Recent updates

Upgrading the Mechanical Systems in Louis Kahn’s Richards Building
by info, posted on Thursday, April 21, 2016

By Matthew S. Chalifoux, AIA, Principal
EYP Architecture and Engineering, Washington, DC

Louis I. Kahn’s Alfred Newton Richards Medical Research Laboratory (Richards Building) at the University of Pennsylvania holds a unique place in the history of 20th century culture as one of the most influential buildings of the post-war era. Designed 1957-58 and completed in 1961, the Richards Building received international attention for its design before it was even completed, garnering a solo exhibition of the design at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, but its considerable functional shortcomings have been the target of much venom for over fifty years.

Post Modern Architecture: Documentation and Conservation
by info, posted on Thursday, April 21, 2016

By Peter Meijer, Docomomo US/Oregon

At the Docomomo US, Modern Matters, conference April 2013 in Sarasota, Florida, Docomomo US/Oregon presented a debate on the merits of Michael Graves Portland Building and on the larger context of Post Modernism in general. A lively debate at the end of the presentation centered on the merits of Docomomo incorporating Post Modern under the mission of the organization. In general, the support, or lack of support, for an expanded interpretation separated into two distinct viewpoints.

Aluminum Finishes in Postwar Architecture
by info, posted on Thursday, April 21, 2016

By Thomas C. Jester

The twentieth century witnessed an explosion of new materials and assemblies for construction. Avant-garde architects who subscribed to the tenets of Modernism embraced reinforced concrete and glass to create remarkable new buildings. If concrete and glass were the first two critical material legs of the stool for Modern architecture, metals were the important third leg.

A Chip Off the Old Block: Restoration of Concrete Masonry Units
by info, posted on Thursday, April 21, 2016

By Christa J. Gaffigan, AIA, LEED-AP BD+C and Anne E. Weber, FAIA, FAPT

Concrete block developed in the early 20th century as an inexpensive yet durable material for vernacular construction. It was used extensively in industrial and commercial construction, and was also marketed heavily for agricultural and residential construction. By the 1950s, block was in wide use for schools and similar structures, and was available in many sizes, face finishes, and shapes.

Bath House after restoration. Credit: Brian Rose
Saving and Reimagining Modern Academic Buildings
by info, posted on Friday, April 22, 2016

By Leland Cott, FAIA
Founding Principal, Bruner/Cott & Associates

My inspiring encounters with some of modernism’s masters while an architecture student at Pratt Institute and the Harvard Graduate School of Design in the 1960s shaped my early practice and laid the groundwork for our firm’s work today. Philip Johnson invited us to occasional evening talks at his New Canaan residence and project charrettes in his office. Paul Rudolph gave us and our professor Sybil Moholy-Nagy an animated tour of his new Art and Architecture building at Yale; and Josep Lluis Sert, dean of Harvard GSD, took us on site visits to his recently completed works there and at Boston University, projects my firm would renew decades later.
 
 
IDS Center, Minneapolis
by info, posted on Thursday, April 21, 2016

By Todd Grover

A series of fortunate events in the late 1960s lead Investors Diversified Services (IDS), Inc. to commission architect Philip Johnson to create a new interpretation of the glass skyscraper to serve as the company’s headquarters. The result is a property (we always say that IDS Center is more than just a building!) that has become a symbol of the region, but is also a story where persistent and thoughtful maintenance has sustained the iconic curtain wall.

Docomomo US/Philadelphia Update
by info, posted on Monday, April 25, 2016

By Grace Ong Yan, President of Docomomo US/Philadelphia

As a spring awakening is upon us, the Philadelphia chapter of Docomomo US is also experiencing a re-awakening with new and exciting Spring and Fall events, active social media updates, and a new web presence.

A Modernism on the Prairie Update
by info, posted on Thursday, April 7, 2016

By Docomomo US/Minnesota

There have been some exciting changes at Docomomo US/MN! Our Board President, Todd Grover, has joined the National Board of Docomomo US, and we’re pleased to have him engaged at this higher level. Todd is stepping down from his local duties, and in his place, Amy Meller, an Architect at MacDonald & Mack Architects, was nominated and accepted the role of the new Minnesota Chapter President.

Florida Tour of William Morgan's Police Administration Building
by info, posted on Tuesday, April 5, 2016
By Glenda Puente, President Docomomo US/Florida

Docomomo US/Florida members and guests took a tour of William Morgan’s Police Administration Building (1971-75) in Jacksonville on February 6, 2016. The tour was led by Gary R. Dickinson, Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office Staff, and included the interior of the building as well as the roof terrace.

Photo Credit: Andrea Puente
Welcome Landmark Columbus
by info, posted on Thursday, March 17, 2016

Docomomo US is pleased to welcome Landmark Columbus as our newest Friend Organization and continue to support the work and efforts being undertaken to preserve, protect, and cultivate the unique design heritage found in Columbus, Indiana. The organization, formed in 2015 as a program of Heritage Fund - The Community Foundation of Bartholomew County, has organized a number of volunteer-based community events ranging from a panel discussion titled “2015 Columbus Conversation” that included Docomomo US President Theodore Prudon and Board Member Flora Chou in addition to walking tours, and landscape cleanup days at the Eero Saarinen designed North Christian Church.

