10 September 1882|
5 June 1962 (aged 79)|
Rodin Museum, Philadelphia
|Projects||Greber Plan (Ottawa)|
Jacques-Henri-Auguste Gréber (10 September 1882 – 5 June 1962) was a French architect specializing in landscape architecture and urban design. He was a strong proponent of the Beaux-Arts style and a contributor to the City Beautiful movement, particularly in Philadelphia and Ottawa.
Early life and education
Gréber was born in Paris, the son of sculptor Henri-Léon Gréber, and attended the École des Beaux-Arts in that city. Following graduation in 1908, he designed many private gardens in the United States. These include Harbor Hill (1910) in Roslyn, Long Island, New York for Clarence Mackay (with architects McKim, Mead & White); and at Lynnewood Hall (1913) in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania for Peter A. B. Widener (with architect Horace Trumbauer).
His greatest private commission was for investment banker Edward T. Stotesbury at Whitemarsh Hall (1916–1921) in Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania (also with Trumbauer). There he created the unsurpassed American example of a French classical garden in the grand manner of André Le Nôtre.
Gréber is best known for the 1917 master plan for the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia; for his work as master architect for the 1937 Paris International Exposition; and for the Greber Plan for Ottawa and the surrounding National Capital Region. The latter, produced between 1937 and 1950 (with an interruption during the Second World War), included expansion of urban parks, a series of parkways, and a greenbelt surrounding the city. The plan incorporated the construction of a national cenotaph and surrounding plaza area.
In anticipation of the 1926 sesquicentennial of the Declaration of Independence, Gréber created a plan for a mall north of Independence Hall in Philadelphia. This included a "Great Marble Court" surrounded on 3 sides by arcades (with each arch representing a U. S. state) and a pavilion at its center to house the Liberty Bell. It was not carried out; Independence Mall was created in the 1950s under a different plan. He also collaborated with fellow French-American architect Paul Cret on Philadelphia's Rodin Museum in 1926. He was not always popular with the press: a Philadelphia newspaper dubbed him "Jack Grabber".
In France, between the world wars, Gréber worked on urban plans in Lille, Belfort, Marseille (1930), Abbeville, and Rouen, Neuilly, Montrouge, among others. But he is not as well-known today in France as he is in North America.
"View to the Museum" (1918). Benjamin Franklin Parkway, looking northwest from 20th Street.
Media related to Category:Jacques Gréber at Wikimedia Commons
- E. Delaire et al. Les architectes élèves de l'école des Beaux-Arts, 1793–1907 noted in James T. Maher, The Twilight of Splendor: Chronicles of the Age of American Palaces 1975:65 note 78.
- "Its unsurpassed French classical gardens" (Maher 1975:65).
- History of Benjamin Franklin Parkway
- 1950 Plan for the National Capital, Ottawa
- Constance M. Greiff, Independence: The Creation of a National Park (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1987), pp. 228, 258.
- Maher 1975:65 mentions Paris, Neuilly, Montrouge, Marseille, Ottawa and Philadelphia.