Richard Neutra and Robert Alexander’sCyclorama Building (1959 - 1962) remains significant both because of its built form, as well as its connection with the renowned post-World War II public program, Mission 66. Unfortunately, its location within Gettysburg National Park has placed it in the line of fire, conflicting with the National Park Service’s 1999 decision “to rehabilitate the North Cemetery Ridge to its historic 1863 and commemorative-era appearance.”
Interview with Elcio Gomes da Silva
By Danilo Matoso Macedo - chair of Docomomo Brasilia
On Sunday, June 1st, a shockwave caused by the passage of two Mirage 2000 fighters, splintered a whole glass-wall of the Brazilian Federal Supreme Court Building, designed by Oscar Niemeyer. The aircrafts were performing during a monthly flag-change ceremony on the Plaza of the Three Powers, in Brasília, the modern capital of Brazil designed by Lucio Costa in 1957, and listed as World Heritage in 1987. At the plaza, The Supreme Court Building, along with the Palace of Congress and the presidential Planalto Palace, form the most emblematic monumental site of the young town.
Docomomo International Journal 46: Designing Modern Life is complete and will be hitting mailboxes soon. Journal 46 includes essays and articles discussing the interior space as a site for design and modernism through its spatial configuration, devices and furniture. Guest editor Bárbara Coutinho.
Docomomo US Tour Day 2012 is almost here! In less than a month enthusiasts of the modernist movement will be able to take part in one of the largest nation-wide events dedicated to exploring sites and structures. Docomomo US has pulled together an exciting line up of tours and programs taking place in over twenty states exploring the country’s diverse and fascinating modern architecture.
In just two short months Docomomo US will kick off its sixth annual Tour Day 2012 featuring a wide array of programs that seek to celebrate modern architecture. Already with over 30 tours in more than 20 states, Tour Day 2012 continues to be the largest national event devoted to the appreciation and preservation of modern American architecture. Participants can enjoy a variety of events from a historic neighborhood circuit on a double decker bus to an interiors tour of six private residences constructed by six different architects. The number and location of tours continues to grow daily.
Existing shopping centers built between the 1950s through the 1970s on the island of Oahu are unique examples of Modernist architecture in Hawai’i, and they comprise the majority of large-scale commercial buildings on the island (or, even amongst the other islands, which did not experience the same level of commercial impact and tourist travel as Oahu during the post-war era). Precast arches, folded plates, thin shells, and barrel roofs are among the various methods of concrete forms adorning the structures. The Modernist architecture of post-war Hawai’i blended international appeal and construction techniques with a distinct regional style that looked to reinforce traditional Hawaiian heritage and articulate new perspectives on Hawaiian American identity. Although these shopping centers retain varying degrees of design and material integrity, market-driven development and renovation continually threaten to erase this important snapshot of Modern aesthetics and construction.
In the latest instance of a potential threat to an important modern era school, the City of Cambridge is in the process of completing a Feasibility Study for Josep Lluis Sert’s Martin Luther King Junior Elementary School (1972) in which the preferred recommendation is the replacement of the school with a new building. This is Sert’s only primary school in the United States and it is located across the street from and complements his earlier Peabody Terrace Graduate Housing complex for Harvard University.
In 1933, Frank Lloyd Wright made his first of what would become an annual trip to Phoenix, Arizona, to wait out the winter in the warm desert climate. In the years that follow, Wright would leave his mark on the Phoenix landscape, successfully constructing a number of his designs, the most famous being Taliesin West, Wright’s winter home and architectural school. After Wright’s passing, Phoenix continued to celebrate the architect’s legacy, posthumously constructing the Grady Gammage Memorial Auditorium in 1962, erecting the Scottsdale Spire in 2007, as well as renaming a portion of the city’s main east-west arterial road, “Frank Lloyd Wright Boulevard.”
As a project of “The Next Fifty” Docomomo US/WEWA and Historic Seattle presented a three-part lecture series at Seattle Center in June 2012 that focused on the architecture and design heritage of the Seattle World’s Fair and its influence and impact beyond the Fair’s original campus. As part of the larger six-month long (April – October 2012) 50th anniversary celebration organized by the Seattle Center Foundation (“The Next Fifty”), Docomomo US/WEWA was thrilled to present talks by locally and nationally prominent speakers including Docomomo US President Theodore Prudon. The lecture series and project, titled “Welcome to the Future: Century 21 and Living Modern,” presented a great opportunity for Docomomo US/WEWA to develop partnerships and sponsorships with Historic Seattle, The Next Fifty and Pacific Science Center, with grant funding provided by 4Culture and the National Trust for Historic Preservation. We also produced a project website/blog at century21mod.com.
