An old(ish) Kentucky home gets a new chance
The Lexington Herald Leader put it correctly when they stated that "For the architecture world, there is a collective sigh of relief that one of the most iconic residences in the world, which has had a tumultuous decade, could be safe for now," after the Miller House in Lexington, Kentucky was sold at auction to a buyer who has expressed interest in preserving the home and possibly finding ways to share it with the public.
From the brink of demolition to a new purpose in life
Perhaps not be the best news for preservationist purists, but good news for adaptive reuse advocates, the once-threatened Brutalist Coral Gables Police and Fire Station will be repurposed as a the Mercedes-Benz of Coral Gables' new dealership’s new showroom and office.
Who’s Modern? / What’s Modern? Mabel O. Wilson and Jack Pyburn to give keynote address at 2021 National Symposium
The Docomomo US 2021 National Symposium, “Chicago: Crossroads of Modern America,” will feature a joint keynote address by Mabel O. Wilson and Jack Pyburn that considers how race and the African American experience have been impacted by the Modern Movement and looks at the origins of how history is determined to be significant or valuable, that may in turn lead us to reconsider what we preserve.
A Postwar Vision for a Modern Milwaukee
In the years immediately following World War II, there was a concerted effort in Milwaukee to construct new arts, sports, and cultural facilities. These projects were promoted by city and county politicians, business leaders, and civic groups as amenities to serve local residents and showpieces to elevate Milwaukee’s status as a major city. All played a role in cultivating Milwaukee’s identity, and some even made a significant contribution to the city’s architectural heritage. The three buildings discussed below continue to serve in their original capacities and are some of the city’s most visible symbols of the Modern Movement.
Milwaukee Roots: Frank Lloyd Wright’s Seminal Designs for the Modern American Home
The curator of the “American System-Built Homes” on West Burnham Street in Milwaukee examines Frank Lloyd Wright’s blend of proportion, materials, social reform, and nature in these seminal homes that mark Wright’s earliest gesture of modern architecture to a broad audience. Concepts developed and tested on The Burnham Block infuse Wright’s thinking for the rest of his life and continue to shape modern architecture to this day.
The Mitchell Park Domes: Milwaukee's Public Modernist Marvel
The Mitchell Park Horticultural Conservatory, known as the "Domes," was designed in 1959 and constructed over the next eight years. Architect Donald L. Grieb's proposal for the cone-shaped domes was selected following a national competition. Its patented design has never been replicated, making the Domes unique in the world.
Sensitive, Contextual, Modern: Examining Works by Alonzo Robinson, Wisconsin’s First Black Architect
This essay examines three built works by Wisconsin’s First Black Registered Architect, Alonzo Robinson. Under-recognized for his distinct modern contributions to Milwaukee’s landscape, this piece takes a closer look at significant works from Robinson’s portfolio that represent his dedicated service to this city, his faith, and his community.
Beyond Cream City Brick: Modernism in Milwaukee
Milwaukee Moderns will introduce the diverse communities, progressive ideas and cultural leaders in Milwaukee during the twentieth century. This preview chronologically examines five iconic modern Milwaukee buildings through the lens of the pioneering architects, designers, activists, and community leaders that pushed for design reform and advocated for architectural innovation.
The Docomomo International Journal is now open source
Following the limitations caused by the COVID-19 pandemic that closed libraries, bookstores, schools, universities and learning spaces all overs the world, Docomomo International endeavored to transform its signature publication, the Docomomo Journal into an open source format, making its contents available to all readers.
Trenton, NJ's Brutalist buildings being torn down for surface parking
Trenton, New Jersey’s Brutalist Health and Agriculture buildings are being demolished as we speak, making way for the urban blight of surface parking. In 2016, then Governor Chris Christie announced a major state office construction plan that would replace three buildings, including two built for the combined use of the state’s health and agriculture departments. Local civic activists came together as Stakeholders Allied for the Core of Trenton, calling for a redesign of the new building plan, in the manner of 21st century development.
Shop Docomomo US recommended titles through Bookshop.org
Bookshop.org is an online bookstore with a mission to financially support local, independent bookstores. Docomomo US has set up a storefront where you can purchase recommended readings for our Mission for Modernism events, seasonal book lists, and annual themes.
Docomomo US Communications Survey 2021
We know you get a lot of emails. In keeping with the modern belief that less is more, Docomomo US has always aimed for quality over quantity. Please complete this short survey to help us gage how we’re doing and to continue providing communications that are relevant to you.
Docomomo US/NOCA now accepting applications for 2021 National Symposium grant
The Docomomo US/NOCA Symposium Grant provides financial support for students and emerging professionals committed to the documentation and conservation of Modern Movement buildings, landscapes, and sites. The intent of this year’s scholarship is to enable up to three individuals to participate in the Docomomo US 2021 National Symposium.
