Saturday, October 29, 2011

Camouflage & the National Parks

From Linda Flint McClelland, Building the National Parks: Historic Landscape Design and Construction. Baltimore MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1998, pp. 459-460—
With the advent of aviation defense, camouflage emerged as a new field of design in World War II—one that was well suited to the skills and knowledge of landscape architects, many of whom had worked in the woods andhad spent almost a decade designing constructed improvements that blended into the natural scenery of state and national parks… Like the design of natural parks, the success of camouflage relied heavily upon site selection, adherence to principles of design which concealed form and detail, and the selection of appropriate materials often including natural vegetation. Camouflage required that development conform to the general character of the site and fit into the immediate surroundings, thereby following the natural contours of the land and avoiding raw scars of cuts and fills…
Camouflage research and development drew upon the skills and experience of several former park designers. At the offices of the Engineering Board of the Corps of Engineers at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, George L. Nason became the chief of the camouflage design office. His varied staff of designers—architects, landscape architects, illustrators, engineers, model makers, and site designers—included V[ivian] Roswell Ludgate, who had been the regional landscape architect for the National Park Service's Eastern Region, and Merel S. Sager, who had been a resident landscape architect for the Western Region since the late 1920s. Former Massachusetts state park inspector Edward B. Ballard served as an Air Corps for camouflage research at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, and regional landscape architect Norman T. Newton served as an intelligence and camouflage officer for the Air Corps at Pendleton Field, Oregon.