By Edith Bellinghausen
Last week’s Major League Baseball All-Star Game was played at Kauffman Stadium, home to the Kansas City Royals. The stadium was designed by Charles Deaton with Kivett & Meyers, and opened in 1973 alongside Arrowhead Stadium (home of the Kansas City Chiefs football team) as the Harry S. Truman Sports Complex. The construction of Kauffman and Arrowhead marked a move away from the multi-use stadium typology popular at the time and allowed each team to maximize stadium-based revenue streams. Other single-use stadiums built during the 1960s and 1970s still in use include Dodger Stadium (1962; Los Angeles) and Angel Stadium (1966; Anaheim). But almost all of the multi-use (so-called “cookie cutter”) stadiums have been demolished, including Shea Stadium (1964; New York), Veterans Stadium (1971; Philadelphia), Three Rivers Stadium (1970; Pittsburgh), and Busch Memorial Stadium (1966; St. Louis). The iconic Houston Astrodome, featured on the cover of Ana Mod’s Building Houston Modern and once called “the eighth wonder of the world”, sits in limbo as owners and city officials decide its fate. The stadium was designed by Hermon Lloyd & W.B. Morgan, with Wilson, Morris, Crain & Anderson and structural engineer Walter P. Moore, and opened in 1965 as the world’s first multi-use domed stadium. The last game was played there in 1999.
The architectural use of stone changed dramatically with the development of modern steel frame technology in the late nineteenth century, which resulted in the transition from stone as a load bearing material to a thin veneer. As with every many technology shifts in architecture, thin stone veneer experienced a period of trial and error from 1949-1980, and it was applied without real precedence or a comprehensive understanding of how it would perform (as per my own definition stone veneer is less than 3" in thickness). This reduction in stone thickness for cladding purposes required a rethinking of the systems for attachment to the structural framework, materials and detailing, and the stone selection process. Consequently, the modern architecture movement parallels the period of greatest technological change within stone veneer development.
When Minoru Yamasaki was selected for the design of the twin towers of the World Trade Center, the New York Times noted: “Mr. Yamasaki is considered one of the country’s foremost architects”. As if to confirm that statement, four months later on January 18, 1963, he was on the front cover of Time Magazine surrounded by parts of his buildings following in the footsteps of Frank Lloyd Wright, Eero Saarinen and Edward Durell Stone.
By Liz Waytkus Advocacy efforts over Paul Rudolph’s endangered Orange County Government Center had the blogosphere in a tizzy last month in what some would describe as a modern architecture meme. While a number of larger newspaper and magazine blogs carried the story, many smaller personal blogs did too. As we bookmark and follow these blogs, we thought we would share our discoveries of those also working to document and discuss the finer (or more colorful) aspects our modern built heritage.
By: Emily Rinaldi John Johansen’s Stage Center in Oklahoma City, OK stands in disuse and disrepair. Originally called the Mummer’s Theatre, the building was closed in 2010 after suffering considerable damage when the theater’s basement flooded. Built in 1970, the Stage Center is composed of three separate structures connected via ramps, tunnels, and tubes that frame an open, central space. The exterior is a series of raw concrete forms, punctuated by brightly colored corrugated steel in red, blue, yellow and orange.
On a sunny afternoon May 30, Mid Tex Mod hosted a pre-conference tour of San Antonio’s modern heritage as part of the 15th Annual International Scientific Symposium of US/ICOMOS, a leading international heritage conservation organization. Tour participants were delighted to encounter modern resources seldom seen by the casual visitor to San Antonio.
By Sarah Sher
In the past few months, there has been an extraordinary amount of press on Brutalist architecture, most of which has centered on the controversy of whether or not to demolish Paul Rudolph’s Orange County Government Center. The front-page article in the New York Times on April 7, “Architecture’s Ugly Ducklings May Not Get Time to Be Swans,” served as a catalyst for an explosion of newspaper, journal, magazine, and blog articles about the building and its Brutalist style, including pages and pages of reader comments.
By Liz Waytkus and Francine Moralles
Endangered historic site lists, as a tool for advocacy, are being announced and promoted by many preservation organizations and architectural advocacy groups across the country. As these lists seem to proliferate, it’s interesting to step back and look at their genesis, the inclusion (or perhaps exclusion) of modern sites as a subset, the limits to modern site inclusion (mostly iconic by star architects), and endangered lists overall effectiveness.