Thousands of participants across the country explored both modern masterpieces and local gems during Tour Day's ten year anniversary, Modernism in Your Backyard. All the tours and events that took place October 8th and throughout the month of October, celebrated, discovered, and brought attention to our rich modern heritage and the necessity to preserve it. We are extremely grateful to Martie Lieberman for being our official Tour Day sponsor and to all of our chapters, partners, and participants who joined us in exploring modern. Save the date for Tour Day 2017, which will be held on Saturday, October 7th!
October has come and gone, but Tour Day isn't over. Any day can be an opportunity to Explore the Modernism in Your Backyard.
#TourDay | #ExploreModern | #docomomous
Docomomo US/New England | Public Archaeology Laboratory, Inc. (PAL)
The New England Chapter had a brilliant and successful day touring the modern legacy in Roxbury, Massachusetts. Approximately 40 people were in attendance including architects, academics, interested parties from the region generally, and individuals professionally involved with the planning of Roxbury.
Reed College Mid-Century Modern Walking Tour and Lecture
Docomomo US/Oregon led a lively lecture and guided walking tour of Modern resources at Reed College in Southeast Portland, Oregon. The College's Modern Era development is characterized by a significant post World War II spike in enrollment, which led to increased demand for new residences and student support functions, and a desire to enhance the number and type of academic programs.
Modernism and Japanese Carpentry: Preserving the architecture of Junzo Yoshimura
The Japan America Society of Greater Philadelphia (JASGP) partnered with the North American Japanese Garden Association to present Modernism and Japanese Carpentry: Preserving the Architecture of Junzo Yoshimura, a two-day program that coincided with the annual Docomomo US Tour Day and DesignPhilly, a week-long, city-wide event. The 2016 Tour Day consisted of a bus tour originating in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and then traveling to Pocantico, the Rockefeller Estate, in Tarrytown, New York, and Manitgoa, the Russel Wright house, in Garrison, New York.
Presented with partners Docomomo-DC and AIA-Potomac Valley, the third annual Montgomery Modern tour featured the work of Deigert and Yerkes, leading modernist architects in the Washington, DC area. Striving for design excellence in private and public projects, the partnership of Robert Campbell Deigert and David Norton Yerkes was known for distinctive designs using wide variety in materials and textures, surprising angles, and contrasting spaces.
Yamasaki in the Cultural Context
Docomomo US 2016 Tour Day in Detroit celebrated the works of Minoru Yamasaki in the city's Cultural Center, home to the Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit Public Library, and Wayne State University, to name a few sites within. Preservation Detroit tour guide Kathleen Marcaccio introduced Yamasaki to the group of 20, sharing details about his childhood, education, and career, and how he came to settle in Detroit in the mid-1940s when he was named head of design for Smith, Hinchman and Grylls (known today as The Smith Group) after a decade working in New York City as well as the discrimination that he faced being a Japanese-American during World War II.
Modernism in Your Backyard/Your Backyard in Modernism
Early morning dark clouds portended rain, but none appeared on our tour day. Ned Sawyer, a local architect, started us off with a tour of his 1980 Biltmore Pavilions and explained how the design was intended to compliment the Arizona Biltmore which was visible from the site. While the building may be little "young" for the traditional dates of midcentury modern, Ned has worked for and with a number of architects in the Phoenix area whose works clearly fall into this category. He was able to accompany the group and add tidbits of insight from first hand experience which everyone appreciated.
Docomomo US Tour 2016
Each month the Tulsa Foundation for Architecture (TFA) offers a one-hour walking tour of downtown Tulsa. Each of these "Second Saturday Tours" focus on an architectural style or historic attribute of Tulsa's built environment. On October 8th the tour highlighted Midcentury Modern by providing tour goers an inside look at the recently renovated Tulsa Central Library!
