The Modernism in America Awards program seeks to acknowledge the substantial economic and cultural impact such projects had and continue to have on our local communities and to set a standard for how preserving modern architecture can be accomplished. Through the awards program, Docomomo US seeks to bring attention to the many successful local, regional and national projects and thereby elevate an appreciation for the value of modern architecture to our cultural and architectural history.
Winners will be announced June 20, 2017, and the details of the 2017 Modernism in America Awards Ceremony will be announced in the following weeks.
Docomomo US invites submissions for the 2017 Modernism in America Awards. The awards celebrate the documentation, preservation and re-use of modern buildings, structures and landscapes built in the United States or on U.S. territory. The Awards recognize those building owners, design teams, advocacy and preservation organizations that have made significant efforts to retain, restore and advocate for the aesthetic and cultural value of such places.
This juried award recognizes informed, thoughtful and creative design efforts to preserve, restore or adapt a modern building, structure or landscape of local, regional or national significance, securing its presence for future generations. In the Design category the areas of consideration include: Residential, Commercial and Institutional or Civic architecture.
This juried award recognizes exceptional efforts to document, inventory and/or create a preservation plan for one or more modern buildings, structures or landscapes of local, regional or national significance.
Presented by the Docomomo US Board of Directors, this award recognizes outstanding efforts to preserve and advocate for threatened modern buildings, structures or landscapes of local, regional or national significance through advocacy efforts. This award seeks to recognize preservation and advocacy organizations and other groups (including Docomomo US chapters) who have gone above and beyond to work collectively and collaboratively to advocate for a modern site or structure.
Chaired by Frances Halsband, FAIA the jury includes architectural critic Justin Davidson and architects and leading educators Barbara Campagna, FAIA, Mark Pasnik, AIA, Robert Nauman, Ph.D, Theodore Prudon, FAIA, and Jack Pyburn, FAIA.
Frances Halsband, FAIA is a founding partner of Kliment Halsband Architects, a leading design firm in New York City known for its innovative work in architecture, master planning, historic preservation, and adaptive reuse for educational, cultural, civic, and government clients. Frances is an expert translator between institutions and design firms, bringing her unique perspective as a designer, member of the academic community, and advisor for educational and government review boards to every project. She served as Dean of the School of Architecture at Pratt Institute and as an architectural advisor to Brown University, Harvard, and Smith College.
She is a former Commissioner of the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission, and has served on the Advisory Board of the U.S. Department of State Foreign Buildings Operations and the Architectural Review Board of the Federal Reserve Bank. Frances was the first woman to be elected president of the New York Chapter of the AIA, has served as president of the Architectural League of New York, and is a frequent participant on many AIA committees, panels, and design awards juries. Frances received a Bachelor of Arts from Swarthmore College and a Master of Architecture from Columbia University.
Justin Davidson is the architecture and classical music critic at New York magazine, where he writes about a broad range of urban, civic, and design issues. His book, Magnetic City: A Walking Companion to New York, was published by Spiegel & Grau in April, 2017. Davidson grew up in Rome, graduated from Harvard, and later earned a doctoral degree in music composition at Columbia University. As a classical music and cultural critic at Newsday, he won a Pulitzer Prize for criticism in 2002.
Barbara Campagna, FAIA, LEED AP BC+C, has worked for the past 30 years as an architect, planner and historian – reinventing and restoring historic and existing buildings. She is the recipient of the National AIA Young Architect of the Year Award 2002 and was elevated to Fellowship in the AIA in 2009 as “the leading national architect and policymaker for the integration of preservation values into green building practices.” She was the President of APT International from 2005-2007 and served on the APT executive committee for 10 years. During her presidency, APT started their Technical Committee on Modern Heritage. She is the author of two books, Changing Places: ReMaking Institutional Buildings and New York State County Fairs: A History and Architectural Survey, many articles on the integration of preservation, modernism and green building practices, and a popular blog entitled True Green Cities.
Barbara grew up in Buffalo, received an Architecture degree from SUNY at Buffalo and a Master’s in Historic Preservation from Columbia University. She was the first Executive Director of the Landmark Society of the Niagara Frontier in Buffalo, ran her own architecture firm for many years in NYC, served as the Regional Historic Preservation Officer for the Northwest Region of the General Services Administration and from 2006-2011 was the Chief Architect for the 29 historic sites operated by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, where she oversaw modern icons such as Farnsworth House and Philip Johnson’s Glass House.
