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  • Pershing Park Update

    By Charles A. Birnbaum, president & CEO of The Cultural Landscape Foundation
     
    The legacy of M. Paul Friedberg’s modernist and postmodernist works of landscape architecture is finite and delicate. Peavey Plaza in Minneapolis, MN, the genesis of Friedberg’s “park plaza” typology, narrowly avoided demolition thanks to a sustained campaign from 2011 to 2013 to save it that drew a national audience (an effort recognized with Docomomo US’ first-ever Advocacy Award of Excellence in 2014 for The Cultural Landscape Foundation, the Preservation Alliance of Minnesota, and Docomomo US/Minnesota).

    First Southern Baptist Church of Pearl Harbor

    By Docomomo US / Hawaii Chapter

    Along the freeway headed west towards the Honolulu International Airport, the undulating folded plate roofline of the First Southern Baptist Church of Pearl Harbor appears above a flat sea of houses like an island rising from the ocean. Nestled amidst military housing behind Camp Catlin, the church was originally built in 1961, and over the years it has endured considerable development surrounding its site, numerous congregation turnovers, and an impending loss of its lease.

    Fates vary for Detroit’s Gruen shopping centers

    By Kim Silarski, Docomomo US/Michigan
     
    As many of Detroit’s 1.8 million residents and their employers sprawled away from the city center in the early 1950s, the Motor City’s dominant downtown retailer, family-owned J.L. Hudson Company (known commonly as Hudson’s), did the same, albeit grudgingly. The region’s largest post-war development at the time, the modernist $30 million, two-million-square-foot Northland Center, opened in 1954. It was the brainchild of Austrian émigré architect Victor Gruen (b. 1903, d. 1980), the “father of the shopping mall” who convinced Hudson’s to follow its customers to the suburbs of Detroit, then the nation’s fifth largest city. Northland and its three sister “directional” malls initially thrived and expanded, but all suffered modifications, modernization, and additions that disguised their modernist bones over time.

    Kevin Roche’s UN Plaza Ambassador Grill and Lobby Closed, Pending Demolition

    Docomomo US has recently learned Kevin Roche’s distinctive and beloved late-modern interiors for the UN Plaza Ambassador Grill and Lounge, and Hotel Lobby are in the processing of being closed by its operators and now pending demolition. Located today in what is called ONE UN New York Hotel, the spaces are remarkably intact and highly acclaimed examples of New York City Late Modernism. In an effort to preserve these spaces, Docomomo US filed a Request for Evaluation (RFE) last week to the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) to designate the UN Plaza Ambassador Grill and Lounge, and Hotel Lobby a New York City Interior Landmark.

    Flashback: Learning to Love Brutalism

    Welcome to another installment of our Flashback series. This month we are highlighting a keynote lecture on Brutalism given by Anthony Vidler at the 12th Docomomom International Conference titled "Learning to Love Brutalism." The lecture was then included in the Docomomo Journal No.  47 - 2012/2: Global Design. The next Docomomo International Conference Adaptive Re-use. The Modern Movement Towards the Future will be taking place September 6-9, 2016 in Lisbon, Portugal. Visit the 2016 conference website for more information and to register.

    The Docomomo Journal is published twice a year and is a benefit to Docomomo US International members. To renew or join as an International member, click JOIN.

    Conserving Charles and Ray Eames' Mathematica

    Since December 2013, Docomomo US/New England has been advocating for appropriate treatment of Charles and Ray Eames' exhibit Mathematica at the Boston Museum of Science. Board Member Marie S.A. Sorensen AIA was made aware of plans to change the exhibit by Harvard Professor Jay Wickersham, whose Graduate School of Design student alerted him that Boston Museum of Science maps showed the exhibit closing in January 2014. Sorensen, Wickersham, and the Docomomo US/New England Board generated an initial list of national contacts with possible connections to the Museum, and once Wickersham contacted the Museum's press office he learned that the exhibit was being refurbished. Despite repeated attempts to learn more about and advise on the treatment of the exhibit, no successful contact was made. 

    Holiday Book List 2015

    With the holiday season upon us, Docomomo US is pleased to present our annual list of notable books of 2015. This year's list features a number of must-have books, many written by Docomomo US members. Best yet, every purchase originating from the Docomomo US website is a small gift to us, via our partnership with Amazon Associates.

    Restoration of the 1960 Santa Fe Federal Savings and Loan Building

    Welcome to our second installment of in-depth articles featuring Modernism in America award winning projects. The Modernism in America Awards program, now accepting applications for a third year, seeks to acknowledge the substantial economic and cultural impact such projects had and continue to have on our local communities and to set a standard for how preserving modern architecture can be accomplished. The program seeks to bring attention to the many successful local, regional and national projects and thereby elevate an appreciation for the value of modern architecture to our cultural and architectural history.
     
    Photo by David Glomb. Courtesy of Marmol Radziner.

    It's open season on Chicago modernism

    Last month we featured an update on potential threats to Chicago's late modern architecture. The following Op-Ed was submitted to the Chicago Tribune on October 16, 2015 by Bonnie McDonald, president and CEO of Landmarks Illinois and Gunny Harboe, preservation architect and president of Docomomo US/Chicago. The Op-Ed was never published.

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