NEWSLETTER

Gdynia, Poland 1933 Historic Marine Station

By Robert Hirsch

The origins of the Port
With a population of a quarter of a million, Gdynia is the twelfth largest city in Poland and home to one of several Polish ports on the Baltic Sea. Established after World War I, the city is a consequence of the then political and economic situation. Having regained its independence as a result of World War I, Poland had been given a short stretch of the Baltic Sea coast. With no seaports along the Polish coastline, the state authorities decided to build one. In 1920 a site was designated, not far from the small village of Gdynia, followed by the Polish Parliament’s resolution in 1922 to build the port. Divided into several construction stages, the modern port was ready in the late 1930s. The original small village had turned into a city. Gdynia was growing fast and in 1939 reached a population of 120,000. As it is often said, Gdynia was “built at American speed”.

Plant No. 1: The 'Birthplace of IBM' 100 Years Later

By Julia Walker

The architecture of IBM has been enjoying a moment of high visibility. With attention trained on the preservation of Philip Johnson’s New York State Pavilion for the 1964 World’s Fair in Flushing Meadows, Queens has come a resurgence of interest in Eero Saarinen and Charles Eames’s neighboring IBM Pavilion, the multimedia “information machine” that seems in retrospect to have been 50 years ahead of its time. Alongside the ongoing popularity of this monument, explorations of the company’s aesthetic history, such as John Harwood’s recent book The Interface: IBM and the Transformation of Corporate Design, 1945-1976 and the interactive exhibition “Think,” held at Lincoln Center in honor of IBM’s centennial in 2011, have helped solidify IBM’s image of as an early adopter of digital spectacle. Yet before IBM became an information machine, it operated out of its modest first home, the site called simply “Plant No. 1” in Endicott, NY. It was in Endicott that Thomas J. Watson, Sr., the chairman and CEO of International Business Machines from 1914 to his death in 1956, attempted to define the architectural image of such a business, combining the hand labor of manufacturing with the intellectual work of engineering.

October is Membership Month!

While it might be hard to remember what the preservation field was like twenty years ago, our grassroots efforts have brought the preservation of Modern architecture into mainstream discussions. Back then, many would have called this architecture ugly, now it is featured on the front page of newspapers and in major architecture, travel and fashion magazines. These achievements have been made by the dedication of people such as yourself and our growing network of professionals, institutions, businesses and individuals. As we get ready to celebrate our 20th anniversary, renew your membership today and support our unified voice for Modern preservation.

Docomomo US Strategic Plan

In the weeks and months ahead, the Docomomo US Board of Directors and staff will engage in a series of fact-finding and research efforts to support this internal strategic plan. The first of these efforts includes a series of peer-to-peer discussions with like-minded preservation and cultural resource organizations. Docomomo US graciously thanks the Peter H Brink Leadership Fund and the National Trust for Historic Preservation, who administers the grant, for making these discussions possible. Additional research will include a membership survey to be circulated in the coming weeks.

Powerhouse: Marcel Breuer at Grand Coulee

By: Charlene Roise, President, Hess, Roise and Company, Historical Consultants, Minneapolis MN

Marcel Breuer and Associates had a unique opportunity in the 1960s when hired by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation to design the Third Powerplant at Grand Coulee, a massive irrigation and hydroelectric project straddling the Columbia River near Spokane, Washington. The resulting structure is a significant design statement of the era, admirably displaying both the solid strength of reinforced concrete and the expressive forms that it can produce.

 

 

 

 

Chicago or Bust!

By Jessica Smith

This past June, the Docomomo US office traveled to Chicago for the 2014 AIA National Convention. Our time there yielded numerous conversations about the impact of the loss of Prentice Women’s Hospital, what's worth saving today, and the role that Docomomo US is playing in current efforts to save significant modern architecture. We rounded out our time with a heartbreaking visit to the demolition site of Prentice, and toured Chicago's finest architecture that, of course, included two Mies masterpieces, Crown Hall and Farnsworth House.  

 

 

"A New Outlook" Baldwin Kingrey of Chicago

By Lisa Napoles

The emergence of the Second Chicago School of architecture following the end of World War II brought together a community that shared an enthusiasm and a vision for new design idioms. One of the magnets that drew members of this community together was the Baldwin Kingrey furniture store, named for partners Kitty Baldwin Weese, wife of architect Harry Weese, and Jody Kingrey Albergo. While they were neither architects nor designers themselves, together they promoted the Modernist aesthetic in Chicago, and by educating influential interior designers, architects, and consumers alike, popularized designs and designers now considered modern icons.

Photo (right):  Kitty Baldwin Weese and Jody Kingrey Albergo at Albergo's wedding, 1951 Photo credit: Baldwin Kingrey: Midcentury Modern in Chicago: 1947-1957

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.

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