Cushman and Van Horne Residences
A rainy Seattle day did not stop over 85 people from enjoying a tour of two residences designed by architects as their own homes in 1953. The Cushman and Van Horne residences in the Portage Bay neighborhood represent remarkably intact modest-sized, dwellings that embody Modern style principals.
Shearer Hills/Ridgeview Home Tour
Mid Tex Mod was excited to partner with the Shearer Hills/Ridgeview Neighborhood Association to share the architecture of this mid-century Modern neighborhood in Central San Antonio. Shearer Hills and Ridgeview developed between the 1950s-1960s and contain an exciting collection of ranch houses, split levels, and contemporary Modern homes. Mid Tex Mod kicked off the day with a lecture on the development of the mid-century Modern American sub-division and its character-defining features by Rick Lewis, Senior Lecturer at UTSA College of Architecture, Construction, and Planning. After the lecture five homes throughout Shearer Hills/Ridgeview were open for tours. The day ended with a reception at local Modern furniture store and tour sponsor, Period Modern. Mid Tex Mod was blown away by the event’s success, with more than 150 Central Texans turning out to learn about Modernism in their backyard!
Exploring the Gold Coast
Tour day started at Vladimir’s exclusive Outrigger Canoe Club, with light coffee and a refresher from Don Hibbard about the history on the area and the surrounding adjacent amenities. It was followed by six stops at various buildings along the Kalakaua Avenue route – including Diamond Head Ambassador Apartments, Coral Strand, Seabreeze, The Tahitienne, Tropic Seas, and ending at the exclusive Elks Lodge. The Gold Coast Tour included entry into apartments that were kept intact since it was first built. Along the route, the attendees were treated to insider information from the original architect for the space, such as the Diamond Head Apartments by Sid Synder, AIA. The tour cumulated in sea side seating for attendees at the Elk Lodge for lunch and a recap of each apartment.
Mod About the Pond
Local preservation planner Lorraine Weiss led a group of 20 enthusiastic architecture lovers on a walking tour of what turned out to be a small portion of the midcentury modern buildings in Albany's Buckingham Pond Neighborhood. The tour was comprised of two clusters of houses built by a range of Albany's prolific midcentury architects including Henry Blatner and Leon Einhorn. As the group walked, tour goers and even the guide found more hidden gems leading to the discussion of well over 20 homes in a variety of designs from international to ranches, Tour goers could have been on the set of the Brady Bunch.
Arch Grounds Transformation
The 90 minute walking tour, tour led by CityArchRiver staff, highlighted how the visions of Eero Saarinen and Dan Kiley are being interpreted, preserved, and enhanced by today’s designers to create new public spaces, an expanded museum space, walking and bicycles trails, and more for future generations to enjoy. The fun and informative tour will allowed guests to see firsthand many of the new spaces that are nearing completion. Starting at the steps of the Old Courthouse the tour traveled through the already complete Luther Ely Smith Square to catch a glimpse of the new museum entrance, the Riverfront, and ended looking back on the park from the Eads Bridge.
Maywood Hills: The Designs of Cliff May in Olympus Cove
Salt Lake Modern’s Docomomo Tour Day events featured the designs of Cliff May in Salt Lake City’s Olympus Hills neighborhood. The subdivision was officially dubbed Maywood Hills and featured fifteen houses designed by Cliff May. May is widely known as one of the people responsible for the popularity of the California Ranch house, and with his plans appearing in pattern books, developers across the country had access to these incredible designs. The tour day events included a short presentation on Thursday by Bim Oliver, a local architectural historian, about what makes Cliff May’s designs so unique and how the designs made their way to Salt Lake City. The highlight of the evening was an appearance from Cliff May’s daughter, Hillary Jessup, who told stories about her father, living in his homes, and about the time Cliff May met Frank Lloyd Wright. It was a great evening.
A self-guided tour, via Utah Heritage Walks - our app for your mobile device, of four of May’s homes was recently released.
