Modernism in America Awards

  DOCOMOMO US invites submissions for the 2015 Modernism
  in America Awards. The awards celebrate the
  documentation, preservation and re-use of modern
  buildings, structures and landscapes built in the United
  States or on U.S. territory. The Awards recognize those
  building owners, design teams, advocacy and preservation
  organizations that have made significant efforts to retain,
  restore and advocate for the aesthetic and cultural value of
  such places.

  Winners of the 2015 Modernism in America Awards

  Early nomination deadline: January 9, 2015
  Final nomination deadline: February 20, 2015
  Winners will be announced: April 2015
  Award ceremony: June 5, 2015
  during the Docomomo US National Symposium in Minnesota

  Submission period is now closed.

  Previous winners:
Modernism in America Awards 2014


DOCOMOMO US works to exchange knowledge, stimulate interest, and advocate for the appropriate protection and preservation of significant modern buildings, sites, neighborhoods and landscapes in the United States. DOCOMOMO US is committed to the principle that modern design merits the same attention to preservation currently received by earlier periods of architecture. 


Design: This juried award recognizes informed, thoughtful and creative design efforts to preserve, restore or adapt a modern building, structure or landscape of local, regional or national significance, securing its presence for future generations.
NEW! Design awards will be given in EACH of the following categories: residential, commercial and institutional/civic architecture.  

This juried award recognizes exceptional efforts to document, inventory and/or create a preservation plan for one or more modern buildings, structures or landscapes of local, regional or national significance.

Advocacy: Presented by the DOCOMOMO US Board of Directors, this award recognizes outstanding efforts to preserve and advocate for threatened modern buildings, structures or landscapes of local, regional or national significance through advocacy efforts. This award seeks to recognize preservation and advocacy organizations and other groups (including DOCOMOMO US chapters) who have gone above and beyond to work collectively and collaboratively to advocate for a modern site or structure.


Michael Mills, FAIA is a founding partner of the architecture firm Mills & Schnoering and an expert in the preservation of historic architecture. He is currently serving as the Partner in Charge of Design and Preservation for the renovation of Eero Sarrinen’s Hill College House dormitory at the University of Pennsylvania, and his preservation and renovation projects have won a number of awards including the National Trust Honor Award in 2005 for renovation of the landmark Essex County Courthouse in Newark, New Jersey and the AIA Award of Merit from AIA/NJ in 1994 for Princeton’s Graduate College. Last year, Mills and Schnoering and their restoration team won the Design Citation of Merit in Docomomo US’ inaugural Modernism in America Awards for their restoration of Louis Kahn’s Trenton Bath House and Day Camp Pavilions. 

Gretchen Pfaehler, AIA Gretchen Pfaehler, AIA is a leader in the Architecture and Preservation fields with over two decades of experience in the preservation, restoration and renovation of historic buildings and landscapes globally. She is the President of the Association for Preservation Technology International, the Director of Preservation and Assistant Vice President at Michael Baker International, and the Chair of Washington D.C.’s Historic Preservation Review Board. Pfaehler received her Bachelor’s Degree in Architecture from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee along with a Certificate of Architecture from the Ecole Speciale d’Archiecture in Paris, France. Her work has received more than 27 national, regional, state and local preservation awards.


Dietrich Neumann is a Professor of the History of Modern Architecture and Urbanism at Brown University whose research concentrates on European and American architecture from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, His books include Film Architecture: Set Design from Metropolis to Blade Runner (Prestel, 1996), Richard Neutra’s Windshield House (Harvard, 2001), Architecture of the Night (Prestel, 2002), and “The Structure of Light”: Richard Kelly and the Illumination of Modern Architecture (Yale, 2010). He has curated a number of exhibitions that include  “Film Architecture,” “Richard Neutra’s Windshield House,” “Unbuilt Providence,”  Friedrich St. Florian: Retrospective,” and “Luminous Buildings: Architecture of the Night.”


Theodore Prudon, FAIA is a leading expert on the preservation of modern architecture and a practicing architect in New York City. Dr. Prudon has worked on the terra cotta restoration of the Woolworth Building, the exterior restoration of the Chrysler Building, and of a 1941 Lescaze townhouse in Manhattan. Dr. Prudon teaches preservation at Columbia University and Pratt Institute. He is the recipient of a Graham Foundation Individual grant for his book “Preservation of Modern Architecture”. He is the founding President of Docomomo US and a board member of Docomomo International.




