October 2011 E-News Brief

LOST: I.M. PEI TERMINAL 6

The wrecking ball has officially come down on the 1969 I.M. Pei-designed Terminal 6, also known as the Sundrome, at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport, despite pleas from Henry N. Cobb, a colleague at Pei Cobb Freed & Partners, and numerous preservation advocates. Reports from the field show that as of October 16, all that remained of the former National Airlines (and most recently, JetBlue)

Demolition in progress. Photo: Edith Bellinghausen

terminal were the rear ticket counters and the massive cylindrical concrete column supports; gone were the green-tinted glass walls that allowed light to permeate the building and created a transparent space. The demolished Sundrome is juxtaposed by the landmarked TWA Flight Center (Eero Saarinen, 1962) which fronts Terminal 5 immediately to the southeast, and is currently undergoing extensive restoration by Beyer Blinder Belle architects.

Speculation is that the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, who maintains the JFK terminals, chose to prioritize the Saarinen structure over the other jet age buildings, including Pei's and the 1960 Pan Am Worldport (now Delta Terminal 3) designed by Tippetts-Abbett-McCarthy-Stratton, slated for demolition to make way for SOM's expansion of Delta Terminal 4. The Worldport is featured in the opening credits of the ABC's television series "Pan Am", which along with other programs set in the early 1960s such as AMC's "Mad Men" is credited with helping promote public interest in the period.

The expansion of Terminal 4 is expected to be completed by 2013.

UPDATE: RICHARD NEUTRA KRONISH HOUSE SOLD

Docomomo US has received good news from our colleagues at the Los Angeles Conservancy, who reports that escrow has closed on the Kronish House in Beverly Hills (Richard Neutra, 1955), and that the buyer intends to restore the home.

Inside the property. Photo: Curbed LA

As reported in the Docomomo US August 2011 e-newsletter, following a Beverly Hills City Council meeting on the evening of August 2, the owners had agreed to delay plans to demolish the house until October 10, 2011. During this time architect and son Dion Neutra had started a campaign to re-imagine Kronish as a Neutra Library. When the deadline passed with no resolution, concern grew that the house would not be saved. Fortunately, in the 11th hour a preservation-minded buyer stepped forward with plans to restore the home.  The name of the buyer has not been disclosed.

Furthermore, in late September the Beverly Hills City Council took a step towards a preservation ordinance by voting in favor of a two-year pilot program based on California's Mills Act, which offers economic incentives to foster the preservation of residential neighborhoods and the revitalization of downtown commercial districts.

Thank you to everyone who helped spread the word!

Related links:
Los Angeles Conservancy coverage of Kronish House

THREATENED: LOUIS KAHN PARLIAMENT BUILDINGS

Last month, Docomomo US became aware of developments to impede on the Louis I. Kahn parliamentary complex, Jatiyo Sangshad Bhaban (National Assembly Building), in Dhaka, Bangladesh. The complex, which began construction in 1961 and was completed in 1982, is largely considered one of Kahn’s greatest architectural achievements. The threat involves a proposed railway route which will take up a stretch of green lawn on the eastern side of the Sangsad complex. Although the government has yet to make a decision regarding the route and the estimated 180 ft of the Sangsad complex that would be lost, an appraisal of the plan must be done by November in order to meet a February deadline.

Jatiyo Sangshad Bhaban (National Assembly Building of Bangladesh)

The rail development is part of a larger Strategic Transport Plan for Bangladesh and is in response to a doubling of the population in Bangladesh over the last 10 years and the need to find congestion solutions in the city center.

Although there is no current Docomomo chapter in Bangladesh, the Institute of Architects Bangladesh (IAB), Bangladesh Institute of Planners (BIP), and Bangladesh Poribesh Andolon have spoken out against building the railway through the National Assembly Building complex. While Docomomo US has been unable to review specifics of the plan, we agree the Kahn design should not be encroached upon and any developments should be in the interest of the world community. Docomomo US plans to monitor the developments in Bangladesh and continue to advocate for a magnificent piece of modern architecture from one of America’s finest architects.

As a side note. Docomomo is aware of the decommissioning of the Richard Neutra 1959 US Embassy Building in Karachi, Pakistan. Both Docomomo US and Docomomo International believe that the building is a significant work of modern architecture, marking a particular period in US foreign policy that resulted in a group of buildings abroad designed by outstanding modern architects. Docomomo US is currently
working on additional details for in an upcoming edition of e-news. 

WORLD MONUMENTS FUND ANNOUNCES WATCH LIST

This month World Monuments Fund (WMF) announced their annual list of Watch Sites. The 67 sites from 41 countries and territories range from prehistoric to brutalist and include gardens, palaces, bridges, and entire neighborhoods. The Modern Movement is represented on the list with the inclusion of 510 Fifth Avenue (Manufacturers Trust Company Building, SOM, 1954), Manitoga (Russel Wright, 1942 through 1976), British Brutalism, Casa sobre el Arroyo (Amancio Williams, circa 1940s), and Paul Rudolph's Orange County Government Center (1971).

