The long-awaited greater Washington, DC, chapter has finally taken flight. The chapter has been meeting monthly for the past year and now has over 50 members. Docomomo US/DC is dedicated to increasing public awareness, appreciation and protection of Modern architecture, landscapes, neighborhoods and sites in Washington D.C. and surrounding areas in Maryland and Virginia.
Photo (left): July Chapter meeting attendees in front of the Capitol Skyline Hotel designed by Morris Lapidus, 1961. Photo Credit: Colin MacKillop
Images and Text by Inge S. Horton
While enjoying lavishly illustrated books on Modern architectural history, I am troubled by the frequent omission of women architects. With one or two exceptions, women’s contributions to the modern movement in Northern California are ignored; however, I know from my research that there were indeed female practitioners of Modernism deserving recognition. I would like to draw attention to a few examples of the challenging careers and work of Northern California women architects in Modernism to illustrate that in spite of the press neglecting them during their lifetime as their rare mention in current publications, they existed and are a meaningful part of our history.
By Jane King Hession
Long before she became an architect, a Fellow in the American Institute of Architects (AIA), and the first (and only) woman to receive AIA Minnesota’s Gold Medal, Elizabeth “Lisl” Scheu Close was deeply immersed in architecture. In 1912, the year of her birth, her parents commissioned architect Adolf Loos to design a residence in Vienna, Austria. Not only is the radically modern Scheu House significant in the annals of architectural history, it played a major role in determining Lisl’s future profession and shaping her architectural aesthetic.
Photo (left): The Hendrik and Marri Oskam House, 1963, Edina, Minnesota. Photo credit:© William B. Olexy, Modern House Productions
The eighth annual Docomomo US Tour Day event is just a few months away and as usual is filled with unique and exclusive events looking at important examples of modern architecture, sites, interiors and landscapes all across the country.
Text and Photos By Jessica Smith
Visiting a public housing site isn't usually on my bucket list of travel destinations, but most public housing sites aren't designed by Le Corbusier. This summer I kicked off the season with a little trip to Marseilles, the Mediterranean port situated in the south of France. Known for its diverse and vibrant culture with miles of beaches, it is also home to Le Corbusier’s famous Unite d’Habitation, 1952. Even though I am a new modern enthusiast, I did not want to waste a perfect opportunity to view firsthand one of the few public housing sites that is not only beloved by the architect or academic but also by the average citizen.
By Jean-Francois Lejeune
Beginning in the 1930s in Southern Europe and spreading later in Latin America, a series of sport facilities were built in which the plastic and structural qualities of poured-in-place concrete were exploited to great visual and functional effect by architects like Pier Luigi Nervi (Florence Stadium, 1929-32; Palazzo dello Sport in Rome, 1958-59), Eduardo Torroja (Hippodrome of the Zarzuela, Madrid, 1932-33), or Carlos Raúl Villanueva (University Stadium, Caracas, 1949-52). All these buildings were part of a heroic period in the development of a Latin/Mediterranean approach and plastic understanding of concrete, which contrasted with the rationalist canons of the International Style. Pier Luigi Nervi’s affirmation that every concrete structure constitutes “an organism within which all internal constraints are propagated and transmitted from a nervure to another” (1) is not without paralleling the overall structure of the human body. Many of the structures mentioned above were indeed characterized by long-span cantilevered roofs whose expression of internal forces cannot be dissociated from the athlete’s muscles in tension.