Docomomo US Wraps First National Symposium


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By Brittany Reilly
Attendees of the conference enjoyed an unforgettable sunset reception on the second evening of the program. Paul Rudolph’s open-air 1952 Sanderling Beach Pavilion, located along the shoreline, offered stunning views toward the Gulf. The breeze and white-sands made it even more enjoyable to discuss the day’s inspiring events and topics over refreshments. Reception sponsored by Guy Peterson OFA and Mary Kenealy Events.
Sarasota, Florida became a home-away-from-home in mid-April for Docomomo US chapter leaders, the Docomomo US Board, and our growing and dynamic network of members, professionals, academics, and enthusiasts – proving to us all that, Modern Matters. 


The inaugural Docomomo US National Symposium, presented in conjunction with Docomomo US/Florida, the University of Florida's Historic Preservation program, the Sarasota Architectural Foundation and Sarasota County Historical Resources.

As a unique conference for its focus exclusively on modernism, the event stands as a significant accomplishment for our organization and modern architecture. Together we discovered so much about Sarasota, and why it marks a high point in the development of regional modernism in American architecture. This opportunity to engage the local community of Sarasota, and introduce new organizations and individuals to our cause acted as a reminder how critical our role is, and already has us looking forward to next year’s symposium, for which an official announcement is forthcoming. 

Photo (right): Docomomo US Board members Barry Solar, Meredith Bzdak, Theodore Prudon, Jon Buono and Jack Pyburn at the Healy Guest House (Cocoon House) designed by Paul Rudolph
Kicking off the multi-day program in Sarasota, Docomomo US Board of Directors held their annual meeting for a day-long assessment of relevant topics and issues. Exploring new ways to grow and expand, the afternoon session included a special presentation of current topics on “post-modern and other modernisms” a general topic woven throughout the weekend. Representatives from nearly all chapters within the Docomomo US network gathered at the Ringling College of Art and Design, for a morning full of sharing, updates, and collaborative brainstorming in regard to Chapter operations. 
Photo (left): Docomomo US chapter leaders during the chapter forum
During Friday and Saturday, within the sophisticated environment of the Ringling College of Art and Design auditorium, registrants experienced an impressive series of presentations directly related to pressings topics in modernism and preservation activity. This was a refreshing journey for many professionals who typically have to glean such programs to find topics related so specifically to their practice. Of the 18 presentations, topics ranged from the former Prentice Women’s Hospital to Paul Rudolph to Post-War Housing and presenters included Docomomo US chapter leaders, as well as emerging and established professionals. 
Photo (right): Docomomo US/Oregon leaders Becca Cavell and Peter Meijer discuss Post-Modernism
Following the presentations, everyone enjoyed a variety of social events, which provided an unparalleled opportunity to network and build new connections in the company of like-minded colleagues, newly interested parties, students, and emerging creatives full of enthusiasm -- From the welcome reception and Keynote at the Herald Tribune Building with Docomomo US President, Theodore Prudon, to the historic Sanderling Beach Pavilion reception, and finally the home stretch and closing reception hosted by Home Resource, where we had a peek inside at the World Monuments Fund Modernism at Risk exhibition.
Photo (left): Participants enjoy the beautiful Sanderling Beach Pavillion
Organizers representing the Modern League, the young professionals initiative of Docomomo US, were also present to contribute to the conversation, and held a social event at the ever popular Shore Diner in downtown Sarasota, where younger colleagues from various cities gathered for casual dialogue and networking. 
Photo (right): Docomomo US/SoCal and NOCA enjoying the wrap party at Home Resource
The series of unique tours prepared by the Sarasota Architectural Foundation specifically for the symposium registrants were entirely sold-out and a great success. Tours included a Sarasota Modern Lido Shores Walking Tour and a Sarasota School of Architecture Bus Tour, led by architect Carl Abbott, and Martie Lieberman, a local host sponsor and proprieter of Sarasota Modern Real Estate. An Insiders Tour of the Ca’d’Zan Mansion with curator and keeper Ron MacCarty rounded out the weekend events.
Photo (below): Guests in front of Paul Rudolph's Martin Harkavy House on Lido Shores
We would like to take this opportunity to extend our most sincere thanks to all of our sponsors and partners, as we are so grateful to have had their support and generosity, which strengthened our program in many ways. In addition to our partnerships with Docomomo US/Florida and University of Florida's College of Design, Construction and Planning, we would like to thank the Sarasota Architectural Foundation, Sarasota County Historical Resources, and the University of Miami School of Architecture. We also extend a big thank-you to our local hosts and sponsors including The AIA Gulfcoast chapter, the Guy Peterson Office for Architecture, the Herald-Tribune Media Group, Knoll, Home Resource Contemporary Furntiure, Mary Kenealy Events, Modern Sarasota Real Estate, The Recent Past Preservation Network, Rosa Lowinger & Associates, Sarasota Magazine, Bentley & Bruning, P.A. and everyone at the Ringling College of Art and Design. 
Stay tuned for a summer announcement of the 2014 Docomomo US National Symposium location and we look forward to seeing you all there!