Moving History Forward in Riverside, Illinois

By Michelangelo Sabatino, Photos by Serge Ambrose

Preserving a modernist house can be a challenging process that requires a range of skills: observation, historical research, and sense for design. Equally important is the skill of patience if one hopes to learn to enjoy the process. Unlike a classic automobile that must be returned to its original condition in order to hold its value, the preservation of a modernist house that has undergone inappropriate ‘improvements’ requires a creative approach that combines an understanding of history with an appreciation for the future. In short, one must be able and willing to move history forward.

Capitol Towers: Sacramento's Modernist Gem

By Flora Chou

Sacramento’s Capitol Towers is a little-known but excellent example of modernist urban housing. Built between 1959 and 1965 as the residential element of Sacramento’s first realized urban redevelopment project, its all-star design team emphasized human-scaled urban living that mixed low-rise garden apartments in a park-like setting with a modern high rise and a public plaza at the heart. The resulting assembly of vertical and horizontal building elements, linked by landscaped spaces and a now-mature tree canopy, created a well-scaled, well-planned, and highly livable community.

SAVE THE DATE: Tour Day is October 10, 2015

SAVE THE DATE: Tour Day is October 10, 2015

Tour Day is Docomomo US’ annual national event that works to raise the awareness of and appreciation for buildings, interiors and landscapes designed in the United States during the mid-20th century. Now in its eighth year, Tour Day invites organizations and people across the country to take stock of significant 20th century built design in their state, city, region or neighborhood and celebrate that work with a tour. 

If you have an idea for a tour that celebrates modernism in your area, click hereTo register your event for Tour Day, please complete the following form with the details of your event. For more information or email us at info(AT)docomomo-us(DOT)org.


Date information
Saturday, October 10, 2015 1:00PM

The Looming Threat to Orange Coast College

A year has passed since the Coast Community College District in Costa Mesa, California announced a new master plan titled “Vision 2020” that threatened buildings designed by Richard Neutra and Robert Alexander and Garrett Eckbo designed landscapes with demolition. A draft Program Environmental Impact Report found that these buildings and landscapes were of historic significance and eligible for designation on the National Register of Historic Places. Docomomo US SoCal and other advocates called for a more environmentally reponsible approach that incorporated these buildings into the master plan instead of replacing them with a "grand lawn." Now the environmental review process is nearing completion and soon a decision will be made whether these significant buildings and landscaped will be saved.

The Statler Hotel's Rebirth

After facing the threat of demolition and an uncertain future, Dallas’ historic Statler Hilton Hotel, will be entering a new chapter in October 2016  as a mixed-use hotel, residential, and retail center. Designed by New York architect William Tabler, the Statler was lauded in 1956 at its opening as “the first and finest hotel of the modern era.” The current owners, Centurion American Development, secured 46.5 million dollars from the city of Dallas and announced in April it would be partnering with Hilton's Curio Collection.
 
Follow the links to read articles from both the Dallas Culture Map and the Dallas Business Journal on the plans surrounding the Statler's transformation.

The International Style in St. Louis Commercial Architecture

By Michael R. Allen

The influence of the International style on modernist commercial architecture in St. Louis reveals a deep and wide lineage of works, including some recognized even internationally for their genius, while also showing fits of timidity and artistic mediocrity. Generally St. Louis clients favored less stylistically-pronounced building forms, and no local designers were dogmatic adherents to the style. The city’s restrictions on curtain wall construction until 1961 inhibited the development of the style in the city limits, forcing designers to embrace a masonry-bound strain of the International style that emphasized heavy geometry and melded on each temporal end with Art Moderne and New Brutalist movements.

A Bitter-Sweet Ending for the Campaign to Save the Lewis & Clark Branch Library

Update by Lindsey Derrington

Docomomo US Friend Organization Modern STL led the hard-fought campaign to preserve North St. Louis County’s Lewis and Clark Branch Library from 2012 to 2014. The library, designed by Frederick Dunn, FAIA with stunning stained glass windows by nationally-prominent artist Robert Harmon, opened to acclaim in January 1963. Less than fifty years later, however, it was marked for demolition and replacement by the St. Louis County Library Board of Trustees. This was because of its age and in open disregard of its reuse potential, which Modern STL demonstrated through sustained outreach efforts focused on the building’s excellent condition and ideal suitability for a financially-responsible addition to meet SLCL’s stated programmatic needs. Modern STL’s board, members, and partners are the grateful recipients of Docomomo US’ 2015 Modernism in America Awards Citation of Merit for their efforts, but the timing is bittersweet.

L.A.’s Parker Center: Should Buildings with Difficult Histories be Saved?

By Adrian Scott Fine, Director of Advocacy, Los Angeles Conservancy

Slated for demolition and redevelopment, Parker Center in Downtown Los Angeles and efforts to save it hit a snag in early May but ultimately there may be a resolution in sight. For years there has been a much-debated question of whether or not the building should even be preserved. Now, after nearly six months of efforts to designate the building as a local landmark, a procedural error by the City forces the process to begin again from start. The good news is the City has just introduced a motion to study another preservation alternative that hopefully will find the right balance between preservation and limited demolition of the building. What Parker Center and efforts to save it illustrate is a similar conversation happening in places all over the United States, as aspects of growth and politics come together either for or against preservation. 

Announcing the 2015 Modernism in America Awards Winners

Docomomo US has the pleasure to announce eleven selected winners of the 2015 Modernism in America Award program. These exceptional projects are emblematic of the work going on all over the country and represent buildings and building typologies of postwar society in the United States.

 

Modernism in Quito, Ecuador: 1955-1980

By Glenda Puente

In an effort to promote appreciation towards an unjustifiably unknown heritage, both locally and internationally, this essay will depict the economic, political and cultural context in which mid-century modern architecture took place in Ecuador with a focus on work in Quito, the capital city. The selection of work – see accompanying slide show - excludes single family housing and instead highlights medium and large scale projects built between 1955 and 1980, the same timeframe as that of the current exhibit on Latin American Architecture at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York.

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