NEWSLETTER

Touring Modern New Haven

By Tim Hayduk and Liz Waytkus
 
On Saturday, July 19th, Docomomo US' young professional group, the Modern League, joined tour guides Liz Waytkus and Tim Hayduk on a guided trip through downtown New Haven in search of Eero Saarinen, Louis Kahn, Kevin Roche, Gordon Bunshaft, Paul Rudolph and others. The idea for the tour developed from a conversation between Liz and Tim about their love for this small New England city that became host to a refreshing number of post-WWII modern buildings. Modernism was the draw for both guides – Liz came to New Haven for higher education and to live amongst the modern landmarks while Tim, born in New Haven and  grew up in rural Bethany found delight, inspiration and escape on the sidewalks and parking decks of New Haven. They wanted to share this treasure trove of modern buildings with Modern League members both old and new.

Docomomo US/DC Takes Off

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

Daring to Design Modern: Women Architects of Northern California

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.

Elizabeth "Lisl" Scheu Close, FAIA

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

Tour Day 2014 Sneak Peek

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.

Destination Unite d'Habitation

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.

Save the SMB Streamline Moderne

Wurdeman & Becket’s 1938 Streamline Moderne commercial building in West Hollywood, California is currently threatened with demolition in order to make way for a large-scale mixed use development. Located at 9080 Santa Monica Blvd in the Melrose Triangle (at the border with Beverly Hills, in West Hollywood’s Design District), it sits on land that the large development firm The Charles Company hopes to finally be able to complete its Melrose Triangle development plan; a plan that was first proposed over 11 years ago.
 
In 1938 Dr. Eugene C Jones hired the team who had recently designed the Pan-Pacific Auditorium to re-design his 1928 building. Wurdeman & Becket redesigned the entire façade, interior, and a 20-25 foot addition to the building’s eastside. Dr. Jones’ Dog and Cat Hospital was the first small animal hospital in LA County and was known as the “veterinarian to the stars” because of his movie star clientele.
 
Photo (left): Wurdeman & Becket, Bruce Becket Archives

Preserving the Miami Marine Stadium (1962-64): Tropical Brutalism, Society of Leisure, and Ethnic Identity

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.

The Fabulous Forum: Successful Preservation of a Historic Sports Arena

By Christine Lazzaretto
 
Located in Inglewood, CA, the Forum opened with great fanfare in 1967 as the home to Los Angeles’ newest sports franchises: the Lakers (basketball) and Kings (hockey). When the Forum opened in the late 1960s, it had an immediate and significant impact on the cultural landscape of Southern California. To the City of Inglewood, the Forum was an important part of the local economy and inextricably linked with the City’s identity – Inglewood became known as the “City of Champions” due primarily to the success of the Lakers. In 1999, the Lakers and Kings relocated to the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles – a move that was devastating to the City of Inglewood – and the Forum was sold to a local church. The Forum was underutilized, in disrepair, and faced possible demolition when it was purchased by the Madison Square Garden Company (MSG) in 2012. 

The University of Illinois’ State Farm Center: The Renovation of a Mid-Century “Flying Saucer”

By Lisa Napoles
 
One element of the dialogue that arose from the campaign to save the former Prentice Women’s Hospital designed by Bertrand Goldberg focused on the feasibility of repairing and preserving thin shell concrete structures. Thin shell concrete is costly and complicated to maintain, and, as in the case of Prentice, designs that are highly specific to the building’s original function can present challenges to adaptive re-use.
 
Photo (left): State Farm Center (formerly University of Illinois Assembly Hall), Harrison & Abramovitz, architects, 1957-1963. Photo credit: Creative Commons
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