Recent updates

Symposium Recap
by info, posted on Thursday, July 2, 2015

Moving History Forward in Riverside, Illinois
by info, posted on Thursday, July 2, 2015

By Michelangelo Sabatino, Photos by Serge Ambrose

Preserving a modernist house can be a challenging process that requires a range of skills: observation, historical research, and sense for design. Equally important is the skill of patience if one hopes to learn to enjoy the process. Unlike a classic automobile that must be returned to its original condition in order to hold its value, the preservation of a modernist house that has undergone inappropriate ‘improvements’ requires a creative approach that combines an understanding of history with an appreciation for the future. In short, one must be able and willing to move history forward.

Capitol Towers: Sacramento's Modernist Gem
by info, posted on Thursday, July 2, 2015

By Flora Chou

Sacramento’s Capitol Towers is a little-known but excellent example of modernist urban housing. Built between 1959 and 1965 as the residential element of Sacramento’s first realized urban redevelopment project, its all-star design team emphasized human-scaled urban living that mixed low-rise garden apartments in a park-like setting with a modern high rise and a public plaza at the heart. The resulting assembly of vertical and horizontal building elements, linked by landscaped spaces and a now-mature tree canopy, created a well-scaled, well-planned, and highly livable community.

The Statler Hotel's Rebirth
by info, posted on Thursday, June 18, 2015
After facing the threat of demolition and an uncertain future, Dallas’ historic Statler Hilton Hotel, will be entering a new chapter in October 2016  as a mixed-use hotel, residential, and retail center. Designed by New York architect William Tabler, the Statler was lauded in 1956 at its opening as “the first and finest hotel of the modern era.” The current owners, Centurion American Development, secured 46.5 million dollars from the city of Dallas and announced in April it would be partnering with Hilton's Curio Collection.
 
Follow the links to read articles from both the Dallas Culture Map and the Dallas Business Journal on the plans surrounding the Statler's transformation.
The Looming Threat to Orange Coast College
by info, posted on Monday, June 29, 2015
A year has passed since the Coast Community College District in Costa Mesa, California announced a new master plan titled “Vision 2020” that threatened buildings designed by Richard Neutra and Robert Alexander and Garrett Eckbo designed landscapes with demolition. A draft Program Environmental Impact Report found that these buildings and landscapes were of historic significance and eligible for designation on the National Register of Historic Places. Docomomo US SoCal and other advocates called for a more environmentally reponsible approach that incorporated these buildings into the master plan instead of replacing them with a "grand lawn." Now the environmental review process is nearing completion and soon a decision will be made whether these significant buildings and landscaped will be saved.
LIVE from Minnesota
by info, posted on Thursday, June 4, 2015

The third annual Docomomo US National Symposium is officially underway! This year's Symposium will be our largest gathering ever with guests joining us from all over the country and the world. Over the next four and a half days, attendees will hear the latest in modern preservation efforts, have the opportunity to experience the unique architecture throughout the state of Minnesota, and enjoy a multifaceted schedule of special events and exclusive tours.

The schedule at a glance is now posted on the symposium website and tickets are available at the door. To see what's taking place each day, follow Docomomo US on Facebook (DOCOMOMO US), Twitter (@docomomo_us), and Instagram (@docomomous) and follow along with the hashtags #ModPrairie and #Doco2015MN.