Barbara started her firm in 2011, BAC/A+P, which brings together all of her experiences – as both a consultant and client – to create a firm that occupies a unique niche in both the historic preservation, modern heritage and green building fields. She teaches graduate seminars in preservation and sustainability at the University at Buffalo and FIT in New York City including a seminar on “Preserving Modern Heritage.
Mark Pasnik, AIA is a founding principal of over,under, a Boston-based architecture and design practice, and is co-director of the pinkcomma gallery. He has taught at the California College of the Arts, Carnegie Mellon University, Northeastern University, Rhode Island School of Design, and Wentworth Institute of Technology, where he is a professor. Mark received the AIA Young Architects Award in 2013, was a member of the executive board of the Boston Society of Architects, and serves on the Boston Art Commission. With Michael Kubo and Chris Grimley, he authored Heroic: Concrete Architecture and the New Boston, published by The Monacelli Press in 2015.
Robert Nauman, Ph.D, received dual Masters Degrees in music and fine arts before completing his PhD in Art and Architectural History at the University of New Mexico. He currently teaches in the Department of Art and Art History at the University of Colorado in Boulder, where his research focuses on art and architectural history of the 19th and 20th centuries. Nauman also has served on the Board of Directors of the Society of Architectural Historians and was co-chair for their annual conference in Denver, on the Publications Committee for Exposure magazine (published by the Society of Photographic Educators), and for 7 years coordinated the reading of the Advanced Placement Art History exam and served on the Test Development Committee for that exam.
His book On the Wings of Modernism: the United States Air Force Academy dealt with issues of American modernism and architecture during the Cold War, a topic he has pursued in subsequent publications that have addressed the work of architects Walter Netsch and Gertrude Kerbis. He has worked as a team member with architectural firms that have included SOM and RNL Design on a variety of projects at the Air Force Academy, including serving as an advisor for the architect selection for the Center for Character and Leadership Development, working on an architectural inventory report for the entire site, and contributing to the 2016 Cadet Area Development Plan. He has written on preservation issues at the Academy for Columbia University’s FutureAnterior (a Journal of Historic Preservation History, Theory and Criticism).
Theodore Prudon, FAIA, FAPT, FoIFI, BNADr is a leading expert on the preservation of modern architecture and a practicing architect in New York City. Dr. Prudon has worked on the terra cotta restoration of the Woolworth Building, the exterior restoration of the Chrysler Building, and of a 1941 Lescaze townhouse in Manhattan. Dr. Prudon teaches preservation at Columbia University and Pratt Institute. He is the recipient of a Graham Foundation Individual grant for his book Preservation of Modern Architecture. He is the founding President of Docomomo US and a board member of Docomomo International.
Jack Pyburn, FAIA is a historic preservation architect and Director of the Historic Preservation Studio at Lord Aeck Sargent. He has over 40 years of experience. He received his Bachelor of Architecture from Texas A&M University and Master of Architecture & Urban Design from Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri. Pyburn is a member of the AIA College of Fellows and former chair of the AIA/Historic Resources Committee Advisory Group. He teaches historic preservation architecture at the Georgia Institute of Technology and served as the Harrison Distinguished Critic in Historic Preservation in 2012-2013. Pyburn’s research interests include architectural precast concrete and its relationship to mid-century design and construction technology.
Design Within Reach
Design Within Reach makes authentic modern design accessible. When the company was founded in 1998, the classics were very difficult to find. DWR changed that, making innovative works by iconic designers accessible for the first time and continuing to offer the best in modern design – past, present and future – ever since.
Eligibility and Guidelines
structuresand landscapes must be located in the United States or on U.S. territory and have originally been completed between 1940 and 1980. Please contact Docomomo US if you would like a building or site to be considered that falls outside of these parameters by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Nominations must be the work of architectural design teams, preservation and/or advocacy organizations and persons located in the United States.
- All submissions must demonstrate
significanceof the building or site if not listed on the National Register of Historic Places or recognized by local landmarking laws.
- Submissions should have preservation as a core component of the treatment, design concept and/or strategy.
- Special consideration will be given to submissions that showcase an informed, well-executed, thoughtful, creative and holistic approach to the preservation of modern architecture.
Design and Inventory/Survey Submissions
- Preservation, restoration or rehabilitation of modern building(s), structure(s) or landscape(s) must have been completed between January 1,
2012and April 14, 2017.
