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    Beyond Modernism: A question and a challenge

    By Theodore Prudon, FAIA

    The upcoming fourth Docomomo US National Symposium carries the title: Beyond Modernism. This choice of title is a reflection of a discussion that has been taking place in Docomomo US and its various chapters for some time about what constitutes modernism to us and whether there is an approximate end date to what architects, buildings and styles we study and advocate for.

    Postmodern Procedures

    This past December, Princeton University’s School of Architecture hosted a two day and cross generational conference titled “Postmodern Procedures.” The event opened with a keynote address by award winning architect Denise Scott Brown, RIBA, Int. FRIBA and brought together fourteen of architecture’s leading professionals and educators to discuss not only the historical significance of postmodernism but its impacts on architecture today.

    The Atrium Effect

    By Charles Rice

    This article is excerpted from Charles Rice’s newly-published book Interior Urbanism: Architecture, John Portman and Downtown America (Bloomsbury). The book uses Portman’s architecture, and in particular its famous ‘atrium effect’, as a lens through which to reconsider key issues of the 1960s and 70s: the expansion of a commercial imperative in architecture and urban development; growing social and economic instability in cities; and debates about the form and role of public space.

    Brutal/Heroic

    By Mark Pasnik, Michael Kubo, Chris Grimley

    This article is excerpted and adapted from Heroic: Concrete Architecture and the New Boston (The Monacelli Press, 2015) which examines Boston's unparalled concetration of concrete architecture built in the postwar decades, an era that initiated the city's wholesale transformation through powerful and often controversial policies of civic intervention. 

    Pershing Park Update

    By Charles A. Birnbaum, president & CEO of The Cultural Landscape Foundation
     
    The legacy of M. Paul Friedberg’s modernist and postmodernist works of landscape architecture is finite and delicate. Peavey Plaza in Minneapolis, MN, the genesis of Friedberg’s “park plaza” typology, narrowly avoided demolition thanks to a sustained campaign from 2011 to 2013 to save it that drew a national audience (an effort recognized with Docomomo US’ first-ever Advocacy Award of Excellence in 2014 for The Cultural Landscape Foundation, the Preservation Alliance of Minnesota, and Docomomo US/Minnesota).

    St. Augustine By the Sea

    The annual historic preservation “Experts” lecture series, sponsored by the Historic Preservation Program, Department of American Studies, University of Hawai‘i at Manoa; Historic Hawai‘i Foundation and the Friends of ‘Iolani Palace, offers seven free public lectures. This year’s theme explores current issues and opportunities in preserving historic churches and other religious buildings throughout Hawai’i.

    The article below is written in conjunction with the featured lecture, “St. Augustine by the Sea: Preservation and Improvement of a Modernist Site,” by architect Glenn Mason, FAIA whose firm is responsible for the preservation of the building and site and who will be presenting the lecture on March 3rd.

    First Southern Baptist Church of Pearl Harbor

    By Docomomo US / Hawaii Chapter

    Along the freeway headed west towards the Honolulu International Airport, the undulating folded plate roofline of the First Southern Baptist Church of Pearl Harbor appears above a flat sea of houses like an island rising from the ocean. Nestled amidst military housing behind Camp Catlin, the church was originally built in 1961, and over the years it has endured considerable development surrounding its site, numerous congregation turnovers, and an impending loss of its lease.

    Fates vary for Detroit’s Gruen shopping centers

    By Kim Silarski, Docomomo US/Michigan
     
    As many of Detroit’s 1.8 million residents and their employers sprawled away from the city center in the early 1950s, the Motor City’s dominant downtown retailer, family-owned J.L. Hudson Company (known commonly as Hudson’s), did the same, albeit grudgingly. The region’s largest post-war development at the time, the modernist $30 million, two-million-square-foot Northland Center, opened in 1954. It was the brainchild of Austrian émigré architect Victor Gruen (b. 1903, d. 1980), the “father of the shopping mall” who convinced Hudson’s to follow its customers to the suburbs of Detroit, then the nation’s fifth largest city. Northland and its three sister “directional” malls initially thrived and expanded, but all suffered modifications, modernization, and additions that disguised their modernist bones over time.

    REGISTER TODAY: 14th International Docomomo Conference 2016

    Every two years docomomo (the international committee for documentation and conservation of buildings, sites and neighbourhoods of the Modern Movement) organizes an international conference, bringing together docomomo members and friends from its 70 national Working Parties, as an opportunity for in-depth exploration of an important theme or aspect of the Modern Movement.

    Picture: Alberto Pessoa, Pedro Cid, Ruy Athouguia, Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Lisbon, Portugal, 1969. Gardens by Viana Barreto e Ribeiro Telles. © AFCG, Mário de Oliveira, 1969.

    Docomomo US Chapter Updates

    The year 2015 was a full of news worthy events surrounding modern architecture in the United States and abroad and 2016 is already looking to be just as exciting. In addition to the Docomomo US Enews Dispatch and Brief, many of our chapters and friend organizations send out their own newsletters and email updates on the issues affecting the significant modern architecture their neighborhoods and communities.

    To stay informed and in the loop about what is taking place in the Docomomo US network, sign up for one or all of the newsletters below, and don't forget to follow on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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