Tour Day 2013 Recap

The Docomomo US Tour Day program continues to expand as the largest national celebration of modern architecture in the United States and this year engaged over 40 partnerships in 42 cities across 23 states to host approximately 50 tours throughout the month of October. Check out our summary of exciting reports from coast to coast, and join us next year, when Tour Day 2014 is scheduled for October 11th.

Thirteen of the Docomomo US Chapters hosted a unique event developed specifically for Tour Day 2013. 
 
Photo (left): Docomomo US/WEWA tour
 
 
 
 
 
 
Following the success of their Tour Day event in 2012, which featured three houses designed by Seattle architect Arnold Gangnes, Docomomo US/WEWA celebrated Docomomo US Tour Day 2013 with another tour of a mid-century modern home designed by Gangnes (1918 –2003). The house in the Lakewood neighborhood of Seattle was custom designed and built for Morton and Ann Whittaker in 1956 and upon being saved from demolition in 2002, the house was restored it to its mid-century modern roots while making improvements for modern living. 70 Tour Day attendees spent a beautiful sunny day enjoying the home, taking in views of Lake Washington and talking to the current owners Aaron and Michele Weingeist. Tour Day, once again, resulted in Docomomo WEWA making new friends and welcoming back long-time modernist fans.    
 
 
Docomomo US/Chicago welcomed a small but very engaged group to explore the work of architect Harry Weese on a walking tour, organized by chapter leadership Marc Boxerman and Gunny Harboe, of four of the Weese firm’s projects, each representing a significant aspect of Weese's career's work: 227 East Walton Place, the Time Life Building, Swissotel, and Seventeenth Church of Christ, Scientist.
 
Photo (right): Christopher Enck
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Docomomo US/Georgia

experienced their largest Tour Day attendance to date, welcoming over 70 guests. The group toured all of architect John C. Portman Jr’s Peachtree Center properties following a lecture by Marty Steinberg who has worked with Portman since 1961. An exciting aspect of their tour was the participation by several young architects in organizing the event, encouraging broader chapter engagement. The chapter extends a special thanks to Tom Little and the team at Georgia SHPO in making the event such a success. 

 
Photo (right): John Portman's Peachtree Center Atrium. Photo credit: Jack Pyburn
 
 
 
 
Despite less than perfect weather and month busy with architectural events city-wide, Docomomo US NY/Tri-State held their successful East Midtown Modern At Risk walking tour, welcoming a diverse group of enthusiasts to learn about the history of the chapter’s advocacy efforts in Midtown, and what may be lost if the proposed East Midtown Rezoning becomes a reality in its present form. Led by architectural historian John Kriskiewicz, tour stops included 445 Park Avenue (Universal Pictures Building, Kahn & Jacobs, 1947) the Avenue’s first postwar office building; 830 Park Avenue (Girl Scouts Building, SOM, 1957) by SOM’s Roy Allen and William Meyer; 711 Third Avenue (U.S. Plywood, William Lescaze & Associates, 1963); a number of Emery Roth and Sons landmarks; and the Pan Am, Union Carbide, and Pepsi Cola Buildings.
 
Photo (right): John Kriskiewicz leads group on Park Avenue. Credit: John Arbuckle
 
 
The Docomomo US/New England chapterwelcomed guests from as far as Ottawa toexperience in-depth tours of both the Carpenter Center, Le Corbusier’s only work in North America, and Baker House, Alvar Aalto’s largest work in North America. David N. Fixler, FAIA, President Docomomo US/New England, led the tour of Baker House as he had been involved with its renovation between 1996 and 2000, leading the design team from Perry Dean Rogers & Partners that worked closely with MIT and an international team of advisors. 
 
Photo (right): New England Chapter 2013 Tour Alvar Aalto, Baker House, Cambridge MA. Credit: Marie S.A. Sorensen, AIA
 
 
 
Docomomo US/MidTex Mod enjoyed a successful event during which attendees learned more about John Chase's work in East Austin and Houston with guest speakers Fred McGhee and Stephen Fox. They were especially fortunate to have the talented photographer Brent Humphreys join them to document Chase's work for a pop up exhibit at the Carver Center. After the lecture, guests enjoyed a self-guided tour of two of Chase's most iconic mid-century buildings in Austin, the David Chapel M.B.C (1959) and the Phillips House (1964). Their local press included a write up in the Austin American Statesman by Michael Barnes, society columnist, and an article in the Preservation Austin newsletter.
 
Photo (right): Rick Black, Tour Committee Lead and Mid Tex Mod Board President Charles Peveto. Credit: Cindy Black
 
 
Further north,at the University of Dallas, Docomomo US/North Texas with Preservation Dallas welcomed 30 tour attendees to one of their best tour to date – an experience of the campus where Duane and Jane Landry provided a first-hand account of their long involvement with architect O’Neil Ford.  
 
