Recent updates

Austin's historic Rosewood Courts
by Liz Waytkus, posted on Thursday, January 16, 2014

By Fred McGhee

"Live Music Capital of the World," "City of the Violet Crown," "Silicon Hills," and "Bat City" are Austin nicknames known the world over.  Should "New Deal Utopia" be among them?  More specifically, is it appropriate to refer to Austin as a "Public Housing Haven" for its important legacy in this area?  I would argue that it is.

Photo (left): Historic Image Rosewood Courts
 
Small Town In Town: Preserving Public Housing in New York City
posted on Thursday, January 16, 2014

By: Jessica Smith

This fall, as part of the Documentation and Interpretation course in Pratt Institute’s Historic Preservation program, five graduate students (including myself) were given a project that involved researching five of New York’s public housing developments on the Lower East Side. We were each assigned one site that included the Smith Houses, the LaGuardia Houses, the Baruch Houses, the Wald Houses, and Jacob Riis Houses. The project had two objectives: one was to provide research and consultation for the New York Environmental Law and Justice Project (NYELJP) who, in November, brought a lawsuit against the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) in an attempt to stop their recently proposed Land Lease plan.

Middle East Technical University: A Modern Cultural Landscape and the Building of a Highway
posted on Thursday, January 16, 2014

By Bilge Köse,

“Cultural Landscapes” are defined in the Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of World Heritage Convention as the “combined works of nature and of man[1]”, which are “illustrative of the evolution of human society and settlement over time, under the influence of the physical constraints and/or opportunities presented by their natural environment and of successive social, economic and cultural forces, both external and internal” (World Heritage Committee, 2013, article 47). Ankara Campus of Middle East Technical University fits this description perfectly with its natural and built environment in unity. The campus area is cultural landscape with a combination of various cultural properties; modern buildings from 1960s, a human made forest with Aga Khan Award for Architecture, archeological sites with remains from Early Bronze and Phrygian period and members’ relations with these aspects.
Happy Holidays from Docomomo US
posted on Thursday, January 16, 2014
On behalf of all of us at Docomomo US, we would like to thank you for making 2013 an exceptional year and for all your efforts to raise the awareness of how important preserving modern architecture is. We also like to extend our thanks to all our chapters and their leadership, our National Symposium 2013 sponsors, our corporate and institutional members, our friend organizations and all of our Tour Day partners. Our success is based on all these efforts, both nationally and locally, and indicates the dedicated work of thousands of individuals and organizations across the country that are touring, discussing and advocating for this important time period. Please consider supporting all of our efforts with a 100% tax-deductible gift to the 2013 Annual Fund.
Unnoticed Modern: Discovering Lost Legacies of Midcentury Architecture in Evansville, Indiana
posted on Monday, December 30, 2013

By Alan Higgins, M.S.

Evansville, Indiana – nestled in southwestern Indiana at its juncture with Illinois and Kentucky – is certainly not a place that comes to mind when thinking about modern architecture. Guarded in tradition and a conservative aesthetic, Evansville can be likened to many communities throughout the country in that more recent architectural narratives have been overshadowed or simply neglected or forgotten, depreciated against more traditional concepts. Put simply, modern architecture has gone unnoticed in Evansville.

Some Thoughts on Preserving Modern Playgrounds
posted on Monday, December 30, 2013
By Susan Solomon
 
Looking at most of today’s American playgrounds-  a single hulk of plastic and metal equipment that directs the way kids play and that sits on an inert surface in a caged setting - it is hard to recall how distinguished this building type was decades ago. In the late 1960s, there was an overlap of two vital traditions for play: product design and unique environments. The achievements of the former were winding down and the possibilities of the latter were just emerging.
Hyde Park A & B Urban Renewal Project
posted on Wednesday, December 18, 2013

By Lisa Napoles

Much of the blame for the failures of the American urban renewal era was placed on the Modernist architects who designed the redevelopment schemes. The Hyde Park A & B Urban Renewal Project designed by I.M. Pei and Harry Weese & Associates is an example of a redevelopment that has integrated into its surrounding neighborhood by responding to its historic context.

Holiday Book List 2013
posted on Thursday, November 21, 2013
December is quickly approaching, which means it is time for the annual Docomomo US Holiday Book List. This year's list features a number of must-have books soon to become classics. Best yet, every purchase originating from the Docomomo US website is a small gift to us, via our partnership with Amazon Associates.
Tour Day 2013 Recap
by Liz Waytkus, posted on Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Docomomo US Tour Day program continues to expand as the largest national celebration of modern architecture in the United States and this year engaged over 40 partnerships in 42 cities across 23 states to host approximately 50 tours throughout the month of October. Check out our summary of exciting reports from coast to coast, and join us next year, when Tour Day 2014 is scheduled for October 11th.

Repurposing Mid-Century Commercial as a 21st Century Hotel
posted on Thursday, November 21, 2013

By Jessica Smith

In June 2013 Docomomo US featured an article on the plight of Edward Durell Stone’s (1966-67) World Trade Center in New Orleans. The former International Trade Mart Building was in danger of being demolished while the city was considering three proposals concerning the redevelopment of the building and site, a situation more and more mid-century commercial buildings are encountering as they are considered out-of-date and left vacant. However, hotels like Starwood’s W and Aloft brands have started to target mid-century commercial buildings, like The World Trade Center, for redevelopment rather than going the route of new construction.  