Mitchell Park Domes Threatened
by Liz Waytkus, posted on Thursday, March 17, 2016
Docomomo US is following developments after an announcement last week by The Cultural Landscape Foundation (TCLF) regarding the indefinite closing of Milwaukee's Mitchell Park Horticultural Conservatory (known as The Domes) due to pieces of concrete found on the floor of the Arid Dome that appear to have fallen from the facility's frame. A beloved landmark and tourist attraction, the Domes were designed by architect Donald Grieb and completed in phases between 1959 and 1967. Essentially a pre-cast reinforced concrete space frame and glazing system, the Milwaukee County Parks website goes on to state the "three beehive-shaped (not geodesic) glass domes are 140 feet in diameter at the base and 85 feet high and offer 15,000 square feet of growing space for plant display. Each dome (Desert, Tropical, and Floral Show) has a distinct climate and exhibit plants in a naturalistic setting."
Breuer Buildings Threatened
by Liz Waytkus, posted on Thursday, March 17, 2016

With all of the pomp and circumstance surrounding the opening of the newly renovated Met Breuer in New York this week, Docomomo US is following recent developments concerning two other important Marcel Breuer buildings: the Central Public Library (1980) in Atlanta, Georgia and the Pirelli Tire Building (1970) in New Haven, Connecticut. Nearly a decade after the earlier calls for Atlanta Central Public Library demolition and replacement, local officials are currently recommending a smaller Central Library contrary to the request of a bigger building in the proposal from 2008. Consistant deferred maintenance and reduced circulation at this downtown location make it a likely target for development, closure or demolition.

Update: The Campaign to Save the Shukhov Tower
by info, posted on Thursday, March 17, 2016

Docomomo Russia and the World Monuments Fund have recently launched a petition to restore Moscow's Shukhov Tower as part of the World Monuments Fund Watch Day taking place this weekend, March 19-20, 2016 in Moscow. The petition requests that decisive steps are promptly taken to scientifically restore the 1922 Constructivist tower in order to secure the structure from the ever looming threat of demolition. 

The article below was written by Natalia Melikova, founder of the Constructivist Project, and was featured in our March 2014 newsletter. It chronicles the initial efforts to save the tower from being dismantled. 

Docomomo US continues to support the efforts to save and restore the Shukhov Tower. Sign the petition here.

Houston: Uncommon Modern
by info, posted on Thursday, March 17, 2016

By Nonya Grenader

HOUSTON: UNCOMMON MODERN
AIA Houston ArCH Center, Nov. 24, 2015, Feb. 19, 2016 (Panel Discussion and Catalog Release, Feb. 15)

“Cities need old buildings so badly it is probably impossible for vigorous streets and districts to grow without them. By old buildings, I mean not museum-piece old buildings, not old buildings in an excellent and expensive state of rehabilitation…but also a lot of plain, ordinary old low-value buildings…”
- Jane Jacobs, The Death and Life of Great American Cities

Beyond Modernism: A question and a challenge
by info, posted on Thursday, March 3, 2016

By Theodore Prudon, FAIA

The upcoming fourth Docomomo US National Symposium carries the title: Beyond Modernism. This choice of title is a reflection of a discussion that has been taking place in Docomomo US and its various chapters for some time about what constitutes modernism to us and whether there is an approximate end date to what architects, buildings and styles we study and advocate for.

Postmodern Procedures
by info, posted on Friday, March 4, 2016

This past December, Princeton University’s School of Architecture hosted a two day and cross generational conference titled “Postmodern Procedures.” The event opened with a keynote address by award winning architect Denise Scott Brown, RIBA, Int. FRIBA and brought together fourteen of architecture’s leading professionals and educators to discuss not only the historical significance of postmodernism but its impacts on architecture today.

The Atrium Effect
by info, posted on Thursday, March 3, 2016

By Charles Rice

This article is excerpted from Charles Rice’s newly-published book Interior Urbanism: Architecture, John Portman and Downtown America (Bloomsbury). The book uses Portman’s architecture, and in particular its famous ‘atrium effect’, as a lens through which to reconsider key issues of the 1960s and 70s: the expansion of a commercial imperative in architecture and urban development; growing social and economic instability in cities; and debates about the form and role of public space.

Brutal/Heroic
by info, posted on Thursday, March 3, 2016

By Mark Pasnik, Michael Kubo, Chris Grimley

This article is excerpted and adapted from Heroic: Concrete Architecture and the New Boston (The Monacelli Press, 2015) which examines Boston's unparalled concetration of concrete architecture built in the postwar decades, an era that initiated the city's wholesale transformation through powerful and often controversial policies of civic intervention. 

UN Plaza Featured NY Times Advocacy Continues
by Liz Waytkus, posted on Thursday, February 18, 2016

Last week, Docomomo US' efforts to landmark Kevin Roche's UN Plaza Ambassador Grill and Hotel Lobby made headlines in The New York Times calling for the protection of these high-significant yet undervalued spaces. The New York Times article calls out our Request for Evaluation (RFE) to the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) on January 8th and refers to the newly formed coalition of preservation organizations including the New York Landmarks Conservancy, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Preservation League of New York State, Historic Districts Council, Municipal Art Society in addition to independent preservationists.

Photo: Nicole Crane for The New York Times (February, 2016)

Pershing Park Update
by info, posted on Thursday, February 18, 2016
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).
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