NEWSLETTER

Melnikov House Update



May 13, 2013: Construction processes are well underway without a halt to the work in sight. | Source: Natalia Melikova
May 13, 2013: Wall of piles in the construction area closest to the Melnikov House is cleary visible, the “dam” is in place. | Source: Natalia Melikova
Neighboring buildings are feeling the construction effects too: a new building built in the 2000s is covered in cracks. | Source: Natalia Melikova
April 22, 2013: Wall of piles already in place which effectively will act as a dam for groundwater. | Source: Anna Medleva's architectural studio "Architectural Policies", D. Nurullin
April 22, 2013: Digging underground has already begun in various places, piles are prepared for the foundations. | Source: Anna Medleva's architectural studio "Architectural Policies", D. Nurullin
April 18, 2013: Karinskaya received a letter from the President's office - Melnikov House issues are Moscow gov's responsibility | Source: Natalia Melikova
April 26, 2013: workers illegally entered Melnikov House territory to set up scaffolding | Source: Natalia Melikova
May 13, 2013: Within the last few weeks, damage to the facade has become even more noticeable, evidence of subsidence | Source: Natalia Melikova
May 13, 2013: Cracks in the foundations are expanding, porch is crumbling | Source: Natalia Melikova
May 13, 2013: Melnikov House is surrounded by new developments | Source: Natalia Melikova
May 13, 2013: “Not in the zone of influence” … Melnikov House & the construction site in one photo. | Source: Natalia Melikova
April 26, 2013: The past two months have demonstrated that the Melnikov House is indeed worthy of world importance. | Source: Natalia Melikova
May 15, 2013: Karinskaya signing the Shchusev State Architecture Museum letter to Sobyanin to save the Melnikov House. | Source: Natalia Melikova

The Southwest Urban Renewal Area in Washington, D.C.

By Richard Longstreth

Though little known nationally, the residential complexes in Washington, D.C.’s Southwest Redevelopment Area in Washington, D.C., collectively constitute one of the finest fully integrated examples of architecture, landscape architecture, and urban design in the North America from the post-World War II era.

Image (left): Tiber Island, 1961-65, Keyes, Lethbridge & Condon, architects. Photo: Richard Longstreth, 1991.

Docomomo US Wraps First National Symposium

By Brittany Reilly
 
Attendees of the conference enjoyed an unforgettable sunset reception on the second evening of the program. Paul Rudolph’s open-air 1952 Sanderling Beach Pavilion, located along the shoreline, offered stunning views toward the Gulf. The breeze and white-sands made it even more enjoyable to discuss the day’s inspiring events and topics over refreshments. Reception sponsored by Guy Peterson OFA and Mary Kenealy Events.
 
Sarasota, Florida became a home-away-from-home in mid-April for Docomomo US chapter leaders, the Docomomo US Board, and our growing and dynamic network of members, professionals, academics, and enthusiasts – proving to us all that, Modern Matters. 
 
 

HemisFair ’68 at Risk

By Kim Barker on behalf of the Docomomo US/MidTexMod Chapter

Changes are planned for San Antonio’s world’s fair site, HemisFair ‘68, and they have fans of modern architecture concerned. Intended to celebrate the city’s 250-anniversary and a confluence of cultures, HemisFair ’68 was a six-month exposition opened by First Lady Ladybird Johnson in April 1968.  Typical of a world’s fair, various states, nations, and corporations built new exhibition halls in the styles of the period, some of which are exceptional examples of modern architecture.  Given San Antonio’s established preservation ethic, they also retained and repurposed some of the nineteenth century residential buildings already on the site before the rest of the neighborhood was sacrificed for fair construction.  HemisFair ’68 attracted 6.3 million visitors but under-utilization since is now prompting redevelopment plans.
 

Docomomo US 2012 Annual Report

 Annual ReportEach year, Docomomo US and our chapters takes some time to look back at our achievements of the previous twelve months and highlight the events and people who continue to work tirelessly to raise the awareness of modern architecture in the United States. Included in the report are summaries from the chapters, contact information as well as the Year in Architecture, a visual archive of the sites we won, the sites we lost and those still threatened.

Updates from the Modern League

Modern LeagueBy Katherine Malishewsky
Image: Modern League organizers (l-r) Eliana Gallego, Julie Rosen, Adam Rubin and Brittany Reilly in the Sackler Wing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art during the second annual Scavenger Hunt

 

The Docomomo US young professional’s initiative, the Modern League, continues to grow and improve since its inception in September of 2012. Working with like-minded professionals in New York, Boston and now Florida, Docomomo US and Modern League organizers recap recent events and initiatives.

The Fight for the Melnikov House

“The Melnikov House has been shouting SOS already for several months, but nobody is listening...” - Ekaterina Karinskaya
The Melnikov House in Moscow is in imminet danger though well-known and highly-praised internationally
In addition to the house, the archives of the Melnikovs (including many paintings by Viktor Melnikov) are at stake
The plaque in front of the house describes it as an “architectural and historical monument” & “protected by the government”
The front facade is steadily sagging & the glass is cracking. The inscription at the top reads, “Konstantin Melnikov, architect”
The physical condition of the Melnikov house was worsened by the demolition of neighboring buildings on Arbat St. in August 2012
A temporary STOP work order is needed to give experts time to reevaluate the construction effects on the Melnikov House
A diagram (modified in red) showing the house surrounded by construction sites, underground garages, and flow of groundwater
The view of the construction site from the roof of the Melnikov House
“If buildings could cry ... the Melnikov House would” - nearby, the source of the threat is visible and audible from the house
1st floor – bathroom: a NEW crack since the beginning of the construction work (photo from March 5, 2013)
1st floor - boy's room: a NEW crack (far left) plus the worsening of previous cracks (photo from March 5, 2013)
3rd floor – studio, a NEW crack with a marker to track its growth (photo from March 5, 2013)
Visitors to the house always come away with a sense of awe. Pictured here, the 3rd floor studio.
Melnikov's granddaughter with N. Vassiliev, X. Vytuleva, F. Scott & 9 students from Columbia University on a visit to the house


The Complexities of Teaching the Preservation of Modern Architecture

By: Theodore Prudon
 
With the gradual and general acceptance, in the US and abroad, that modern heritage like any other heritage is to be preserved, has come the realization that proper professional expertise is needed and to how to best prepare them for that task. Putting definitional or nomenclature issues aside – such as whether we call it preservation or conservation or whether we use modern versus recent past or mid-century – the question of whether the academic curriculum is the same or different and, if not the same as traditional preservation education as existing today, how does it differ. While the scale and ubiquity of modern heritage is often presented as a challenge, it is fundamentally a management challenge and does not require any substantial educational changes. Establishing significance and the related methodologies remain largely unaltered, although scholarship and knowledge that serves as a base will continue to expand as it does for any period.
 
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