Buffalo renews push to demolish Willert Park Courts
Willert Park Courts is significant culturally, historically, socially and architecturally as the first housing complex for African Americans in Buffalo and as an early International Style design, but its demolition has been in the works for many years under the ownership of the Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority.
The Worst Thing That Can Happen: Gertrude and Howard
When Howard Barnstone landed in Texas in 1948, fresh out of Yale, it seemed as if he and Gertrude Levy were fated to meet in Houston’s contemporary art scene. With a job offer to teach at the new University of Houston architecture school, Howard moved to town and settled in. That was the opening scene in the marriage play starring Gertrude Levy and Howard Barnstone.
Barnstone’s Jewish Houston: Lillian Guberman and Gerald S. Gordon House
A number of important Houston Jewish families were drawn to Braeswood in its first decades, including the Gordons, Rauches, Brochsteins, Battelsteins, and Kaufmans, and they often employed Jewish architects such as Joseph Finger, Irving Klein, and Lenard Gabert, as well as Barnstone, to design their houses.
A Constructive Connection: Barnstone and the Menils
Barnstone’s office produced multiple schemes for the proposed Menil art center, which would house art storage primarily, along with offices, a conference room, and a small public gallery. The program grew to include a library for 3,700 volumes of “spiritual and philosophical” books, a workshop, and a small theater.
Translating Mies: Barnstone and Houston Modernism
During the English architectural critic Reyner Banham’s last visit to Houston, to write about the Menil Collection by Renzo Piano (with Richard Fitzgerald, 1986), he observed the interrelationships among three generations of architects--Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Philip Johnson, and Howard Barnstone--who all left an indelible mark on modern architecture in Houston.
Making Houston Modern
Complex, controversial, and prolific, Howard Barnstone was a central figure in the world of twentieth-century modern architecture. Recognized as Houston’s foremost modern architect in the 1950s, Barnstone came to prominence for his designs with partner Preston M. Bolton, which transposed the rigorous and austere architectural practices of Mies van der Rohe to the hot, steamy coastal plain of Texas. Barnstone was a man of contradictions—charming and witty but also self-centered, caustic and abusive—who shaped new settings that were imbued, at once, with spatial calm and emotional intensity.
Docomomo US honors the call to condemn racism
At this time of profound sorrow and frustration over the murder of George Floyd, Docomomo US honors the call put forth by the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA), “to condemn racism and take an active role in eliminating the racial biases that account for a myriad of social, economic, and health disparities, and most importantly, result in the loss of human lives."
Alterations to Federal Mogul Building on the table
The former Federal Mogul Staff Office Building has been unoccupied since 2015. Earlier this year, the auto supplier company Marelli announced plans to move its headquarters to the international-style site, designed by architect Louis Rossetti, a protege of Albert Kahn. As part of the move, Marelli plans to spend millions of dollars renovating the building, including replacing the façade with a non-descript glass wall and removing the geometric columns encasing the original portion of the structure.
Saving the Sun-n-Sand Motel
The Mississippi Heritage Trust has been advocating for a preservation solution for the Sun-n-Sand Motel for over 15 years. The following excerpts, from the Spring issue of Elevation, the Journal of the Mississippi Heritage Trust, illustrate the preservation battle from a variety of perspectives.
Nestled within a bevy of towering trees on a quiet street in the heart of Jackson, Mississippi sits one of our state’s most meticulously preserved modern gems, the Falk House. Homeowner John Hooks recalls discovering the house when he was a mere 19 years old. “I remember thinking the place was mysterious and unique,” he remembers. “The house has an energy that’s very special, very powerful.”
Green Before Green Was Cool
If buildings today were designed following visionary Mississippi builder and designer Carroll Ishee’s principles, we would have more interesting communities that respected the natural environment instead of wreaking havoc on this limited resource. Ishee is said to have built over 150 buildings, most of which were houses, along the Mississippi Gulf Coast. He tackled tricky terrain and conquered challenging sites others deemed unbuildable. His love for nature is visible in his work which was designed using sustainable principles and crafted with natural materials long before “green” was the norm.
Docomomo US launches Architectural Photography Competition
The iconic images created by photographers of the mid-20th century have forever shaped the way we view great works of modernism. Now Docomomo US invites you to put your own photographic imprint on modernism through the "I Spy Modernism" photo competition.
Deep South Modern
The first image that comes to mind when many Americans picture Mississippi’s landmark architecture is probably white-columned antebellum mansions built by wealthy cotton planters. But Mississippi’s historically agricultural economy boomed with new industry in the 20th century, and that gave rise to a diverse and complex architectural landscape. Jennifer Baughn, who along with Michael Fazio recently co-authored the book Buildings of Mississippi, explores some of Mississippi's modernist landmarks.