NEWSLETTER

Announcing the 2015 Modernism in America Awards Winners

Docomomo US has the pleasure to announce eleven selected winners of the 2015 Modernism in America Award program. These exceptional projects are emblematic of the work going on all over the country and represent buildings and building typologies of postwar society in the United States.

 

Brutalism in Buenos Aires

By Jessica Smith

This past March I journeyed down south of the border to Buenos Aires, Argentina with classmates from Pratt Institute's Historic Preservation program. Like many South American countries, colonial and traditional architecture reigns supreme in Argentina - especially in Buenos Aires. However, it was the brutalist architecture by renowned architect Corindo Testa, and the stark contrast to the surrounding architecture that his buildings incite that I found most interesting.

Preservation and the Future of Modern Architecture in Mexico and Beyond

By Angelica Martinez

Latin America in Construction: Architecture 1955-1980 - the current architectural exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City plays a significant preservation role by gathering images of significant modern buildings that need to be known for their contribution to the historic development of Latin America. However, in Mexico many modern buildings have been neglected for years or no longer exist. The question, then, is: what is the future of modern architecture in Mexico?

Modernism in Quito, Ecuador: 1955-1980

By Glenda Puente

In an effort to promote appreciation towards an unjustifiably unknown heritage, both locally and internationally, this essay will depict the economic, political and cultural context in which mid-century modern architecture took place in Ecuador with a focus on work in Quito, the capital city. The selection of work – see accompanying slide show - excludes single family housing and instead highlights medium and large scale projects built between 1955 and 1980, the same timeframe as that of the current exhibit on Latin American Architecture at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York.

Columbus Update: Civic Inspiration at the Right Scale

By Richard McCoy

The last time Docomomo US checked in on Columbus, Indiana, T. Kelly Wilson gave us an update on the establishment of the Indiana University Center for Art+Design (IUCA+D) and his efforts to leverage the design heritage and seven modern National Historic Landmarks in the community to create a ‘laboratory for design’ and to teach a new generation of students how to work at the intersection of art and design in the middle of America -- “Notes on Columbus, Indiana” (August 2013 Newsletter). 

Photo (left): Entrance to Columbus City Hall. Photo Courtesy Hadley Fruits

Farewell to Jordan Gruzen

Jordan Gruzen, one of New York's most prolific architects, passed away after a battle with cancer on January 27 at the age of 80. Part of a father/son practice that began in the 1930s and became know for its civic center projects such as 1 Police Plaza, Chatham Terrace towers, and Chatham Green. Gruzen's death also brought to an end his long-standing partnership with Peter Samton who said, "Jordan died very much as he lived. The ultimate optimist." Read the full New York Times obituary here. 

Photo (left): The Jersey Journal

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Watergate: Washington D.C.'s Town within a City

"We wanted to do something different"


2015 marks the 50th anniversary of a landmark in urban planning: Washington, DC’s town within a city known as the Watergate.

By Gary Parker

Too big. Too tall. Too modern. Too different. 

Everything about the Watergate, the town within a city on the banks of the Potomac, was revolutionary. Hard to imagine now, when the brass ring of urban building is the grand mixed-use project (like the dazzling CityCenterDC – a 21st-century version of the Watergate). 

Berkeley Art Museum Vacates Brutalist Building

By Lacey Bubnash

On December 21, 2014, the Berkeley Art Museum1permanently closed its iconic Modern building in preparation for a move to a nearby new building in 2016. Considered by many to be the Bay Area’s most remarkable example of Brutalism, the structure was known for its unfinished concrete forms and cantilevered interior galleries that radiate out around a large, sky lit atrium. Although the building is a local landmark and listed on the National Register, its intricate concrete forms pose seismic safety risks, leaving a future for the building unclear.

Photo (left): View of skylights over atrium. Credit: Mary Brown, DOCOMOMO US/NOCA.

Cuba on the Rise

Cuba is a hot topic following the announcement by President Obama of restored diplomatic relations and relaxed travel restrictions between the U.S. and Cuba. Within the world of architecture, the most important development has been the passing of esteemed architect Ricardo Porro whose legacy was the creation of Cuba's National Art Schools. Along with these developments, Docomomo US is exploring the possibility an educational tour of Cuba in the Fall of 2015, and there have been a rise in the number of noteworthy articles covering modernism in Cuba.

Photo (left): "Unfinished Spaces" by Alysa Nahmias and Benjamin Murray featured in the Dec. 29, 2014 article of The New York Times

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