Both 510 Fifth Avenue and Orange County Government Center have come under recent scrutiny. Shortly after designating 510 Fifth an interior landmark, the New York City Preservation Commission issued a Certificate of Appropriateness (CofA) to the building owner, Vornado Realty Trust, which permitted significant alteration of these same interior elements.  Docomomo US/New York Tri-State has been closely monitoring the developing story of the 510 Fifth bank building, most recently outlining this timeline of events.  In last month's e-newsletter, Docomomo US reported on the extensive damage and flooding to Rudolph's Government Center caused by Hurricane Irene and tropical storm Lee, which was subsequently closed by Orange County Executive Edward A. Diana, who has been very vocal about his desire to demolish the building.

WMF has published the World Monuments Watch every two years since 1996. The Watch calls international attention to cultural heritage around the globe that is at risk from the forces of nature and the impact of social, political, and economic change.

 

INTERNATIONAL VIEWS: mAAN SEOUL DECLARATION 2011

In August 2011, the modern Asian Architecture Network (mAAN) held a conference in Seoul entitled Our Living Heritage: Industrial Buildings and Sites of Asia organized by mAAN International and mAAN Korea, in cooperation with the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism of Korea, Seoul Museum of History, ICOMOS Korea, ICOMOS Shared Built Heritage Commission, and TICCIH (International).

Sheridan Burke, President of ICOMOS ISC20C, shared with Docomomo US the resulting declaration regarding the conservation of Asia’s industrial heritage, which is relevant to ISC20C activity and the forthcoming ICOMOS principles on the subject that will be voted on at the ICOMOS 2011 General Assembly in Paris.

The mAAN Seoul Declaration states: "The understanding of the culture of industry and industry as culture needs to be reflected upon. We need to devote time & space to this discussion. We must, during this engagement, cooperate and collaborate with different disciplines, diverse scholarships and wider community to enrich this complex exploration." A download of the full declaration is available for download here (pdf).

mAAN was established in 2001 as a loosely knit network of architectural researchers and specialists committed to study, preserve, and rehabilitate the modern architecture, townscape, and civil-engineering heritages in Asia, and has held a consistently innovative series of community and professional workshops and conferences.  mAAN is committed to preserving the richness and complexity of modern Asian architecture, contributing to the diversity of global culture. 

CHAPTER UPDATE: FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT CONFERENCE IN PHILADELPHIA

The Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy recently held their annual conference in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, at the end of September with over 200 in attendance. Exploring the theme of Frank Lloyd Wright and the East Coast, the conference was structured around panel discussions in the morning and architectural tours in the afternoon.

Beth Sholom Synagogue . Photo: Martrese White

Philadelphia provided a splendid vantage point for considering Wright’s legacy through his own work as well as that of his former apprentices and contemporaries. Beginning the first day’s panel with Wright and Philadelphia, Joseph Siry discussed Wright’s unbuilt Steel Cathedral of 1926 and posited it as one of several probable sources that informed Wright’s design of Beth Sholom Synagogue (1953-1959). Seen on an architectural tour later in the day, Beth Sholom was a collaboration between Wright and Rabbi Mortimer J. Cohen who envisioned “the American spirit wedded to the ancient spirit of Israel.” It was also the only commission for a synagogue that Wright ever accepted. Emily T. Cooperman, Ph.D., an architectural historian and consultant to the Beth Sholom Congregation, led participants through all the principal spaces of the building, as well as the rarely seen Rabbi’s study and choir loft.

Additional panels highlighted Wright’s work in Philadelphia. Grace Ong-Yan outlined the importance of the Philadelphia Savings Fund Society Building (Howe and Lescaze 1929-1932) as an early icon of modernism on the East Coast and compared its design to Wright’s vision of a modern office building. William Whitaker detailed the relationship between Wright and Antonin and Noemi Raymond, who worked with the architect for two years in Tokyo on the Imperial Hotel, before 18 years of independent practice in Japan. After returning to the States, the Raymonds renovated a 1728 Quaker farmstead and established a school of architecture based on Wright’s Taliesin Fellowship. Although short-lived, the “New Hope Experiment” provided a significant link between the architecture and craft of Japan and the work of modern architects—especially in the Northeast U.S. An architectural tour of Raymond Farm was held the following day.

Suntop Home. Photo: Craig Wakefield

In addition to Beth Sholom, highlights of the architectural tours included three Wright-designed residential structures, all built approximately a decade apart from one another: Suntop Homes (1938-1939), a four-unit Usonian design intended to provide a nationwide model for entry-level cluster housing; the Sweeton House (1948-1950), a modest Usonian in size and material built at the request of a client after reading Loren Pope’s “The Love Affair of a Man and His House” in House Beautiful (1948); and the rarely-seen Spencer House (1955-1960), a solar hemicycle situated along the Shellpot Creek in Wilmington, Delaware.

