Tour Day 2013 Sneak Peek

The seventh 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. While we won’t be announcing the full list of events until September, here is a sneak peek that will have you wishing you could be several places at once.  

The Little-Known Public Spaces of Isamu Noguchi: Detroit’s Hart Plaza

by Alexandra Kirby

While Japanese-American sculptor Isamu Noguchi (1904–1988) is well known for his abstract sculptural work, much of which is housed at the Isamu Noguchi Museum, his spatial designs have largely been forgotten – either due to never coming to fruition or because a majority are hidden behind private gates. Noguchi’s imaginative spaces vary from playgrounds to suburban corporate courtyards, such as the Connecticut General Life Insurance Company (now CIGNA) campus in Bloomfield, CT. His early spatial designs included a handful of unrealized commissions for the City of New York (many plans are cast in bronze at the museum), and numerous east coast projects with SOM architect Gordon Bunshaft including the sunken gardens at Chase Manhattan Plaza and Yale’s Beineke Library.

Neutra’s Visitor Center and the Genius Loci of Gettysburg

by Ted Cleary, ASLA

JULY of 1863: following earlier Confederate victories that spring, Robert E. Lee has pushed northward into Pennsylvania.  His Army of Northern Virginia bumps up against Union troops in the small town of Gettysburg, and skirmishes escalate.  By the early afternoon of July third, two days of intense fighting has built to a climactic showdown, when Lee sends in a 12,000 troop offensive to cut the North’s Army of the Potomac’s flanks in half.  After launching the largest artillery barrage the western hemisphere has ever seen to soften Union defenses, the cannons’ acrid smoke and thunderous noise, heard as far as forty miles away in Harrisburg, ceases from both sides.

Summer Modern Get-A-Ways

Summer solstice is here, and our afternoon daydreams are filled with wanderlust. One can quiet those thoughts of beautiful buildings and expansive landscapes with an overnight stay in a modern home. There are now many creative opportunities, offered by websites like Airbnb and FlipKey, that allow home owners access to vacation and rental markets, along with providing travelers unique home stays both near and far. Here are some of our favorite offerings, a few classic, and those surely not-to-be missed.


Dallas Statler Hilton

On Saturday, April 27, the North Texas chapter of Docomomo US (Docomomo US NTX) and Preservation Dallas conducted two tours of the historic Statler Hilton Hotel and the adjacent Dallas Public Library, both located in downtown Dallas. Over 100 modern enthusiasts joined the tours, which included the public areas of both buildings as well as the room floors of the hotel.




Living Modern in Wallingford, Pennsylvania

The eye-catching cover of the Atomic Ranch Summer 2013 Issue offers an inviting backyard view of a home custom-built in 1960 in a wooded area of Wallingford Pennsylvania, just outside of Philadelphia. Following this exciting feature, Docomomo US sat down with Bobbie Ann Tilkens-Fisher, current owner of the home and founding board member of the Docomomo US/Greater Philadelphia Chapter – two important adventures and contributions that she has shared with her husband, Matthew Fisher. Having purchased the home from the original owners in 2010, Bobbie shares with us insight about modern activity in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania winters, and their close interaction with architect Irwin Stein as they maintain and enjoy the property for years to come.

Image (left): The back of the home circa 1960 before balcony was enclosed and side patio dug out.

Century 21 Dome in San Jose Threatened by New Development

Docomomo US/Noca is currently advocating for the preservation of a mid-century movie theater in San Jose, California. The Century 21 Theater, located at 3161 Olsen Drive in San Jose, was constructed in 1963 and opened in 1964. The theater was designed by Bay Area architect Vincent G. Raney with a futuristic dome shape. The Century 21 Theatre in San Jose was one of the first venues built specifically for Cinerama and was the first Century dome theater to be constructed in what would become a chain, ultimately expanding to Southern California, Salt Lake City, and Seattle. Many dome theaters in the chain have already been demolished.

Welcome Docomomo US SoCal

After years of hopeful deliberation, a Southern California chapter of Docomomo US is finally taking off. A small organizational committee worked together to establish the mission and geographic scope of this chapter, which will cover the entire Southern California region: from Santa Barbara to San Diego and everything in between. Working with local preservation organizations throughout the vast region, Docomomo US/SoCal hopes to assist with advocacy efforts and increase awareness of Modern resources and regional movements.

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.

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