On Tour Day, Docomomo US/MN engaged over 200 attendees! The morning tour session provided access to homes in the East metro area designed by innovators Ralph Rapson, Lisl and Win Close, Thomas Ellerbe and Brooks Cavin. The afternoon properties highlighted the Modern properties of the West metro area, including properties designed by James Stageberg, John Polivka, and Philip Johnson. Docents were on site at all properties to provide additional information to enhance the tour experience, and the day concluded with a party at the Philip Johnson residence. 
 
Photo (left): Philip Johnson house overlooking lake Minnetonka.
 
 
We welcomed our newest chapters - Southern California and Hawaii - to Tour Day this year, as they worked to organize successful inaugural events.
 
Docomomo US/SoCal held their event at Dana Point Harbor, a late 1960s marina and master planned commercial area with Californian modern/Sea Ranch-influenced architecture that is facing some redevelopment for a New England village-style shopping center. There were 35 attendees for the lecture with Alan Hess about the harbor's history and discussion with the landscape architect and son of the original designer. After the lecture guests took a self-guided walking tour on a beautiful, sunny, California day. The event engaged locals from Orange County where an interest in preservation in general remains to be strengthened, as well as attendees coming from San Diego and Riverside. 
 
 
 
Docomomo US/Hawaii celebrated their new chapter status with guided walking-tour of Kapiolani Boulevard to consider the past and present state of this post -WWII corridor which was once the main thoroughfare between downtown Honolulu and Waikiki. 
 
In addition, we were thrilled to support 14 new partners, welcoming them to join our largest Tour Day program to date. 
 
In the city of Pittsburgh, Tour Day was off to an early start, with the morning beginning at Mellon Square, where Susan Rademacher of the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy shared insight into the restoration of the iconic plaza. David J. Vater, PHLF and Rob Pfaffmann and Jeff Slack of Pfaffmann + Associates continued to lead the group through the city to explore Gateway Center, Point State Park with the Bunshaft Portal Bridge and everything in between. Attendees left with a greater understanding of how Pittsburgh was a crucible for modern building design and engineering innovations in glass, steel, and aluminum.
 
Photo (left): Brittany Reilly
 
Connecticut was very busy on Tour Day. The New Haven Preservation Trust offered a tour of Dixwell-area urban-renewal era buildings led by architectural historian Christopher Wigren, The Glass House extended discounts to Docomomo members to experience Philip Johnson’s curated landscape, and The New Canaan Historical Society included their Modern House Day Tour + Symposium as part of Tour Day 2013. Their morning symposium, moderated by NY/Tri-State’s John Arbuckle, included a crowd of about 100 guests who went on to tour the inside seven houses, each with its own docent present.
 
The Modern Montgomery Bus Tour presented by Montgomery County Planning Department’s Historic Preservation office, in partnership with the AIA Potomac Valley Chapter sold out quickly, and those lucky enough to have a seat on the bus explored modern residential neighborhoods and custom homes in the area including visit to the Seymour Krieger House, designed by Marcel Breuer. The tour provided an opportunity to experience firsthand some outstanding examples of mid-century modern architecture in Montgomery County, Maryland and featured a range of projects that include residential neighborhoods, a custom home, community buildings, and corporate headquarters by nationally known architects and accomplished local practitioners. Click here for more information on the tour including the bustour booklet, maps and driving directions.
 
Photo (right): Carderock Springs, 8016 Park Overlook Dr, Bethesda MD
 
 
 
We welcomed back to the program Wallace Harrison's First Presbyterian Church of Stamford (The Fish) where docent–led tours introduced visitors to the unique sanctuary, the magnificent Visser Rowland organ and the 56 bell carillon. In the afternoon, a panel moderated by Kyle May, principal at Abrahams May Architects and Editor in Chief of CLOG, discussed the architectural, structural and religious significance of The Fish Church.
 
Photo (right): Signage attracting visitors for Tour Day
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Docomomo US Friend Organization Houston Mod offered a very special sneak preview of the restored Sylvan Beach Pavilion on the beach in La Porte.
 
Photo (right): Restoration architect speaking at event
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
The Detroit Art Deco Society accessed the former Lane Bryant headquarters building and the former United Foundation Building along Woodward Avenue to explore their recent renovations in a tour guided by historic preservationist, Rebecca Binno Savage
 
Photo (right): Rebecca Binno Savage leads the tour
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
At the Schweikher-Langsdorf House & Studio over 35 guests throughout the afternoon experienced interior tours in small groups of Schweikher’s masterful integration of brick, glass and wood, as well as gardens designed by the noted Midwestern landscape architect Franz Lipp. Leading up to the event, organizers created a You Tube clip with the village's local cable channel to raise awareness and interest in the house and tour.
 
 
 

 

 

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