February 2011 E-News Brief

UPDATE: Lloyd Wright's Moore House

As reported in the DOCOMOMO US December 2010 E-News Brief, the Los Angeles Conservancy is leading the cause to advocate for the preservation of the 1959 Moore House designed by noted architect Lloyd Wright - the son of Frank Lloyd Wright - in Palos Verdes Estates. The deadline to comment on the environmental impact report (EIR) was December 10, 2010, and the Palos Verdes Estates City Council received over 500 letters from area residents, design professionals, architectural historians, historic preservation organizations and concerned individuals across the country. Release of the final EIR is expected shortly, followed by a vote by the Palos Verdes Estates Planning Commission at a public hearing.

The Los Angeles Conservancy recently released video segments from the 1995 documentary Wrightian's Organic Architecture #7. The videos include exterior and interior tours of the Moore House, complete with commentary from Eric Lloyd Wright (son of the architect), as well as an interview with the late Dr. Louis T. Moore, the original owner who commissioned the house.

Visit the Moore House page at the Los Angeles Conservancy website to view all the videos and learn how you can help.


Docomomo International: A Caracas Anthology

Much of the American architecture and the urban and landscaping projects built in the 20th Century inUS Embassy, Caracas, 1963 Caracas, Venezuela are now Modern Heritage at Risk -- some more acutely than others -- and therefore an important concern to conservationists. To document these structures, Docomomo Venezuela presents American Architects and Planners in Modern Caracas. A work in progress, this comprehensive photo anthology was assembled by Hannia Gómez of Docomomo Venezuela and features stunning then and now images of the city's most significant Modern structures.

The projects presented are organized into five subjects derived from Caracas modern history, including Suburban Neighborhoods, Rockefeller's Men and Oil Corporate Headquarters. Some vanished projects are also included in this list, due to their importance in the history of Caracas Modern architecture.

Visit the Docomomo Venezuela website to view the full collection.

Photo, right: Old US Embassy building in 1963 (f. Archives of Fundación de la Memoria Urbana, Caracas). Don Hatch, architect. The metal mural over the entrance was designed by American sculptor and designer Harry Bertoia.



INTERNATIONAL NEWS: Marine Biology Station at Montemar, Chile

Maximiano Atria, secretario general of Docomomo Chile reports on a recent success: news of the final demolition of the ongoing but suspended addition to the marine biology station at Montemar, Chile, a work of architect Enrique Gebhard. Atria writes:

Montemar extension over timeThe Eindhoven Statement holds as one of Docomomo International's main objectives to oppose destruction and disfigurement of significant works of the modern movement. Since its foundation in 2004, Docomomo Chile's efforts have been centered on encouraging research on modern architecture and on several campaigns dedicated to call attention of the public towards the need to protect and valorize modern heritage.

Just after Docomomo Chile´s first national seminar, held in Santiago in 2005, we visited the city of Valparaíso and discovered the interventions that were being built on the Marine Biology Station at Montemar, some kilometers to the north of the harbor city. The impact and surprise we experienced turned into a series of actions dedicated to try reverting what was already a three-storey reinforced concrete structure.
The building, designed in 1941 by Chilean architect Enrique Gebhard (1909-1978), and built in two phases between 1941 and 1959, is one of the country's most interesting modern structures, set on a spectacular site at the seashore, sharing the space with a fishermen station working there since the early eighteenth century: the idea was to work with the fishermen as they were capturing specimens for study, and the scientists at the station giving back knowledge on better catch and sites for fishing. Gebhard's admiration of Le Corbusier gave him a mastering of volumes and spaces in relation to the landscape that are the main achievements of this particular building, the highest point in his short career.
I personally dedicated three years of my master's study to this building, and was invited to present it as a case-study at the Docomomo International conference in Turkey in 2006. We entered in contact with the school of architecture of the Valparaíso University -owner of the building- and held meetings with the rector of the university and the faculty of the Oceanic Sciences School, which now uses the facilities and whose needs the new extension came to fill. We explained to everyone the value of the building, showed them the original plans and photographs, and expressed to them that what we intended was -well beyond our craziest hopes- to demolish the ongoing extension and restore the building to its original state.
Things started to work out: construction was stopped due to the contractor's bankrupcy, the rector we had talked to (and who was not very receptive to our demands) was succeded by another one, and the building was included in the World Monument's Fund 2008 list of endangered heritage sites.
All this helped to put the situation of Montemar in the public arena, with articles in the press, letters to the editors of the main newspapers, meetings with university authorities and the government's agency for national monuments, and letters addressed to the rector from Maristella Casciato and from Docomomo Chile members.
In the meantime, professors at the school of architecture in Valparaíso continued to
discuss with the new rector about the need to treat the building as a heritage piece and to set an example as a cultural institution regarding the respect to its original situation.
All this has brought us to the present situation, one that we saw as almost impossible: the extension was completely demolished in December 2010, and working meetings will be held at Valparaíso to discuss the future of the building. We have been invited to be part of these meetings, and we will use the momentum of the present situation to go further and try to convince the university of the need to restore the building. Montemar being State-owned, every step is slow and uncertain, but we are back to the situation around 2004, and from there on everything will be simpler, since the remaning interventions, made before, are easily dismountable -the difficult part will be convincing everyone of doing it. We'll call for help when we need it, count on that.

