Recent updates

Docomomo US Strategic Plan
by info, posted on Thursday, September 18, 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 Friday, September 12, 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

Destination Unite d'Habitation
by info, posted on Thursday, July 17, 2014

Text and Photos By Jessica Smith

Visiting a public housing site isn't usually on my bucket list of travel destinations, but most public housing sites aren't designed by Le Corbusier. This summer I kicked off the season with a little trip to Marseilles, the Mediterranean port situated in the south of France. Known for its diverse and vibrant culture with miles of beaches, it is also home to Le Corbusier’s famous Unite d’Habitation, 1952. Even though I am a new modern enthusiast, I did not want to waste a perfect opportunity to view firsthand one of the few public housing sites that is not only beloved by the architect or academic but also by the average citizen.

Tour Day 2014 Sneak Peek
by info, posted on Thursday, July 17, 2014

The eighth 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.

Save the SMB Streamline Moderne
by info, posted on Thursday, July 17, 2014
Wurdeman & Becket’s 1938 Streamline Moderne commercial building in West Hollywood, California is currently threatened with demolition in order to make way for a large-scale mixed use development. Located at 9080 Santa Monica Blvd in the Melrose Triangle (at the border with Beverly Hills, in West Hollywood’s Design District), it sits on land that the large development firm The Charles Company hopes to finally be able to complete its Melrose Triangle development plan; a plan that was first proposed over 11 years ago.
 
In 1938 Dr. Eugene C Jones hired the team who had recently designed the Pan-Pacific Auditorium to re-design his 1928 building. Wurdeman & Becket redesigned the entire façade, interior, and a 20-25 foot addition to the building’s eastside. Dr. Jones’ Dog and Cat Hospital was the first small animal hospital in LA County and was known as the “veterinarian to the stars” because of his movie star clientele.
 
Photo (left): Wurdeman & Becket, Bruce Becket Archives
Preserving the Miami Marine Stadium (1962-64): Tropical Brutalism, Society of Leisure, and Ethnic Identity
by info, posted on Thursday, July 17, 2014

By Jean-Francois Lejeune

Beginning in the 1930s in Southern Europe and spreading later in Latin America, a series of sport facilities were built in which the plastic and structural qualities of poured-in-place concrete were exploited to great visual and functional effect by architects like Pier Luigi Nervi (Florence Stadium, 1929-32; Palazzo dello Sport in Rome, 1958-59), Eduardo Torroja (Hippodrome of the Zarzuela, Madrid, 1932-33), or Carlos Raúl Villanueva (University Stadium, Caracas, 1949-52). All these buildings were part of a heroic period in the development of a Latin/Mediterranean approach and plastic understanding of concrete, which contrasted with the rationalist canons of the International Style. Pier Luigi Nervi’s affirmation that every concrete structure constitutes “an organism within which all internal constraints are propagated and transmitted from a nervure to another” (1) is not without paralleling the overall structure of the human body. Many of the structures mentioned above were indeed characterized by long-span cantilevered roofs whose expression of internal forces cannot be dissociated from the athlete’s muscles in tension.

The Fabulous Forum: Successful Preservation of a Historic Sports Arena
by info, posted on Thursday, July 17, 2014
By Christine Lazzaretto
 
Located in Inglewood, CA, the Forum opened with great fanfare in 1967 as the home to Los Angeles’ newest sports franchises: the Lakers (basketball) and Kings (hockey). When the Forum opened in the late 1960s, it had an immediate and significant impact on the cultural landscape of Southern California. To the City of Inglewood, the Forum was an important part of the local economy and inextricably linked with the City’s identity – Inglewood became known as the “City of Champions” due primarily to the success of the Lakers. In 1999, the Lakers and Kings relocated to the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles – a move that was devastating to the City of Inglewood – and the Forum was sold to a local church. The Forum was underutilized, in disrepair, and faced possible demolition when it was purchased by the Madison Square Garden Company (MSG) in 2012. 
The University of Illinois’ State Farm Center: The Renovation of a Mid-Century “Flying Saucer”
by info, posted on Thursday, July 17, 2014
By Lisa Napoles
 
One element of the dialogue that arose from the campaign to save the former Prentice Women’s Hospital designed by Bertrand Goldberg focused on the feasibility of repairing and preserving thin shell concrete structures. Thin shell concrete is costly and complicated to maintain, and, as in the case of Prentice, designs that are highly specific to the building’s original function can present challenges to adaptive re-use.
 
