Tour Day 2023 revisits urban renewal
Tour Day is a great way to get out and see some amazing Modern resources across the country. This year's tours covered a variety of resources, from large-scale urban renewal projects to Brutalist college campuses to well-preserved Modern residences and beyond.
Modern Holiday Gift Guide 2023
This year's gift guide is a roundup tour de force for the aesthetes and design lovers on your list. It's got it all: recommendations from stylish Doco friends, travel-inspired picks by our executive director, variations on two themes for the new year – Miami and the Suburban Office Park – and finally, curated picks that'll woo, ahh, and wow! We hope you enjoy!
Open call for student board position
Docomomo US is currently seeking qualified applicants to contribute to the ongoing leadership of the organization as a one year student board member starting on 01 January 2024 and ending on 31 December 2024 – the term is potentially renewable for one year at the discretion of the board.
Uncovering the Archives: Displacement in Southwest, District of Columbia 1939-2023
I have lived in Southwest DC for the past seven years in a 1963 cooperative housing “campus” that was built as part of the 1945 Redevelopment Land Agency (RLA). Considered to be the first formal urban renewal project in the United States, the RLA dislocated thousands of residents and their intact community of mainly Black Americans. The photograph that I was most familiar with that depicted the “before” community was the 1939 image (image #1) that shows the proximity of Southwest, District of Columbia, to the U.S. Capitol Building. Many residences in the foreground were built in “alley ways” and did not have electricity, running water, or indoor plumbing.
Subject to Change: Experiments in the Rehabilitation of European Public Housing
Rushed design processes, poor construction quality, post-occupancy mismanagement and a general lack of maintenance characterize the typical modernist public housing estate; their decline symbolic of the cycle of neighborhood obsolescence and redevelopment that once enabled these projects. While originally conceived as alternatives to blighted post-war urban neighborhoods, these stigma-prone estates throughout Europe and the Americas have ironically become convenient targets for demolition. It is no surprise that proponents for their preservation are first confronted with poor public perception and ideological conflicts – fundamental issues that are often more inhibiting than the physical viability of preservation.
Honoring the Docomomo US Longstanding Members of 2023
When Docomomo US was created over 25 years ago, we set out to build a network of like-minded individuals to offer leadership, knowledge, and enthusiasm for the Modern Movement, which was little understood and little appreciated. We could not have envisioned the remarkable change in public attitude toward modernism we see today. That enthusiasm is due in large part to the dedication, interest, and support of our longstanding members in advancing the understanding of modern architecture and design.
Root Shock 20
2024 will mark the 20th anniversary of the publication of Root Shock: How Tearing Up City Neighborhoods Hurts America and What You Can Do About It. The book explores the long-term consequences of urban renewal in Black neighborhoods and has many lessons to help us understand the complex problems we face today. Root Shock was written by Dr. Mindy Fullilove with support from the research team she co-founded, the Community Research (now known as the Cities Research Group).
In the media
Madame Architect profiles Docomomo US Executive Director Liz Waytkus
In an article entitled "Pragmatic Preservationist: Docomomo's Liz Waytkus on Modern Architecture, Advocacy, and Natalie DeBlois," Julia Gamolina profiles Docomomo US Executive Director Liz Waytkus for Madame Architect, a digital magazine and media start-up celebrating the extraordinary women that shape our world.
Selling Urban Renewal: A Model Approach
During the 1950s and 1960s, architectural models, maps, and renderings helped local boosters justify and build support for urban renewal in communities across the nation. New York City’s master planner Robert Moses helped pioneer this practice. Urban historian Themis Chronopoulos has analyzed how brochures produced by Moses’ Committee on Slum Clearance juxtaposed images of actual (if outdated) places – tenements, corner stores, back alleys – against illustrations depicting the sleek, modern residential and commercial structures that might be built in their stead.
Louis Kahn's Margaret Esherick House Named to the National Register of Historic Places
The Louis I. Kahn designed Margaret Esherick house, located in the Chestnut Hill neighborhood of Philadelphia, has been added to the National Register of Historic Places by the United States Department of Interior. The private residence was listed on the Register on August 21 due to its architectural significance as an iconic modernist building, universally recognized as a premier example of Kahn’s design principles.
Save the "most architecturally significant building" of Alma, Michigan
Citing concerns about condition and repair costs, leadership of the Church of Saint Mary in Alma, Michigan is seeking to demolish the town's "most architecturally significant building," as described by William Scott Jr., biographer of William Wesley Peters, the church architect and long-time Frank Lloyd Wright associate. Local groups including Docomomo US/Michigan are advocating to save it.
Big, Bold & Beautiful
In Coral Gables, an ongoing conversation concerns the beauty of our architectural heritage. Does our design sensibility begin and end in the 1920s, when the city was founded as part of the City Beautiful Movement? Or do we view our built environment as a dynamic work in progress – a “moveable feast” of diverse building styles that reflect changing standards of beauty, utility, and sustainability.
New Haven Symposium 2023: Photo Recap
Every year, the Symposium goes by faster than we think. As the dust settles, we finally have some time to reflect on the many wonderful moments that we experienced with our friends, colleagues, teachers and mentors. By no means a complete account, here are some of our favorite images that we captured this year. We hope you'll enjoy them as much as we did!