a number of partners, including Jacob Wrey Mould, George Radford, and Frederick Clarke Withers. These 11 Vaux projects (and one tribute) are not an exhaustive list, but provide a good sampling of the breadth of his work, and where you can still see it in under-appreciated corners of the city today.
James Nevius is the author of three books about New York, the most recent of which is Footprints in New York: Tracing the Lives of Four Centuries of New Yorkers.
· The Definitive Superlative Guide to NYC's Park Architecture [Curbed]
· All Calvert Vaux coverage [Curbed]