Jack Pyburn, FAIA is a historic preservation architect and Director of the Historic Preservation Studio at Lord Aeck Sargent. He has over 40 years of experience. He received his Bachelor of Architecture from Texas A&M University and Master of Architecture & Urban Design from Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri. Pyburn is a member of the AIA College of Fellows and former chair of the AIA/Historic Resources Committee Advisory Group. He teaches historic preservation architecture at the Georgia Institute of Technology and served as the Harrison Distinguished Critic in Historic Preservation in 2012-2013. He currently serves as the Secretary on the Board of Docomomo US.



Winners will be officially announced in April 2015 with an awards ceremony set to take place Friday June 5, 2015 at the DOCOMOMO US National Symposium in Minneapolis, Minnesota. They will also be featured in DOCOMOMO US publications.

Eligibility and Guidelines:

All Submissions

  1. Buildings, structures and landscapes must be located in the United States or on U.S. territory and have originally been completed between 1940 and 1980. Please contact DOCOMOMO US if you would like a building or site to be considered that falls outside of these parameters.
  2. Nominations must be the work of architectural design teams, preservation and/or advocacy organizations and persons located in the United States.
  3. All submissions must demonstrate significance of the building or site if not listed on the National Register of Historic Places or recognized by local landmarking laws.
  4. Submissions should have preservation as a core component of the treatment, design concept and/or strategy.
  5. Special consideration will be given to submissions that showcase an informed, well-executed, thoughtful, creative and holistic approach to the preservation of modern architecture.

Design and Inventory/Survey Submissions

  1. Preservation, restoration or rehabilitation of modern building(s), structure(s) or landscape(s) must have been completed between January 1, 2009 and February 20, 2015.
  2. For design projects, original construction materials and/or design intent must have been retained and/or restored. A significant loss of such may cause a submission to be deemed void.
  3. It is strongly recommended design submissions include before and after floor plans where an addition or alteration has occurred. A site plan and/or section drawings can be included if relevant.

Advocacy Submissions

  1. Advocacy efforts should have been completed between January 1, 2009 and February 20, 2015 with an allowance for advocacy that is on-going.
  2. The building(s), structure(s) or landscape(s) that are the focus of the advocacy initiative must have been threatened with demolition or significant alteration.
  3. Advocacy efforts of multiple partners, persons or organizations that have gone above and beyond to work collectively and collaboratively are encouraged.

Nomination Procedure:

Nominations for projects are to be submitted on the DOCOMOMO US website and must include:

1. The name(s) and contact information of the nominator(s), design team(s) or organization(s) responsible for the project and the project owner(s) or client(s). (Design and Inventory/Survey Projects ONLY: This is the only place that the design team or organization name(s) should appear in the nomination materials).

2. Narrative (up to 750 words) addressing:

  • The significance of the building(s), structure(s) or landscape(s);
  • The character-defining features of the building(s), structure(s) or landscape(s) that influenced the content or design of the project;
  • Design projects: how treatment of materials, assemblies, finishes and interventions related to the preservation of the integrity of the historic fabric;
  • Inventory/Survey projects: how the project contributes to the advancement of knowledge and awareness of modern resources; the realized and potential impacts of the project in regards to furthering the understanding and awareness of the contributions of modern resources to history;
  • Advocacy projects: the scope of the advocacy efforts, impact on the site and community and the result of the work. Advocacy efforts will be given equal consideration in the case of preservation, demolition and on-going efforts.

3. Six (6) images of the project subject, project itself, or a combination of the two. Before and after photos (for Design Award submissions) are encouraged. One image should be representative of the entire project or effort and suitable for publication. One image should be a relevant historic image. Descriptions of the images and image credits should accompany the files.

4. For design submissions, before and after floor plans where an addition or alteration has occurred. A site plan and/or section drawings can be included if relevant.

5. A $150 processing fee per nomination (waived for Advocacy Award) for submissions received by February 20, 2015. Nominations received on or before January 9, 2015 will be extended an early discounted processing fee of $100 per nomination. Processing fees can be sent via Paypal or check payable to DOCOMOMO US.


Early nominations must be submitted by 11:59 PM on January 9, 2015.
All nominations must be submitted by 11:59 PM on February 20, 2015.

Please contact DOCOMOMO US at awards(AT) regarding any questions or clarifications.

Download a PDF version of this announcement.

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