Christian Busch and William Whitaker, both members of Docomomo US/Philadelphia, were the co-chairs of this year’s conference. Next year’s conference will be held in Mason City, Iowa, from Oct. 10-14, 2012.

Contributed by Jeffrey Levine. The Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy, an international preservation organization, is based in Chicago, Illinois. Founded in 1989, its mission is to facilitate the preservation and maintenance of the remaining structures designed by Frank Lloyd Wright through education, advocacy, technical services and preservation easements. Levine serves as Communications and Events Manager for the The Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy.

PAUL RUDOLPH VACANCY IN NORTH CAROLINA

Docomomo US has recently learned that Paul Rudolph’s 1969-72 Burroughs Wellcome & Company building in Durham, North Carolina has been vacated and is currently on the market for sale. Owned by Glaxo SmithKline, the original building was designed using a steel A-frame structure and terraced floors, and is characterized by a striking elongated hexagonal section. 1980s additions, also designed by Rudolph, Burroughs Wellcome Headquarters - Exterior 01 complete the complex. Our partners at Triangle Modernist Houses in North Carolina say that although vacant, the building has been well-maintained and is in excellent condition, and believe the complex is not in jeopardy of demolition but are monitoring any developments.

The conditions at the Burroughs Wellcome & Company are in stark contrast to those at Rudolph’s Orange County Government Center in Goshen, New York, where deferred maintenance and severe weather has forced the building to close. Employees of the North Carolina company said goodbye to the building by holding a screening of the 1983 science fiction film Brainstorm starring Christopher Walken and Natalie Wood, in which the Rudolph building plays an integral supporting role. To view more images of the building and stills from the film, visit the Paul Rudolph Foundation page on Flickr.

TOUR DAY 2011: THANK YOU!

The Docomomo US Tour Day was an unprecedented success! During the weekend of October 8-10, over 2000 modern architecture enthusiasts across the country came out for tours and events.

Thank you to all who participated!

In next month's e-news we will feature recaps and photos from various Tour Day events hosted by Docomomo US chapters and partner organizations.

 

 

  

BOOK ANNOUNCEMENT: 

Climate and Architecture
Torben Dahl, editor
Routledge, London. 2010.
 
In connection with the exhibition of the same name, the book was written by several researchers in close association with the Institute of Architectural Technology and edited by Torben Dahl. The book's most important message is that an analysis of the local climatic conditions and an involvement of the quiet climatic adaptation, being in the traditional architecture of the very same environment, imply a rich and unexpolited architectural potential.
 
In the universe of architecture it is often necessary to go further than to the direct challenges and immediate solutions to find answers, matching the complexity in such important questions like the interrelations between the built environment, its technology, the resources, and the surrounding climate. 
 

UPCOMING EVENTS

SCUP Campus Heritage Symposium
November 3 - 4, 2011
Washington, DC

This symposium brings together together renowned experts to discuss the state of campus heritage planning in light of the lessons learned from Getty Foundation-funded research on 86 campuses.

The intimate, one and a half day event is designed for professionals engaged in planning related to campus heritage, cultural landscapes and the importance of mid-century campus buildings.

For more information and to register, visit the SCUP website.

John Lautner Turns 100
Through November 13, 2011
Los Angeles, CA 
and Marquette, MI

In celebration of what would have been John Lautner’s 100th birthday on July 16, 2011, the series will showcase Lautner’s extraordinary body of work while informing and inspiring the public about the importance of preserving it. Click here for a full schedule of events.
 
  

The Glass House: Conversations in Context
Through November 17, 2011
New Canaan, CT

Join a leading mind in architecture, art, landscape, history, design, or preservation and experience the Glass House campus through an entirely new lens. Listen to a personal narrative, interpretation, or inspiration by a special guest while walking the site with an intimate group of visitors. Continue the dialogue during a reception at the Glass House following the tour. For a full list of hosts and to buy tickets, visit the Glass House website.

 

Second Wave of Modernism II:
Landscape Complexity and Transformation
November 18, 2011
New York, NY

Today designers are returning to modernist sites with new motivations, attempting to balance the complex values of natural and cultural systems. To investigate this significant evolution of professional practice, three groups of thematic presentations have been assembled that will collectively explore landscape transformations at residential, urban and metropolitan scales.  Presented by the Cultural Landscape Foundation.

EAHN 2012
May 31 - June 3, 2012
Brussels, Belgium

The European Architectural History Network (EAHN) Conference will be taking place in Brussels, Belgium from May 31-June 3 2012. For more information please visit www.eahn2012.org

Docomomo International Conference
August 2012 Espoo, Finland

Docomomo Suomi/Finland will host the 12th Docomomo International Conference in Espoo, Finland in 2012. The conference will be held in cooperation and with the support of the City of Espoo and Espoo City Museum.

Call for papers is now open - deadline is OCTOBER 15, 2011.

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