Photo (left): State Farm Center (formerly University of Illinois Assembly Hall), Harrison & Abramovitz, architects, 1957-1963. Photo credit: Creative Commons
Modern League Takes off to New Haven
by Liz Waytkus, posted on Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Come explore the modern mecca of New Haven, CT with Docomomo US' young professional group the Modern League. This all day tour will include an extensive walking tour of modern architecture buildings by Paul Rudolph, Louis Kahn, Charles Moore, Cesar Pelli and an interior tour of Eero Saarinen's Ingalls Hockey Rink with addition by successor firm Kevin Roche John Dinkeloo and Associates. The day will end with New Haven's famous pizza. Register today!

SarasotaMOD
by Liz Waytkus, posted on Thursday, June 19, 2014

"The Sarasota Architectural Foundation is pleased to announce SarasotaMOD Week[end], from October 9-12. This four-day architectural festival takes place in Sarasota, a culturally sophisticated community located on the gleaming Gulf of Mexico. The event includes lectures and presentations by leading modernist architects, including Lawrence Scarpa, Tim Seibert, and Carl Abbott. Presenters also include architect John Howey, author of The Sarasota School of Architecture: 1941-1966; and architect Joe King, the co-author of Paul Rudolph: The Florida Houses. Author, critic and filmmaker Alastair Gordon, journalist Harold Bubil, and Ringling College of Art+Design professor Christopher Wilson will also lend their insights. Guided bus, boat and walking tours will explore Sarasota’s mid-century legacy by land and sea. Many festival gatherings will take place in acclaimed modernist structures. 

In Search of New Jersey Modernism: A Survey of Progressive Architecture 1944-1970
by info, posted on Thursday, June 19, 2014
By Marlana Moore
 
New Jersey is a state not often renowned for its beauty, elegance and innovation, especially in context to its postwar suburban development. My internship for Docomomo US New York/Tristate took me through twenty-five years of the periodical Progressive Architecture in search of New Jersey modernism. Progressive Architecture was a national publication active in the heyday of modernism, from the 1940s – 1980s which was meant to showcase innovative buildings, trends, methods and practices occurring in the field of architecture. The internship program I participated in, part of the Rutgers University Department of Art History, seeks to identify and document modernist architecture in New Jersey. The sites I found have been added to a growing database of buildings, sites and architects who were active in New Jersey.
Mellon Square: Pittsburgh's Seminal Modernist Park
by info, posted on Thursday, June 19, 2014
By Susan Rademacher, Parks Curator
Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy
 
The rededication of Mellon Square on May 29, 2014 marked the celebration of a $10 million project by the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy to restore a celebrated, but long-neglected, Modernist landscape. Hailed as a masterwork when it originally opened in 1955, Mellon Square was the first modern garden plaza built atop a parking garage, and a forerunner of green roof design. Today it is once again an oasis of beauty in the city’s urban center.
Metabolist Design: The Nakagin Capsule Tower, Japan
by info, posted on Thursday, May 15, 2014

Text and Images by Jessica Baldwin

Today preservation efforts in the United States and all over the world are more and more focused on post-war architecture. In Japan, rapid development and the ever rising cost of real estate leaves much of post war architecture at risk. The Nakagin Capsule Tower, arguably one of the most iconic and acknowledged pieces of architecture in the World, stands as a statement to post-war architecture and urban development. 

Learning from Prentice
by info, posted on Monday, May 19, 2014

Text by Chris Enck
Images courtesy of the Save Prentice Coalition

As the last of Bertrand Goldberg’s former Prentice Hospital is reduced to rubble, a long and often politically charged chapter in Chicago preservation history draws to a close. While the iconic concrete structure with its oval windows and cantilevered clover-leaf wings perched above a Miesian base will be gone, the legacy of the “Save Prentice” campaign can serve as a model for future advocacy efforts.   

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