- For design projects, original construction materials and/or design intent must have been retained and/or restored. A significant loss of such may cause a submission to be deemed void.
- It is strongly recommended design submissions include before and after photographs taken from the same vantage point.
- It is strongly recommended design submissions include before and after floor plans where an addition or alteration has occurred. A site plan and/or section drawings can be included if relevant.
- Advocacy efforts should have been completed between January 1,
2012and April 14, 2017with an allowance for advocacy that is on-going.
- The building(s), structure(s) or landscape(s) that are the focus of the advocacy initiative must have been threatened with demolition or significant alteration.
- Advocacy efforts of multiple partners, persons or organizations that have gone above and beyond to work collectively and collaboratively are encouraged.
All nominations are to be submitted online via the following submission form and must include:
- Project Details and Contact Information: Name(s) and contact information of the nominator(s), design team(s) or organization(s) responsible for the project and the project owner(s) or client(s). A photo release form and project detail form are required for a complete submission.
- Narrative (up to 1000 words) should address the significance of the building(s), structure(s) or landscape(s), and the character-defining features of the building(s), structure(s) or landscape(s) that influenced the content or design of the project.
- Design projects: how
treatmentof materials, assemblies, finishes and interventions related to the preservation of the integrity of the historic fabric.
- Inventory/Survey projects: how the project contributes to the advancement of knowledge and awareness of modern resources; the realized and potential impacts of the project in regards to furthering the understanding and awareness of the contributions of modern resources to history.
- Advocacy projects: the scope of the advocacy efforts, impact on the site and community and the result of the work. Advocacy efforts will be given equal consideration in the case of preservation,
demolitionand on-going efforts.
- Minimum of six (6) images of the project subject, project itself, or a combination of the two.
- Before and after photos taken from the same vantage point (for Design Award submissions) are strongly encouraged.
- One image should be representative of the entire project or effort and suitable for publication.
- One image should be a relevant historic image.
- Descriptions of the images and image credits should accompany the files.
Floor plans/additional drawings
- For design submissions, before and after floor plans where an addition or alteration has occurred. A site plan and/or section drawings can be included if relevant.
- A $150 processing fee per nomination (waived for Advocacy Award) for submissions received by April 14, 2017.
- Nominations received on or before March 1,
2017will be extended an early discounted processing fee of $100 per nomination.
- Processing fees can be sent via Paypal or check payable to Docomomo US to PO Box 230977 New York, NY 10023.
Winners will be announced in June 2017. The Modernism in America awards ceremony will take place in the fall in New York City. Modernism in America projects
The Civic/Institutional Design Award of Excellence is given for the restoration of Pittsburgh’s Mellon Square. Envisioned as a cornerstone of Pittsburgh’s post WWII renaissance by Richard King Mellon and Mayor David L. Lawrence, this space was collaboratively designed by architects Mitchell & Ritchey and landscape architects Simonds & Simonds. It opened in 1955 as the nation’s first urban plaza designed with an underground garage and retail space as an integral composition. After falling into decline due to weather, system failures, and use, a Preservation, Interpretation & Management Plan was first developed in 2008 that informed the five-year restoration and revitalization project focused on recapturing the original design intent and solving persistent issues of decline.
Golden State Mutual Life Building
The Commercial Design Award of Excellence is awarded for the restoration of the Golden State Mutual Life Insurance Building in Los Angeles, California. At its completion, both the building and its architect, Paul Revere Williams, were central to the African-American community during the previous century and influenced the history of Southern California. For much of the 20th century Golden State Mutual Life Insurance was the largest black-owned insurance company in the western United States and the first in the region to write insurance policies to all people regardless of color. The company was a pillar of the African-American community, providing hundreds of African-Americans and other minorities stable, middle-class employment, and was front and center in the drive for civil rights as the site of numerous voter drives and community organization efforts, including a visit by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The interiors have been restored to match the original 1949 design, and the building now serves the community as a center of the South Central Los Angeles Regional Center (“SCLARC”) campus. The property is listed on the National Register and as a Historic Cultural Monument in the City of Los Angeles.