Southfield Mid-Century Modern Architecture Tour
Southfield Historical Society
The Southfield Mid-Century Modern Architecture Tour took two hours and forty-five minutes as we made a loop around the City of Southfield. We filled a 56-passenger bus and had to turn a couple of people away. Beginning at Shaarey Zedek Synagogue, a Mid-Century Modern masterpiece designed by Percival Goodman and Albert Kahn & Associates, participants viewed the chapel and magnificent main sanctuary. From there passed a variety of Mid-Century structures. Stops on the tour included the 1956 Detroit Home Show Model Home in Cranbrook Neighborhood, the former B’nai David Synagogue (designed by Louis Redstone and now home of the Shriners), the Northland Theater (designed by Bruce Boore and home of Triumph Church), the Reynolds Aluminum Building (designed by Minoru Yamasaki) and Emmanuel Lutheran Church (designed by Hurless Bankes).
In addition, the tour included drive-throughs of three neighborhoods and exterior viewings of two funeral homes, one school, two bank buildings, 12 office buildings, one shopping center, a university building, two high-rise apartment buildings and a former restaurant. Southfield Mid-Century architects (in addition to those mentioned above) include Victor Gruen, Gunnar Birkerts, Nate Levine, Earl Pellerin, Ferruccio de Conti, Volk & London, Wah Yee Associates, Charles Goodman, Robert Wedler, Smith Hinchman & Grilles, O’Dell, Hewlett & Luckenbach, Harley Ellington and Rosetti & Associates.
Modernism in Your Backyard
To celebrate the 10 year anniversary of Tour Day, Docomomo US/MN toured six exclusive Modern homes in the Twin Cities metro area. The selection of homes explores the diversity of design during this period. The Ralph Rapson-designed residence showcases well-executed glass-box modernism while the home designed by Curt Green is a volume study clad in stunning redwood paneling and siding. The Don Hustad-designed home explores modular living and construction. Meanwhile, the house designed by Bernie Herman showcases an appreciation for space and natural light. George Harrison’s home displays a wealth of original finishes and a very respectful kitchen remodel. Finally, the residence by Norman Nagle exemplifies his interest in addressing climatic issues through design. In addition to great architecture and interior details, each house features a wonderful furniture collection and thoughtful garden design.
Vincent Kling: Houses
The Greater Philadelphia Chapter held a tour of three Vincent Kling-designed houses: The Smith House (1959) in Gladwyne, PA, The Line House (1954) in Penn Valley, PA, and the Scull House in Bryn Mawr, PA. The perfect fall afternoon was not lost on our 50 enthusiastic tour-goers! Architect Vincent Kling is most associated with large-scale urban reconfiguration and is seldom thought of in connection with humane modernism. However, Kling’s initial professional recognition came for his houses; their unique combination of strict modernist precept with qualities that reflected American popular culture. We are especially grateful to Daniel Vierya, our board member who organized this event, Kevin Yoder, the architect who beautifully renovated the Smith House, and Richard Farley, longtime associate of Vincent Kling, who offered professional and personal insights on the architect.
Exploring Mid-Century Downtown San Francisco
Docomomo US/Northern California
The Northern California Chapter led a walking tour of San Francisco’s financial district, starting with the City’s first official Modern landmark, the Crown Zellerbach Building and Plaza by SOM (1959). SOM’s San Francisco office, under the design leadership of Chuck Bassett, featured prominently on the tour, with additional tour stops at the ALCOA Building (1967) and John Hancock Building (1959). Tour attendees discussed the evolution of Modernism, as the tour stopped at both glassy, International Style skyscrapers and later, Brutalist buildings like Anshen and Allen’s Bank of California Tower (1967) and John Portman’s Embarcadero Center (1971). The tour concluded with an exploration of the raised walkways and plazas of the Embarcadero Center and Golden Gateway Complex, highlighting the ultimate success of the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency’s largest urban renewal project.
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