Revisiting Urban Renewal
Empire State Plaza in Albany, NY, under construction. 1971
President's Column May 2023: Filling in an Embarrassing Gap
With close to a month left to our National Symposium in New Haven, Docomomo US President Robert Meckfessel admits an embarrassing secret; he has never been to New Haven. In this month’s President’s Column, read about what Bob is most excited to see when he visits this “architectural cornucopia” for the first time next month.
Proposed alterations to Harrison designed library in Princeton
The elegant Historical Studies and Social Sciences Library at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, built in the early 1960s by Wallace K. Harrison, is under threat. Resulting from an exemplary collaboration between the architect of the United Nations and the physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer, who headed the Institute, this graceful building is a well-kept secret, deeply ensconced in the recesses of the campus, invisible from the road and known only to its users. The minimalist vocabulary of the interior is striking, but the library's most salient feature is its inventive roof structure, which is at the core of the current crisis.
Presidents' Column March 2023: Finland — Immersion in a Concentrated Modernism
Interested in hearing more about Modern Travel: Finland? Docomomo US President Robert Meckfessel shares his own Finnish travel experience, a Modernist pilgrimage sure to “affirm one’s life as an architect”. Read more in this month’s President’s Column.
National Register Rejection Halts Thompson Center Preservation Work
After a precipitous, seven-year rollercoaster of preservation initiatives, the National Park Service has rejected a nomination of the James R. Thompson Center to the National Register of Historic Places. The rejection was primarily due to objections by the site owner, Prime Group.
Forgotten Modernism of Italy: Images from Andrea Brizzi
The Italian-born photographer and, of course, long-time Docomomo member, Andrea Brizzi has been capturing the built environment for 40 years. His most recent photography features a series of forgotten Modernist works in northern Italy and Sardinia.
President's Column January 2023: Revisiting Urban Renewal — a Challenge and an Opportunity
The Modern architecture movement in the United States has a rich but complicated history, one that Docomomo US is committed to explore, even as we advocate for its preservation. This history is closely intertwined with that of Modernism in Europe, but the post-war American version has its own flavor and context, driven by our own unique demographics, economics, cultures and politics. Out of that complex mix arose countless examples of innovative, thought-provoking architecture and landscape, both by transplanted Europeans and by our own home-grown American practitioners. Several aspects of that, however, are less admirable and merit further examination to understand the true and complete story of Modernism.
Fate of a "noble" structure by Gunnar Birkerts in question
The Alfred Noble Library is located in Livonia, Michigan just outside the City of Detroit. This Late Modern structure was designed by world-renowned architect Gunnar Birkerts. Although the previous administration promised that the local community would have input into the future of the building, the current mayor's office plans to request demolition in early 2023.
2023 Call for Articles
Docomomo US accepts article submissions on an ongoing basis for publication on our website and in our monthly newsletter on a wide range of issues concerning Modernism. In particular, this year we invite submissions on 2023 thematic focus of "Revisiting Urban Renewal" as well as explorations of Modernism in set design for TV and movies.
Shopping - and Touring - til we drop for Tour Day 2022
Tour Day 2022 featured over 30 tours across the country, many of them to sold out crowds. Docomomo US chapters, partners, and friend organizations embraced this year's theme of Shopping Malls, taking participants on tours of historic shopping centers both thriving and struggling, and hosting both virtual and in person lectures and book talks to explore the history and future of the classic American mall. Aside from malls, tours also features iconic modern sites and crowd-pleasing favorites.
Revisiting Urban Renewal
Urban and suburban development led to radical changes in the way we live, work, and gather. Docomomo US will explore the multifaceted theme of urban renewal as the 2023 annual theme seeking to revisit and better understand the complexity of the projects that were built, their positive and negative significance, and their impact today.
Holiday Book List 2022
Take a look at this year's holiday book list for recommended reading before our National Symposium in June, Complexities of the Modern American City. This year's list is packed with titles to contemplate our current urban environments, the issues they face, as well as the architects, planners and theororists who created them. As an added bonus, check out some of the titles that we've included to educate our future urbanists on what it means to design and construct thoughtful spaces.
Call for Abstracts: 2023 National Symposium New Haven
As we take in the cultural epicenter of New Haven, CT, for the 2023 National Symposium, we will consider the triumphs and complexities surrounding the design and building of the Modern American city and the impacts on our collective communities. Researchers, practitioners, and enthusiasts involved in the process of preservation, conservation, renovation or transformation of buildings, sites and neighborhoods of the Modern Movement are invited to submit abstracts of papers or full sessions that align with the stated thematic goals.
Honoring the Docomomo US Longstanding Members of 2022
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.
Milwaukee's Monumental Modernist Mosaics
How did Milwaukee, in the middle of the country, in the middle of the 20th-century, come to have some of the nation’s most inspiring and monumental mosaic murals? How is it that many churches, libraries, schools, government buildings and public spaces across Wisconsin have mural-sized mosaics fully integrated into the architectural surroundings? A close look at four mosaics commissioned in Milwaukee, at a time when modern art and architecture were capturing a new spirit of innovation and civic pride, reveals different approaches to using mosaic as an architectural art form and presents a unique perspective on the history of arts in Wisconsin.
President's Column September 2022: Looking Down the Road
Last April, the Docomomo US Board of Directors and staff assembled in Milwaukee for our first long-range planning retreat in five years, to consider the future of Docomomo US — our goals, aspirations, challenges, opportunities, and role in the future of preservation. This was sorely needed, especially since the context we work in has dramatically changed in the past five years, as we have dealt with COVID, a leadership transition, a dynamic political landscape, our own growth and expansion, and more.