The Rauh House, built in 1938 by prominent Cincinnati insurance agent Frederick Rauh and his wife, Harriet Frank Rauh, is one of the first International Style Modernist homes in Ohio. It is the crowning residential achievement of Cincinnati architect John Becker, a local pioneer in modern architecture. The long, narrow plan with whitewashed cinder block walls and corner windows was a dramatic departure from conventional house planning. It sits on nearly nine acres of gently rolling, wooded land at the western edge of the Village of Woodlawn. The landscape, designed by A.D. Taylor, a pioneer of landscape design, connected the Modernist house to its gently sloping site. (Ohio History Connection)
The Advocacy Award of Excellence for is given to the Michigan Modern project. With the goal of raising awareness of the significance of the state’s Modern resources and design heritage, the Michigan State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) received a Preserve America grant in 2009. The initial scope included development of a historic context on Modernism in Michigan; survey of 100 significant Modern resources; four architect interviews; and the creation of the Michigan Modern website (michiganmodern.org) to impart the information to the public. The project grew to include an exhibition entitled Michigan Modern: Design That Shaped America, a book of the same name due out later this fall, the funding of three National Historic Landmark designations, and has served as the springboard for advocacy and activism.
The jury awards a Citation of Merit for the conservation of Louis I. Kahn’s Margaret Esherick House. The jury commented, “a rare residence by the master architect Louis I. Kahn, this house has been restored by owners who painstakingly sought to have the genius of Kahn shape their approach to the restoration. Extraordinary sensitivity to the original details included the services of a paint conservator; restoration of the idiosyncratic, Wharton Esherick designed, original kitchen, long outdated, and made useful by today’s standards by adding contemporary components in an adjacent utility area; and cleverly adapting the spirit of the character-giving shutters during the winter months, allowing a sustainable future for the house.”
The Met Breuer
The jury awards a Citation of Merit for the restoration of The Met Breuer. Speaking for the jury, Deborah Dietsch and Joan Blumenfeld, FAIA, FIIDA, LEED, ID+C stated, “For decades, Marcel Breuer’s Whitney Museum was threatened with insensitive additions and alterations. A once reviled building that has become a familiar and well-loved icon is one of the finest architectural examples of the brutalist period. Though the building hasn’t been threatened for 20 years, this project epitomizes the best preservation practices by respecting the original architect’s intentions, reinstating the design as conceived and leaving evidence of the architectural patina acquired over time. The Met Breuer is proof to other institutions and cities that such tough modern buildings are beautiful and deserve to be better understood, saved and cherished.”
The Shepley Bulfinch Architecture Firm Office
The jury awards a Citation of Merit for the sensitive restoration of the Shepley Bulfinch Architecture Firm Office at the Phoenix Financial Center, South Rotunda. The jury notes, “A lesser-known and exuberant desert gem, the original interior details have been carefully restored and brought back to robust life by a tenant. Development pressures have been avoided and the preservation of this building supports the revival of a city district. This is yet another example of how less is more… how restoration with a light hand values even the patina on original material if that material can be saved and restored, rather than replaced.”
Houston: Uncommon Modern
The jury awards the Survey/Inventory Citation of Merit to Houston: Uncommon Modern project. The jury notes, “Houston has its share of noteworthy mid-century modern buildings, but this project - an exhibition, catalog, tour, and panel discussion – puts a spotlight on “outsider” modern structures in a city notable for the lack of zoning or a robust preservation ethos. This is the kind of preemptive work that can save buildings, sites, and neighborhoods without the fanfare of 11th hour campaigns.”
United Nations Headquarters Campus Renovation of Facades
The jury awards a Citation of Technical Achievement to the United Nations Headquarters Campus Renovation of Facades. This world-renown complex by a team of mid-20th century master architects, and in particular the iconic Secretariat building, had failing wall assemblies that were beyond repair and necessitated replacement. This undertaking utilized state-of-the-art design methodologies and rigorous analysis of the original glass and other facade materials, to achieve a historically appropriate visual outcome while meeting today's energy conservation and security objectives. The project represents a significant addition to the body of knowledge essential for the preservation of early modern glass and curtain wall buildings.
Tower of Hope, Christ Cathedral
Designed by Richard Neutra in 1968, the Tower completed the quartet of buildings that comprises the original campus for the Rev. Robert Schuller’s “Hour of Power” ministry in Garden Grove. An overlooked masterwork in Neutra’s oeuvre, the slender 14-story, cast-inplace reinforced concrete structure embodies a departure from some canonical Neutra strategies while confidently deploying others. The vertical thrust of the 250-foot-tall structure, culminating in an 88-foot-tall cross, anchors the composition of otherwise low horizontal structures grouped as an open landscaped quadrangle.