Located along one of Rochester’s elegant tree-lined avenues and historic gateways into downtown, the house is a highly visible landmark and an architectural jewel. Built in 1911 for William Drescher, the property originally comprised some 16 acres of gardens, auxiliary buildings, tennis courts, and terraces master planned by noted landscape architect Alling S. DeForest. Much of the estate was subsequently sold to a church, which built a campus of buildings directly east of the residence. The estate landscape was significantly reduced and now totals approximately 3 acres. The site was never appropriately re-planned to accommodate the presence of new neighboring structures, the smaller lot size, and the loss of many landscape features and plantings.
The project was viewed by both the homeowner and the design team as a restoration and rehabilitation endeavor. The client was fully engaged in the process and every effort was made to fully understand the character of the estate as it was originally conceived by DeForest. It was felt that meaningful restoration and/or representation of the site’s historic garden features was truly important. The client wanted the adjacent church buildings screened and the severely reduced property to give the appearance and feeling of the original estate design – a 16 acre garden with strolling paths, axial views, lush plantings, and the centerpiece garden pond.
In 2013 the owner acquired the adjacent house and property, which was originally part of the historic DeForest-designed estate. Bayer Landscape Architecture prepared plans to rejoin the properties back together and re-establish the estate’s historic integrity. The owner plans to extend the use of the second house to local not-for-profits and institutions, allowing visiting dignitaries, lecturers, artists or others to stay on the historic estate and experience the magnificent gardens.
Rochester, New York
2004 - 2016
Historic Research, Master Planning, Regulatory Approvals, Design, Construction Documentation, Construction Administration
2010 Honor Award
American Society of Landscape Architects, New York Upstate Chapter