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  • Modernism in America Awards

    Now accepting submissions for the 2016 Modernism in America Awards.


    DOCOMOMO US invites submissions for the 2016 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.

    Early nominations are due by February 9, 2016, and all nominations must be submitted by March 15, 2016.  

    Submissions are now closed

    Award Categories  

    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. In the Design category the areas of consideration include: Residential, Commercial and Institutional or 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.



    The 2016 Modernism in America Awards jury will be chaired by Frederick A. Bland, FAIA, AICP. 
    Fred Bland has provided design leadership for more than 40 years on a wide range of projects both in the United States and abroad, including mixed-use, retail, residential, and cultural facilities. He joined Beyer Blinder Belle in 1972, became the first non-founding partner in 1978, and Managing Partner in 2004. Fred is an adjunct professor in the Art History Department at New York University and has also lectured on design at Yale University, Pratt Institute, and Columbia University. He serves as a Commissioner with the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission, member of the Vestry of Trinity Church in Manhattan, and Chairman of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden and the James Marston Fitch Charitable Foundation.

    Joan Blumenfeld, FAIA, FIIDA, LEED, ID+C, is a design principal and the Firmwide Design Director for Interiors for Perkins+Will, an architecture firm with offices in 26 locations. Her work has been published in The New York Times, Architect, Contract, Architectural Record, Interiors and Sources, Azure, Art in America, New York Magazine, and Vanity Fair, including the September 2015 cover of Interior Design Magazine, and won over 60 design awards in the past few years alone. The work is notable for its holistic, humanistic approach, incorporating socially responsible principals of designing for health and sustainability. Joan serves on various boards past and present, among them the Beverly Willis Foundation (where she is Chair), the New York Chapter of the AIA (where she was President in 2007), and the Center for Active Design.



    Michelangelo Sabatino is an architect and historian whose research broadly addresses intersections between culture, technology, and design in the built environment. From his research on preindustrial vernacular traditions and their influence on modern architectures of the Mediterranean region, to his current project, which looks at the transnational forces that have shaped the architecture, infrastructure, and landscape of the Americas over the course of the 19th and 20th centuries, he has trained new light on larger patterns of architectural discourse and production. Sabatino is professor and director of the doctoral program at the Illinois Institute of Technology College of Architecture in Chicago. He is his partner live in Riverside, where they are currently preserving a Winston Elting-designed modern house (1938).



    Deborah Dietsch is an award-winning journalist who writes about architecture, art and design. She is frequent contributor to The Washington Post, Washington Business Journal, Home and Design magazine and other publications. Deborah was the editor-in-chief of Architecture magazine before working as the art and architecture critic for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel and The Washington Times. She has also written for television and film, including recent documentaries on architect Victor Lundy and photographer Julius Shulman. Deborah has written four books, including Classic Modern: Midcentury Modern at Home and Architecture for Dummies. She earned master degrees in architecture and historic preservation from Columbia University. Deborah lives in a midcentury modern house in Washington, DC.



    Theodore Prudon, FAIA, FAPT, FoIFI, BNADr is an internationally renowned architect, preservation expert, architectural engineer, author, and educator with a career spanning 40 years. His projects from across the United States and Canada as well as in Europe include: the Woolworth and Chrysler Buildings in New York City; the New York State Capitol Building in Albany, the exterior of the 1941 Lescaze townhouse in Manhattan, and projects for the Edinburgh College of Art, Inverhouse Distilleries and Dumfries and Galloway College in Scotland. Dr. Prudon serves as a professor at both Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation and Pratt Institute's School of Architecture, Graduate Program for Historic Preservation. He is the author of the book Preservation of Modern Architecture and 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, receiving his Bachelor of Architecture from Texas A&M University and a 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. Pyburn’s research interests include architectural precast concrete and its relationship to mid-century design and construction technology. Jack is currently serving as the Secretary on the Board of Directors of Docomomo US. 




    Eligibility and Guidelines 


    All Submissions

    • 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.
    • Nominations must be the work of architectural design teams, preservation and/or advocacy organizations and persons located in the United States.
    • 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.
    • Submissions should have preservation as a core component of the treatment, design concept and/or strategy.
    • 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

    • Preservation, restoration or rehabilitation of modern building(s), structure(s) or landscape(s) must have been completed between January 1, 2009 and March 15, 2016.
    • 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.
    • 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

    • Advocacy efforts should have been completed between January 1, 2009 and March 15, 2016 with an allowance for advocacy that is on-going.
    • 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.
    • 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 1000 words) addressing: The significance of the building(s), structure(s) or landscape(s), and 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 March 15, 2016. Nominations received on or before February 9, 2016 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.




    Winners will be officially announced in early spring 2016 with an awards ceremony set to take place in the fall in New York City. They will also be featured in DOCOMOMO US publications.




    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. JOIN today.

    The Modernism in America Awards program 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. Through the awards program, Docomomo US 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.

    Please contact DOCOMOMO US at awards(AT)docomomo-us.org regarding any questions or clarifications.

    Download a PDF version of this announcement.


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