Recent updates

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.   

Gio Ponti: Fantasia Italiana in New York
by Liz Waytkus, posted on Thursday, May 15, 2014
By Angelica Ponzio
 
As much as Gio Ponti was very meticulous and especially aware of the technical and functional aspects of his designs, he stands among his pairs by a kind of allure, an expression of fantasia, translated into color and texture. Moreover, that was definitely the impression that one can get by looking back at his American appearances in New York, in the late 50´s and early 60´s.
 
Welcome Docomomo US/Michigan!
by Liz Waytkus, posted on Thursday, May 15, 2014

Docomomo US has another chapter to add to its fold, this time it’s Michigan! The architectural historians, preservationists, and modern enthusiasts of Michigan have been talking about starting a chapter for years. However, it appears that moving slow and steady has been the best method in getting to the end of the race to a brand new beginning for advocacy, education, and outreach of modern design across the state’s Upper and Lower Peninsulas. 

Remembering Lucia Eames (1930-2014)
by info, posted on Thursday, May 1, 2014

Lucia Eames, the only child of Charles Eames passed away on April 1, 2014 at the age of 83. Born in St. Louis to Charles and his first wife Catherine Woermann, Lucia was an accomplished artist and graphic designer, and mother of five children. After Ray's death in 1988, Lucia became the owner of the Eames Office and in 2004 she established the Eames Foundation, which oversees the Eames House in Pacific Palisades, California.

Docomomo US Welcomes Three New Board Members in Houston
posted on Thursday, April 17, 2014

Docomomo US announced the election of three new members to its Board of Directors: Jennifer Magnolfi of New York, Robert Pullum of San Francisco and Robert Thomas of Boston. 

"Docomomo US is pleased to bring on Jennifer Magnolfi, Robert Pullum and Robert Thomas as new board members. Bob, Jen and Bob each bring a wealth of experience and dedication to modern architecture and design. Their knowledge continues to broaden the expertise and capabilities of the board, and strengthen the organization." 

 

That's a Wrap Houston!
by Liz Waytkus, posted on Thursday, April 17, 2014

By Jessica Smith

Preservation professionals and modernist enthusiasts from all over the country journeyed down to the Lone-Star State last month to celebrate Docomomo US’ second annual National Symposium where everything is big from the hats, hair, and modern architecture. Co-sponsored with Houston Mod, the Symposium took place at Houston’s University of St. Thomas, designed by Phillip Johnson in 1958, a location that facilitated the weekend’s discussions about modern architecture’s significance and role today. The jam-packed, three-day event offered guests a birds-eye view of modernism in Texas, the current state of preserving modernism, the ground-breaking work of architectural archivists and challenge to preserve the ephemeral. 

The Campaign to Save Shukhov Tower
by Liz Waytkus, posted on Wednesday, March 26, 2014

By Natalia Melikova of the Constructivist Project

The Shukhov Tower on Shabolovka Street in Moscow made its first radio broadcast on March 19, 1922 and its first television broadcast on March 10, 1939. The first and largest of Vladimir Shukhov's hyperboloid towers, it is recognized as an engineering marvel and a masterpiece of constructivist architecture. In its 92 years of existence, it has come to be a symbol of progress, industrialization, and mass communication. With threats of dismantlement coming in just the last eight weeks, the Russian and international community have rallied behind its preservation.
Battelle/Talaris: Saving Seattle’s Newest Modern Landmark
by Liz Waytkus, posted on Thursday, March 27, 2014

By Eugenia Woo

Prompted by concerns for proposed future redevelopment plans for the former Battelle Memorial Institute Seattle Research Center (now Talaris Conference Center, 4000 NE 41st St) in Seattle’s Laurelhurst neighborhood, the Friends of Battelle/Talaris (FOBT), a grassroots community group, formed in early 2012 to advocate for the property's preservation and to produce a landmark nomination report. The 18-acre property has been owned by 4000 Property LLC (a holding company for Bruce McCaw, Telecom multimillionaire) since 2000. The group submitted a landmark nomination to the Seattle Historic Preservation Program in spring 2013. In Seattle, owner consent is not required before a nomination is submitted. The property was designated a landmark by the Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board in a unanimous vote on November 6, 2013.
Post World War II Collaboration: Robert Billsbrough Price, the American Plywood Association, and Prototype School Designs
posted on Wednesday, March 26, 2014

By Caroline T. Swope

This article explores the collaboration between the Tacoma, Washington based Douglas Fir Plywood Association and Tacoma architect Robert Billsbrough Price that resulted in Henry F. Hunt Junior High School (1958) and Nell Hoyt Primary School (1959).[1] Both schools served as national prototypes for post-World War II plywood construction, and their designs were widely showcased in national and international publications with significant accolades for design, low cost, and short construction times.
Has Time Run Out for Johansen's Mummers Theater?
by jon buono, posted on Wednesday, March 26, 2014

On Thursday the Oklahoma City Board of Adjustment denied an appeal by Preservation Oklahoma to protect John M. Johansen's 1970 Mummers Theater (now Stage Theater) from demolition.

Docomomo US Announces the Inaugural Modernism in America Awards
by Liz Waytkus, posted on Wednesday, March 26, 2014

"Death Valley National Park's Furnace Creek Visitor Center, CA; Curating the City: Modern Architecture in L.A. Website; and Peavey Plaza, MN recognized in the inaugural Docomomo US Modernism in America Awards."

The Modernism in America Awards is the first national program of its kind to celebrate the projects and the people working to sensitively preserve and rehabilitate significant mid-century modern buildings for continued productive use and to raise public awareness of the ongoing threats to modern architecture and design.

Abramovitz’s Temple Beth Zion "Cupcake" Synagogue
by Liz Waytkus, posted on Friday, February 14, 2014

By: Sarah Sher

Synagogues can be found in all shapes, sizes, and styles in many places around the world. Jewish communities have historically adopted popular architectural styles to build their places of worship, and this remains the case to this day. Numerous prominent modern synagogues can be found across the United States designed by well known modern architects, including Frank Lloyd Wright, Louis Kahn, Minoru Yamaski, and Marcel Breuer.

As I am partial to both the city of Buffalo and mid-century modern uses of exposed concrete I want to focus special attention on Temple Beth Zion, designed by Max Abramovitz, located in the Delaware District of Buffalo, New York.
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