-Maximiano Atria, Docomomo Chile


ADVOCACY SPOTLIGHT: Triangle Modernist Houses

Triangle Modernist Houses (TMH) is an award-winning 501(c)3 registered nonprofit historical archive dedicatedKamphoefner House to documenting, preserving and promoting Modernist residential design, and considered one of the largest single archives for residential modern in the United States.

The Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill “Triangle” region of North Carolina has the third largest concentration of Modernist houses in America -- more than anywhere else except Los Angeles and Chicago. This is due in large part to Henry Kamphoefner, the founding Dean of the NC State University School of Design (now College of Design) who recruited top faculty and insisted that they practice as well as teach. Their output was prolific but almost completely undocumented, until the formation of Triangle Modernist in 2007.  With almost 10,000 photos, TMH tracks more than 1200 Modernist houses in North Carolina alone, along with 1800 elsewhere around the country, principally in California and New York.

Small House

TMH is an early-warning system for endangered Modernist houses, a sponsor of popular Modernist housetours, an extensive catalog of North Carolina and national Modernist residential architecture, and a community of knowledgeable advocates for design and construction. TMH maintains a rapidly growing collection of audio, video, and document archives featuring Modernist architects both living and deceased, including over 130 in North Carolina. Among the collections featured are the 1950 NCSU School of Design curriculum and archives of North Carolina Architect (formerly Southern Architect) dating back to the 1950s.

For more information, visit the Triangle Modernist website at www.trianglemodernisthouses.com.

Photo top right: The Kamphoefner House in Raleigh, designed for the first dean of the North Carolina State University School of Design, Henry Kamphoefner, and his wife by George Matsumoto, with a later renovation and addition by Kamphoefner's protege, Robert Burns. Featured on a TMH Homes Tour.

Photo bottom left: The Milton Small Jr. House in Raleigh, designed by George Milton Small Jr. in 1951. Featured on a TMH Homes Tour.



Greening ModernismGreening Modernism
Preservation, Sustainability & The Modern Movement
Carl Stein, Author. Published by W.W. Norton & Company, 2010.

With much of our interest in design and construction focused on sustainability, the preservation of modern architecture has become a subject of much discussion. Buildings created in what author Carl Stein refers to as the ‘petroleum’ era are coming particularly under much scrutiny and in turn becoming the victim of negative perceptions and opinions. In his new book Stein seeks to address these issues in a broader historical and comprehensive context. Aside from the more general discussion of sustainability and energy, he sees Modernism not solely as a problem but part of the solution. Or, in his own words: “While Modernism does not, in itself, offer new design tools for building reuse and historic preservation, it does provide a very clear framework for the appropriate application of these tools.”




Saint Peters Seminary

St. Peter's Seminary, Cardross, Scotland (1961-68), Gillespie, Kidd & Coia 
Copyright Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland 

Preserving Post-War Britain
March 2, 2011
6:00pm EST
American Institute of Architects New York Chapter
Center for Architecture, 536 LaGuardia Place, New York, NY

The heroic steel, glass, and concrete housing estates, office blocks, schools, and civic complexes built across Britain in the 1950s, 60s, and 70s by Alison and Peter Smithson, Stirling and Gowan, Sir Denys Lasdyn, Sir Basil Spence, Ernö Goldfinger, Powell & Moya, Gillespie, Kidd, & Coia, and other neo-Corbusians and Miesians have come to be ranked as unique contributions to the Modern Movement. But some that are endangered have been branded as obsolete, bleak reminders of the welfare state, and their protection has aroused fierce debate. 