The International Style in St. Louis Commercial Architecture
by info, posted on Thursday, June 4, 2015

By Michael R. Allen

The influence of the International style on modernist commercial architecture in St. Louis reveals a deep and wide lineage of works, including some recognized even internationally for their genius, while also showing fits of timidity and artistic mediocrity. Generally St. Louis clients favored less stylistically-pronounced building forms, and no local designers were dogmatic adherents to the style. The city’s restrictions on curtain wall construction until 1961 inhibited the development of the style in the city limits, forcing designers to embrace a masonry-bound strain of the International style that emphasized heavy geometry and melded on each temporal end with Art Moderne and New Brutalist movements.
L.A.’s Parker Center: Should Buildings with Difficult Histories be Saved?
by info, posted on Monday, May 18, 2015

By Adrian Scott Fine, Director of Advocacy, Los Angeles Conservancy

Slated for demolition and redevelopment, Parker Center in Downtown Los Angeles and efforts to save it hit a snag in early May but ultimately there may be a resolution in sight. For years there has been a much-debated question of whether or not the building should even be preserved. Now, after nearly six months of efforts to designate the building as a local landmark, a procedural error by the City forces the process to begin again from start. The good news is the City has just introduced a motion to study another preservation alternative that hopefully will find the right balance between preservation and limited demolition of the building. What Parker Center and efforts to save it illustrate is a similar conversation happening in places all over the United States, as aspects of growth and politics come together either for or against preservation. 

A Bitter-Sweet Ending for the Campaign to Save the Lewis & Clark Branch Library
by info, posted on Thursday, May 14, 2015

Update by Lindsey Derrington

Docomomo US Friend Organization Modern STL led the hard-fought campaign to preserve North St. Louis County’s Lewis and Clark Branch Library from 2012 to 2014. The library, designed by Frederick Dunn, FAIA with stunning stained glass windows by nationally-prominent artist Robert Harmon, opened to acclaim in January 1963. Less than fifty years later, however, it was marked for demolition and replacement by the St. Louis County Library Board of Trustees. This was because of its age and in open disregard of its reuse potential, which Modern STL demonstrated through sustained outreach efforts focused on the building’s excellent condition and ideal suitability for a financially-responsible addition to meet SLCL’s stated programmatic needs. Modern STL’s board, members, and partners are the grateful recipients of Docomomo US’ 2015 Modernism in America Awards Citation of Merit for their efforts, but the timing is bittersweet.

Announcing the 2015 Modernism in America Awards Winners
by info, posted on Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Docomomo US has the pleasure to announce eleven selected winners of the 2015 Modernism in America Award program. These exceptional projects are emblematic of the work going on all over the country and represent buildings and building typologies of postwar society in the United States.

 

Brutalism in Buenos Aires
by info, posted on Thursday, April 16, 2015

By Jessica Smith

This past March I journeyed down south of the border to Buenos Aires, Argentina with classmates from Pratt Institute's Historic Preservation program. Like many South American countries, colonial and traditional architecture reigns supreme in Argentina - especially in Buenos Aires. However, it was the brutalist architecture by renowned architect Corindo Testa, and the stark contrast to the surrounding architecture that his buildings incite that I found most interesting.

Preservation and the Future of Modern Architecture in Mexico and Beyond
by info, posted on Thursday, April 16, 2015

By Angelica Martinez

Latin America in Construction: Architecture 1955-1980 - the current architectural exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City plays a significant preservation role by gathering images of significant modern buildings that need to be known for their contribution to the historic development of Latin America. However, in Mexico many modern buildings have been neglected for years or no longer exist. The question, then, is: what is the future of modern architecture in Mexico?

Modernism in Quito, Ecuador: 1955-1980
by info, posted on Thursday, April 16, 2015

By Glenda Puente

In an effort to promote appreciation towards an unjustifiably unknown heritage, both locally and internationally, this essay will depict the economic, political and cultural context in which mid-century modern architecture took place in Ecuador with a focus on work in Quito, the capital city. The selection of work – see accompanying slide show - excludes single family housing and instead highlights medium and large scale projects built between 1955 and 1980, the same timeframe as that of the current exhibit on Latin American Architecture at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York.

