October is Membership Month!

While it might be hard to remember what the preservation field was like twenty years ago, our grassroots efforts have brought the preservation of Modern architecture into mainstream discussions. Back then, many would have called this architecture ugly, now it is featured on the front page of newspapers and in major architecture, travel and fashion magazines. These achievements have been made by the dedication of people such as yourself and our growing network of professionals, institutions, businesses and individuals. As we get ready to celebrate our 20th anniversary, renew your membership today and support our unified voice for Modern preservation.
 


Date information
Wednesday, October 1, 2014 1:30PM

Membership is at the heart of who we are, what we do, and accounts for approximately 75% of our annual income. Help us reach our goal to register 400 new or renewing memberships during the month of October. Those who renew or become new members this month will be entered to win* complementary registration to the 2015 National Symposium in Minnesota (June 4-6, 2015). Members will receive (1) contest entry for memberships $65 and under and (2) contest entries for memberships $100 and over. Note we have a new online membership portal that makes processing membership easier than ever before!

 

Please consider renewing your membership to Docomomo US today, and I thank you for your continued membership and support.

Sincerely,

Theo Prudon
President

*All memberships received between 9/1/2014 and 10/31/2014 will be entered to win. Five individual National Symposium registrations will be given away. Prizes are non-transferable and do not include travel, accommodations or additional special events or tours. Winners will be notified by mail and announced in the November newsletter.

Following Function: Putting the Industrial Buildings that Inspired the Modernist Movement Back to Work

By Miriam Kelly

While many modernist buildings are celebrated, the industrial buildings that inspired the modernist movement are less well known. In the shift to the post-industrial, these important buildings face challenges in common with many of America’s redundant industrial sites. This article considers three examples featured in Le Corbusier’s Vers une Architecture, highlighting their importance to the early modernists, how their significance is understood today and the contemporary reuse models that could help secure their future.

Photo (Left): Sculptural cylinders of the Marine ‘A’ Grain Elevator (1925) in Buffalo (Photo Credit: Miriam Kelly, 2013)

Plant No. 1: The 'Birthplace of IBM' 100 Years Later

By Julia Walker

The architecture of IBM has been enjoying a moment of high visibility. With attention trained on the preservation of Philip Johnson’s New York State Pavilion for the 1964 World’s Fair in Flushing Meadows, Queens has come a resurgence of interest in Eero Saarinen and Charles Eames’s neighboring IBM Pavilion, the multimedia “information machine” that seems in retrospect to have been 50 years ahead of its time. Alongside the ongoing popularity of this monument, explorations of the company’s aesthetic history, such as John Harwood’s recent book The Interface: IBM and the Transformation of Corporate Design, 1945-1976 and the interactive exhibition “Think,” held at Lincoln Center in honor of IBM’s centennial in 2011, have helped solidify IBM’s image of as an early adopter of digital spectacle. Yet before IBM became an information machine, it operated out of its modest first home, the site called simply “Plant No. 1” in Endicott, NY. It was in Endicott that Thomas J. Watson, Sr., the chairman and CEO of International Business Machines from 1914 to his death in 1956, attempted to define the architectural image of such a business, combining the hand labor of manufacturing with the intellectual work of engineering.

Powerhouse: Marcel Breuer at Grand Coulee

By: Charlene Roise, President, Hess, Roise and Company, Historical Consultants, Minneapolis MN

Marcel Breuer and Associates had a unique opportunity in the 1960s when hired by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation to design the Third Powerplant at Grand Coulee, a massive irrigation and hydroelectric project straddling the Columbia River near Spokane, Washington. The resulting structure is a significant design statement of the era, admirably displaying both the solid strength of reinforced concrete and the expressive forms that it can produce.

 

 

 

 

Chicago or Bust!

By Jessica Smith

This past June, the Docomomo US office traveled to Chicago for the 2014 AIA National Convention. Our time there yielded numerous conversations about the impact of the loss of Prentice Women’s Hospital, what's worth saving today, and the role that Docomomo US is playing in current efforts to save significant modern architecture. We rounded out our time with a heartbreaking visit to the demolition site of Prentice, and toured Chicago's finest architecture that, of course, included two Mies masterpieces, Crown Hall and Farnsworth House.  

 

 

Docomomo US/DC Takes Off

The long-awaited greater Washington, DC, chapter has finally taken flight. The chapter has been meeting monthly for the past year and now has over 50 members. Docomomo US/DC is dedicated to increasing public awareness, appreciation and protection of Modern architecture, landscapes, neighborhoods and sites in Washington D.C. and surrounding areas in Maryland and Virginia.

Photo (left): July Chapter meeting attendees in front of the Capitol Skyline Hotel designed by Morris Lapidus, 1961. Photo Credit: Colin MacKillop

Daring to Design Modern: Women Architects of Northern California

Images and Text by Inge S. Horton

While enjoying lavishly illustrated books on Modern architectural history, I am troubled by the frequent omission of women architects. With one or two exceptions, women’s contributions to the modern movement in Northern California are ignored; however, I know from my research that there were indeed female practitioners of Modernism deserving recognition. I would like to draw attention to a few examples of the challenging careers and work of Northern California women architects in Modernism to illustrate that in spite of the press neglecting them during their lifetime as their rare mention in current publications, they existed and are a meaningful part of our history.

Elizabeth "Lisl" Scheu Close, FAIA

By Jane King Hession

Long before she became an architect, a Fellow in the American Institute of Architects (AIA), and the first (and only) woman to receive AIA Minnesota’s Gold Medal, Elizabeth “Lisl” Scheu Close was deeply immersed in architecture. In 1912, the year of her birth, her parents commissioned architect Adolf Loos to design a residence in Vienna, Austria. Not only is the radically modern Scheu House significant in the annals of architectural history, it played a major role in determining Lisl’s future profession and shaping her architectural aesthetic.

Photo (left): The Hendrik and Marri Oskam House, 1963, Edina, Minnesota. Photo credit:© William B. Olexy, Modern House Productions

The Fabulous Forum: Successful Preservation of a Historic Sports Arena

By Christine Lazzaretto
 
Located in Inglewood, CA, the Forum opened with great fanfare in 1967 as the home to Los Angeles’ newest sports franchises: the Lakers (basketball) and Kings (hockey). When the Forum opened in the late 1960s, it had an immediate and significant impact on the cultural landscape of Southern California. To the City of Inglewood, the Forum was an important part of the local economy and inextricably linked with the City’s identity – Inglewood became known as the “City of Champions” due primarily to the success of the Lakers. In 1999, the Lakers and Kings relocated to the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles – a move that was devastating to the City of Inglewood – and the Forum was sold to a local church. The Forum was underutilized, in disrepair, and faced possible demolition when it was purchased by the Madison Square Garden Company (MSG) in 2012. 

The University of Illinois’ State Farm Center: The Renovation of a Mid-Century “Flying Saucer”

By Lisa Napoles
 
One element of the dialogue that arose from the campaign to save the former Prentice Women’s Hospital designed by Bertrand Goldberg focused on the feasibility of repairing and preserving thin shell concrete structures. Thin shell concrete is costly and complicated to maintain, and, as in the case of Prentice, designs that are highly specific to the building’s original function can present challenges to adaptive re-use.
 
Photo (left): State Farm Center (formerly University of Illinois Assembly Hall), Harrison & Abramovitz, architects, 1957-1963. Photo credit: Creative Commons
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