Join AIA's Historic Buildings Committee and author Alan Powers for a lecture examining both the original reception of these buildings and the now often uphill battles with developers, government officials, and public opinion to save them, revealing the complex nature of architectural taste.

Visit the CFA website for more information.


MiMoMiMo in Miami: An International Conference on Mid-Century Modern Architecture
March 11-12, 2011
Miami, FL

Join DOCOMOMO US and Dade Heritage Trust at the MiMo Conference.  Miami Modern architecture, better known as MiMo, boomed after WWII, translating International Modernism into innovative designs with tropical exoticism, glamour and fun.  The conference will discuss MiMo in an international context, with an emphasis on Miami's newest historic designations: the Miami Marine Stadium, the Miami Bacardi Building, the Morris Lapidus District, North Shore on Miami Beach and the MiMo on Biscayne Historic District.  

DOCOMOMO US chapter president Theodore Prudon will deliver the keynote speech on Friday morning, March 11 at 9:00am EST at the Eden Roc Hotel in Miami Beach.  Tours, presentations, and other special events are planned for both days.

Visit the Dade Heritage Trust website for more information, or email info@dadeheritagetrust.com


Lecture Series: Texas MODern Month
April 11-13, 2011

DOCOMOMO US chapter president Theodore Prudon will lecture in three Texas cities this April: Houston, April 11th; Dallas, April 12th and Austin, April 13th. The lectures will discuss the preservation of modern architecture, the need to advocate for Texas modern heritage, and the vital role modern preservation groups are making on the international, national, and local levels.

Each lecture is hosted by a local Texas chapter or friend organization of DOCOMOMO US, which include Houston Mod, the first friend organization of DOCOMOMO US, DOCOMOMO US/North Dallas Chapter, and DOCOMOMO US/Mid-Tex Mod, which includes Austin and San Antonio. These lectures are being held to support the statewide effort by Preservation Texas to promote April as MODern Month in Texas, and to raise awareness of the need to preserve locally, regionally, and nationally significant examples of modern buildings, sites, and neighborhoods in Texas.


SAH 2011Society of Architectural Historians 64th Annual Meeting
April 13-17, 2011
New Orleans, LA

Several local DOCOMOMO board members will participate in the Society of Architectural Historians 64th Annual Meeting in New Orleans April 13-17, 2011. Special events include a historic preservation seminar on post-disaster preservation, a roundtable discussion on the challenges faced by the local chapter to preserve modernism, and a tour of modernist sites around the city.

On Wednesday April 13th Keli Rylance (Board Member, DOCOMOMO US, and Head, Southeastern Architectural Archive and the School of Architecture Library) and Eleanor Shelby Burke (Board Member DOCOMOMO US/NOLA, and Deputy Director New Orleans Historic District Landmarks Commission) will participate in Historic Preservation Seminar: Post-Disaster Preservation: The Best and Worst Case Scenarios.

On Friday April 15th Francine Stock (President, DOCOMOMO US/NOLA and Curator of Tulane School of Architecture New Orleans Virtual Archive), and Keli Rylance will lead discussion about the fate of New Orleans modernism in the wake of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita (2005). The conversation will include an assessment of the National Preservation Act’s Section 106 Process as it has been applied to midcentury modernism.

On Saturday April 16th Stock and Rylance will lead a tour of Modernism in New Orleans. Beginning along Canal Street, home to many of the modernist firms, the tour will follow this mercantile artery into Mid-City, where it will loop around into historic Treme to stop at the Phillis Wheatley Elementary School (Charles R. Colbert, 1955), a World Monuments Fund watch site. From there, the tour will stop at several residences along Bayou St. John and in the Lakeshore neighborhood, culminating at the home of native architect Albert C. Ledner.

Conference registration is open.






P.O. Box 230977
New York, NY 10023
Terms of use | Contact | Privacy Policy | Credits
© 2017 DOCOMOMO US Google+