That's a Wrap Houston!
By Jessica Smith
Preservation professionals and modernist enthusiasts from all over the country journeyed down to the Lone-Star State last month to celebrate Docomomo US’ second annual National Symposium where everything is big from the hats, hair, and modern architecture. Co-sponsored with Houston Mod, the Symposium took place at Houston’s University of St. Thomas, designed by Phillip Johnson in 1958, a location that facilitated the weekend’s discussions about modern architecture’s significance and role today. The jam-packed, three-day event offered guests a birds-eye view of modernism in Texas, the current state of preserving modernism, the ground-breaking work of architectural archivists and challenge to preserve the ephemeral.
The symposium kicked-off Thursday morning with the annual Docomomo US Board of Directors and Chapter Leadership Forum meetings in the iconic Alley Theatre. The theater, designed by Ulrich Franzen and opened in 1968, has played a significant role in the life of Houstonians, as well as the nation, and is currently waiting to undergo a major restoration project that will revamp the interior and exterior, breathing new life into the building. The view of the Houston skyline created the perfect backdrop for the morning’s conversation. During the meetings, the Board of Directors welcomed three new board members, Jennifer Magnolfi (New York), Robert Thomas (Boston), and Robert Pullum (San Francisco), as well as the newly formed chapters of Washington DC and Michigan. After a walking tour of significant modern architecture in the downtown area, the symposium formally began at the First Church of Christ, Scientist with opening remarks by Docomomo US President Theodore Prudon and Houston Mod President Steve Curry and the presentation of the inagural Modernism in America awards.
Image (above): Andrew Phillips founder of Docomomo US/WeWa and Katie Horak and Christine Lazzaretto co-founders of Docomomo US/SoCal during the opening reception, (below) Prince Chavis and James McLane accepting the Design Award of Excellence