A Symbiotic Relationship Between Mid Century Modern Masters: The Collaborative Works Of Marie And Arthur Berger, Landscape Architects, And O'Neil Ford, Architect
Laurence, Dianne Susan Duffner
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Landscape Architects Marie and Arthur Berger were partners as well as husband and wife. The pair began practicing in Dallas, Texas after their marriage in 1946. Marie Monica Harbeck graduated from the University of Oregon and Arthur from the University of Kansas and Harvard Graduate School and met while they were sequestered as civilian employees by the Army Engineer Board at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, conducting camouflage research during World War II. After the war and after completing significant projects in Dallas, Texas, such as the DeGolyer Estate at White Rock Lake (now the Dallas Arboretum), the Bergers embarked on a decade-long professional relationship with renowned Texas architect O'Neal Ford. Together, architect and landscape architect completed many notable institutional projects such as Texas Instruments Headquarters in Dallas, The Trinity University campus in San Antonio, and numerous Texas Modern residential projects mainly in Dallas and San Antonio, Texas. The goal of this research was to identify the collaborative efforts of the Berger's and Ford during the World War II post-war period until 1960 in the study areas of Dallas and San Antonio. The team created a unique Texas modern landscape and architecture style that resulted in distinctive design contributions to the field of landscape architecture. Publications about O'Neil Ford were reviewed, a survey of the projects where the Bergers and Ford worked together was conducted, most of their projects were visited, and persons and practicing professionals who knew the subjects were interviewed. Publications from professional organizations such as the American Society of Landscape Architects, (ASLA) the American Institute of Architects, (AIA), academic resources at the University of Texas at Arlington, Texas, (UTA) and the University of Texas at Austin, (UT) were also reviewed. The literature review reaffirmed the lack of comprehensive research and the absence of formal publications on the professional careers of Marie and Arthur Berger. Consequently, a bibliographical research on the work of architects O'Neil Ford and Howard Meyer was conducted in order to locate the projects where the Bergers collaborated with these renowned mid-century modern architects. The name of the persons and the address of the projects where the Bergers collaborated with the above mentioned architects were revealed by the research. Site visits were conducted in Dallas, San Antonio, Salado and Fort Worth and the landscapes linked to the Bergers were photographed and inventoried. Readings revealed that the territory of activity of the Berger's work spanned from local to regional to national to international and that most of their work done with O'Neil Ford was in the North Texas area and in San Antonio, Texas. Interviews, literature reviews and site surveys initiated the formulation of a hypothesis that suggested that the collaborative work of the Bergers and Ford established the unique relationship that created a distinctive Texas mid-century modern landscape designs that shared a common language with the architectural designs of Ford. The research also located some of the limited biographical information about Arthur and Marie that helped to reinforce the above mentioned hypothesis and supported the thought that something very special was created and became noted by scholars and patrons.