Discover Modern Cuba: 2015 Travel Tour
by Liz Waytkus, posted on Monday, April 6, 2015

Modern Cuba: Continuity of Past and Present
October 3, 2015 – October 12, 2015
Havana, Cuba - Hotel Capri (8 nights)
Tour Leader: Belmont Freeman
Guest: Eduardo Luis Rodríguez 
 
Docomomo US is pleased to announce registration is now open for our educational travel tour of modern architecture in Havana, Cuba. Experience the rich architectural past of this long elusive Caribbean island located just 90 miles south of U.S. soil. Modern Cuba offers a unique travel opportunity in a small group setting featuring access to modern homes and buildings considered off the beaten path or not ordinarily open to the public. 
 
 
 
Columbus Update: Civic Inspiration at the Right Scale
by info, posted on Thursday, March 19, 2015

By Richard McCoy

The last time Docomomo US checked in on Columbus, Indiana, T. Kelly Wilson gave us an update on the establishment of the Indiana University Center for Art+Design (IUCA+D) and his efforts to leverage the design heritage and seven modern National Historic Landmarks in the community to create a ‘laboratory for design’ and to teach a new generation of students how to work at the intersection of art and design in the middle of America -- “Notes on Columbus, Indiana” (August 2013 Newsletter). 

Photo (left): Entrance to Columbus City Hall. Photo Courtesy Hadley Fruits

Docomomo US Video Interview Series: Victoria Young
by info, posted on Thursday, March 19, 2015

To kick off the Docomomo US Video Interview Series, Liz Waytkus, Executive Director of Docomomo US sat down with author and professor Victoria Young to talk about her recent book Saint John's Abbey Church: Marcel Breuer and the Creation of Modern Sacred Space.

Mid-Century Modern Structures: Materials and Preservation 2015 Symposium
posted on Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Image: Priory Chapel of St. Louis Abbey. Photo by Michael Allen, Flickr, March 10, 2015.

The Friends of NCPTT, the World Monument Fund, the American Institute for Architects St. Louis, Washington University in St. Louis, and the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial are partnering for a jointly organized symposium on the preservation of Mid-Century Modern Structures. The meeting will be held at the Drury Plaza Hotel in St. Louis, Missouri, April 14-16, 2015. A public lecture will precede the meeting on Monday evening, April 13 at Washington University in St. Louis.

 

 

 

 

Farewell to Jordan Gruzen
by info, posted on Thursday, February 19, 2015

Jordan Gruzen, one of New York's most prolific architects, passed away after a battle with cancer on January 27 at the age of 80. Part of a father/son practice that began in the 1930s and became know for its civic center projects such as 1 Police Plaza, Chatham Terrace towers, and Chatham Green. Gruzen's death also brought to an end his long-standing partnership with Peter Samton who said, "Jordan died very much as he lived. The ultimate optimist." Read the full New York Times obituary here. 

Photo (left): The Jersey Journal

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Watergate: Washington D.C.'s Town within a City
by info, posted on Thursday, February 26, 2015

"We wanted to do something different"


2015 marks the 50th anniversary of a landmark in urban planning: Washington, DC’s town within a city known as the Watergate.

By Gary Parker

Too big. Too tall. Too modern. Too different. 

Everything about the Watergate, the town within a city on the banks of the Potomac, was revolutionary. Hard to imagine now, when the brass ring of urban building is the grand mixed-use project (like the dazzling CityCenterDC – a 21st-century version of the Watergate). 

Berkeley Art Museum Vacates Brutalist Building
by info, posted on Thursday, February 19, 2015

By Lacey Bubnash

On December 21, 2014, the Berkeley Art Museum1permanently closed its iconic Modern building in preparation for a move to a nearby new building in 2016. Considered by many to be the Bay Area’s most remarkable example of Brutalism, the structure was known for its unfinished concrete forms and cantilevered interior galleries that radiate out around a large, sky lit atrium. Although the building is a local landmark and listed on the National Register, its intricate concrete forms pose seismic safety risks, leaving a future for the building unclear.

Photo (left): View of skylights over atrium. Credit: Mary Brown, DOCOMOMO US/NOCA.

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