The Legacy of Bus Terminals
by Liz Waytkus, posted on Thursday, October 24, 2013

By Liz Waytkus & Frampton Tolbert

On a recent trip to Albany, New York, I stumbled upon a gem of mid-century architecture: the former Adirondack Trailways Bus Station. Handsome and thoroughly functional in its form with bus bays nestled under a supported second floor waiting room, the building, even in its abandoned state, looks to be in surprisingly good condition and spirit. Built at the same time as the well-documented Empire State Plaza (Harrison & Abramovitz, 1959-1972), there seems to be very little information on the terminal’s opening date, design or architects. Wondering what other mid-century bus terminals might still be out there, I asked the writers of the Midcentury Mundane blog to help me find some of those remainders and look at the highlights of long-distance bus terminals.

Call for Papers: Docomomo International Conference, Seoul 2014
posted on Thursday, October 17, 2013

  Announcing the 13th International Docomomo Conference
  Seoul, Korea
  24-27 September 2014

  CALL FOR PAPERS

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Vert-A-Pac
by Liz Waytkus, posted on Friday, October 18, 2013

By: A.M. Liles AIA with Stuart Hurt
Image Credit: All images copyright 2013 General Motors LLC. Used with permission, GM Media Archive.

Relying on calculations, engineers use geometric forms, satisfying our eyes through geometry and our minds through mathematics; their works are on the way to great art.

Le Corbusier, Towards an Architecture.
 
 
 
 
Docomomo US National Symposium 2014: Houston, Texas
by Liz Waytkus, posted on Wednesday, October 23, 2013
Docomomo US and Houston Mod are pleased to announce the second annual Docomomo US National Symposium will take place in Houston, Texas from March 13-15, 2014. Save the dates for what will be a lively and surprising context for the examination of modernism's legacy, and consideration of its future, in Houston and in Texas. Additional information, including tours and presentations, is forthcoming and will be available on the Docomomo US and National Symposium websites.
 
Photo: University of St. Thomas, Philip Johnson 1958
Englewood Public Library
by Liz Waytkus, posted on Thursday, September 19, 2013

By: Adi Sela Wiener

Located in Englewood, NJ, the Englewood Public Library (Delnoce Whitney Goubert, 1968) is one of the architectural gems of the city. The library still serves in its original use and offers full services for both communities of the City of Englewood and the Borough of Englewood Cliffs. The building remains in a very good physical condition and it is almost intact even after almost fifty years of use. 
 
Photo (left): The circular Englewood Public Library, View from Engle Street, Southwest, credit: Adi Sela Wiener, August 2012
Lewis and Clark Branch Library Slated for Demolition
by Liz Waytkus, posted on Monday, April 21, 2014

By: Lindsey Derrington

The Lewis and Clark Branch Library, completed in 1963, was once the pride of the St. Louis County Library system. Designed by architect Frederick Dunn, FAIA with stunning stained glass windows by master artist Robert Harmon, it was constructed as part of a progressive mid-century building program which sought to re-envision libraries in the postwar era. Yet today, as it celebrates its fiftieth birthday, the building’s future hangs in the balance under the threat of demolition.
 
Photo (left): Exterior View, Main Facade, Northeast Corner, credit: Lindsey Derrington
 
Mid-Century Modern Schools in Manhattan
by Liz Waytkus, posted on Thursday, September 19, 2013

By: Erica Mollon

Unlike suburban schools, the public schools constructed in the years following World War II in Manhattan were designed to accommodate the specific challenges and needs of the urban environment. These schools, now of preservation age, continue to be underappreciated resources. 

Photo: JHS 22 Gustave Straubenmuller, Kelly & Gruzen, 1955-59, credit: Tianchi Yang

 

Ten Case Study Houses now listed in the National Register of Historic Places
posted on Friday, January 3, 2014

Following nearly a decade of effort by the Los Angeles Conservancy’s Modern Committee (ModCom), eleven Southern California homes from the renowned Case Study House program have gained national recognition for their historic and architectural significance.

On July 24, the National Park Service listed ten Case Study Houses in the National Register of Historic Places. Another was determined eligible for listing but not formally listed due to owner objection. Yet all eleven are officially deemed historic and will enjoy equal preservation protections under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).
 
Edward Durell Stone's Vermont Campus
by Liz Waytkus, posted on Thursday, August 15, 2013

By Amy Lilly

Vermont is not known for its modern architecture. Whether that’s because the era — roughly the 1920s through the 1970s — corresponded to a statewide economic nadir or because Vermonters just didn’t care for the aesthetic is unclear. Either way, it’s difficult to imagine the Green Mountains as a setting for, say, the austere minimalism of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s Farnsworth House near Chicago, or the sleekly functional midcentury modern buildings designed by Richard Neutra in Palm Springs, Calif. But recent critical reappraisal of the era’s most prolific American architect, Edward Durell Stone, has brought new appreciation to a little-known treasure of Vermont’s architecture: the Landmark College campus in Putney.

Oak Hills Historic District, Beaverton, Oregon
by Liz Waytkus, posted on Thursday, October 17, 2013

Authors: Kirk Ranzetta, Leesa Gratreak, Patience Stuart, URS Corporation

Oak Hills was a precedent-setting master-planned community in the Portland, Oregon metropolitan area in the 1960s and early 1970s. The Planned Unit Development (PUD) is distinguished by its harmonious combination of clustered residences, open space, circulation patterns that balanced both pedestrian and automobile needs, and the architectural eclecticism emblematic of mid-1960s land use planning and architectural design. Oak Hills is Oregon’s first designated mid-century modern Historic District, celebrating its recent 2013 listing in the National Register of Historic Places.

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