Recent updates

Portland’s Epidemic of Teardowns
by Liz Waytkus, posted on Friday, December 19, 2014

By: Liz Waytkus

Real estate in Portland, Oregon, like most places in the country, is at a premium right now. While good for sellers it has created a reverse incentive in Portland for tearing down older modest homes and maximizing lot coverage. As hundreds of these homes come down one by one, thanks to a hot real estate market and a fortuitous demolition loophole, neighbors and neighborhood associations are stepping in to save as much as they can, rallying to close the loophole and preserve each neighborhood’s character and heritage.

NOLA World Trade Center Update
by Liz Waytkus, posted on Friday, December 19, 2014

By Keli Rylance

After previous efforts for redevelopment and a series of talks failed earlier this year, a five-member selection committee representing the city has reviewed qualifications from 11 potential developers and narrowed the field to five. At stake is Edward Durell Stone’s 33-story monument to the city’s foreign commerce, the World Trade Center of New Orleans. Begun in 1959 and partially occupied by 1966, the NRHP-listed building has been vacant since 2010.
Docomomo US: 2014 in Images
by info, posted on Friday, December 19, 2014

As 2014 comes to a close, we've compiled all of our favorite images into one amazing slideshow. From the inaugural Modernism in America Awards to the National Symposium, Tour Day and other events around the country, these images showcase the active participation of our members as we continue to advocate for Modern architecture. 

Ontario Place, Toronto
by info, posted on Tuesday, November 18, 2014
By: James Ashby and Michael McClelland
All Images courtesy of Zeidler Partnership Architects
 

Designed as an inclusive space for public entertainment, education, culture and recreation, Ontario Place is an internationally renowned, urban waterfront park in Toronto. With its integrated environment of parkland, lagoons and megastructures, Ontario Place crystallized avant-garde ideas in architecture and urbanism of the 1960s. Partially closed since 2012, the entire park will soon be the site of a major rehabilitation project. In this context, it has recently been officially recognized as a cultural heritage landscape of provincial significance.

 

Tour Day 2014 Recap
by info, posted on Monday, December 1, 2014
Docomomo US' Tour Day 2014 proved to be a tour de force - come rain or shine. More than 1,000 participants across the nation laced up their walking shoes and went on a tour in 31 cities across 19 states making this the most successful event to date.The tours not only provided participants with the chance to see unique modern architecture in their back yard, but generated excitement around the modern architecture that has played a significant role in shaping the community. Mark your calendars for Tour Day 2015 scheduled for October 10, 2015.
 
 
 

 

 

Docomomo US Announces 2015 Modernism in America Awards
by Liz Waytkus, posted on Thursday, November 13, 2014

Following the success of its inaugural Modernism in America Awards program in 2014, Docomomo US now invites submissions for the 2015 Modernism in America Awards. Awards will be presented in the following categories: Design, Inventory/Survey, and Advocacy. The 2015 Design awards will be given out in the areas of Residential, Commercial and Institutional or Civic architecture.

Holiday Book List 2014
by Liz Waytkus, posted on Thursday, November 13, 2014
Docomomo US is pleased to present the fourth annual Docomomo US Holiday Book List. This year we are featuring 28 of our favorite books including a number that were just recently published. As we begin to catch up on all this reading, we hope you bookmark this list and return here throughout 2015 for expanded reviews. And when you decide to purchase one of these books through the links below, every purchase includes a small donation to Docomomo US, via our partnership with Amazon Associates. Additionally you can make sure EVERY purchase includes a donation to Docomomo US by using http://smile.amazon.com/ and then choosing Docomomo US as your chartiable organization.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Documenting Buffalo's Modernism
by info, posted on Thursday, October 16, 2014

By Barbara Campagna

Buffalo has long been known as the home of iconic works of architecture by H. H. Richardson, Louis Sullivan and Frank Lloyd Wright. But Buffalo’s architectural legacy did not end with the demolition of Wright’s ill-fated Larkin Administration Building in 1950. It has an incredibly rich modernist heritage, and some of that heritage is now under siege. As a way to begin to counteract misconceptions about Buffalo’s modernism and bring awareness to the rich sites that dot Western New York, I taught a graduate seminar, “Preserving Modern Heritage,” last spring in the University at Buffalo School of Architecture & Planning. The students’ semester long project was to choose a Buffalo Modern and document it for the Docomomo US Registry. Until this year, only two buildings in Buffalo were listed in the Registry, and one of those had been demolished in 1950! (The New York Central Terminal Railroad Station, an Art Deco masterpiece from 1929 and Wright’s 1906 Larkin Administration Building, demolished 1950, were the only two Buffalo buildings listed.) Seven modern sites were ultimately listed as part of the class, with several more in the wings for later this year.

Photo (above): Larkin Administration Building

Following Function: Putting the Industrial Buildings that Inspired the Modernist Movement Back to Work
by info, posted on Thursday, October 16, 2014

By Miriam Kelly

While many modernist buildings are celebrated, the industrial buildings that inspired the modernist movement are less well known. In the shift to the post-industrial, these important buildings face challenges in common with many of America’s redundant industrial sites. This article considers three examples featured in Le Corbusier’s Vers une Architecture, highlighting their importance to the early modernists, how their significance is understood today and the contemporary reuse models that could help secure their future.

Photo (Left): Sculptural cylinders of the Marine ‘A’ Grain Elevator (1925) in Buffalo (Photo Credit: Miriam Kelly, 2013)

Gdynia, Poland 1933 Historic Marine Station
by info, posted on Thursday, October 16, 2014

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 info, posted on Thursday, October 16, 2014

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!
by Liz Waytkus, posted on Thursday, October 16, 2014

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
by info, posted on Wednesday, September 24, 2014

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 info, posted on Friday, September 19, 2014

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 info, posted on Thursday, September 18, 2014

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.  

 

 

Touring Modern New Haven
by Liz Waytkus, posted on Thursday, August 14, 2014
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.
"A New Outlook" Baldwin Kingrey of Chicago
by info, posted on Friday, August 15, 2014

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

Docomomo US/DC Takes Off
by info, posted on Monday, October 6, 2014

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
by info, posted on Monday, August 18, 2014

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 info, posted on Thursday, August 14, 2014

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

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