Kickstarter campaign to reissue The Notebooks and Drawings of Louis I. Kahn
Originally published in 1962 and out of print for almost 50 years, The Notebooks and Drawings of Louis I. Kahn was the first book on influential 20th-century American architect Louis Kahn (1901–74) to feature his own images and words and offers a unique window onto Kahn’s early creative process. Among the books of his own work published during his lifetime, it is the one that the architect most treasured, the one that he felt got his work—and his thinking—right.
Docomomo US joins international campaign advocating for Weyerhaeuser Campus
Docomomo US joins The Cultural Landscape Foundation (TCLF) plus a growing list of leading landscape architects, architects, and scholars in speaking out on threats to the "finest corporate campus in the world," the Weyerhaeuser Campus in Washington State.
A Path to Postmodern: The Abrams House, a Pittsburgh Legacy
Director of the Rauh Jewish History Program & Archives at the Heinz History Center of Pittsburgh takes us on a ‘visit’ to the Betty and Irving Abrams home designed in 1979-82 by Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown and explores the broader trends of Jewish patronage for modern architecture along the neighborhood’s infamous Woodland Road, and throughout the region. Recently a contentious local preservation issue, the property’s new owner wants the dwelling dismantled and removed from their property. The preservation community reacted in disagreement, noting the grave loss of an important postmodern design in a particular context.
Troy West, Advocate Architect
In conducting research for the exhibition Imagining the Modern: Architecture and Urbanism of the Pittsburgh Renaissance at the Carnegie Museum of Art’s Heinz Architectural Center and the subsequent book, we made it a priority to meet some of the key players active during this critical time in Pittsburgh’s renewal. Among the most surprising discoveries was Troy West. West was a surprise not just for his bold body of work, but for the participatory process by which they were created. His built legacy in Pittsburgh could be considered scant, but his influence on the city, the way architecture is taught, and the definition of a modernist architect is far more profound.
Imani’s Indomitable Home: A Meditation on Modern Architectural Design
A local leader in education with a keen eye for Brutalism shares a visionary, preservationminded love poem of the open-plan structure that welcomes and inspires his students from lowincome communities - designed with a groundbreaking concept in 1972 by Tasso Katselas, Pittsburgh’s most prolific modern architect.
Hidden in Plain Sight: Kiley’s Sarah Scaife Gallery Landscape
Through the lens of a contemporary, award-winning landscape architect-designer, we explore and examine a 1974 project by Dan Kiley, painstakingly crafted in tandem with architect Edward Larrabee Barnes, enhancing the site of one of Pittsburgh’s most epic cultural institutions in the Carnegie legacy, and most successful modernist additions in a U.S. art museum.
Walter L. Roberts, Black Modern Architect in Pittsburgh
Recently retired archivist of Carnegie Mellon University’s Architecture Archives offers a glimpse into the professional career and Pittsburgh-rooted portfolio of Walter L. Roberts, a multi-talented, unsung architect of the region who made a diverse, modernist mark including with Westinghouse Electric, community housing and facilities, industrial design firms and more.
In between Rivers: Pittsburgh's Modern Milieu
Chair of the Pittsburgh Modern Committee of Preservation Pittsburgh introduces ‘Pittsburgh’s Modern Milieu’ with an impression of the city and region’s modern and postmodern resources, initiatives, challenges and curiosities – along with a summary of the spotlight series, which touches on the ongoing Docomomo US themes: the Diversity of Modernism and the 1970s turn 50, amongst other topics. (+ plus announcing the launch of a special collaboration-series of limited edition screen-prints of Pittsburgh modernist gems!).
Docomomo US Response to President Trump’s Executive Order on Promoting Beautiful Civic Architecture
In a year in which the United States of America has been ravaged by the worst pandemic in a century and economic devastation that may take generations to repair, Docomomo US is disturbed and appalled by the December 21, 2020 announcement of the Executive Order on Promoting Beautiful Federal Civic Architecture
No Place Like Home: Modern Residential Design in Kansas
When one thinks of Kansas, a hotbed of progressive design is likely not the first descriptor that comes to mind. One usually thinks of the Wizard of Oz, figures like Dwight D. Eisenhower, and perhaps the origin of fast food pizza (Pizza Hut). That said, a deeper review of architecture and design brings to the forefront the breadth of modernism that can be found throughout the state.
Air Capital Modernists: Schaefer Schirmer Eflin
In October of 2020, in the middle of the Covid-19 Pandemic, the Wichita Public Library, likely the first Brutalist building designed in the state of Kansas, became the state’s first Beton Brut building added to the National Register of Historic Places. The Library nomination was rushed through, along with a separate nomination for the adjacent Century II Performing Arts and Convention Center by concerned citizens against the wishes of developers and City officials.
Plains Modern: Postwar Architecture in Kansas
Kansas, the 15th largest state by area, resides at the geographical center of the continental United States. “The Sunflower State” combines mostly family-owned farms and ranches with the robust aviation industry that made the state a strategic military training center during World War II. Paralleling this, between 1941 and 1956 the population of Kansas’s largest city, Wichita, doubled from 115,000 to 240,000 during the peak years of postwar modernism.
Thank you for making the be:cause modern auction a huge success
We are happy to report that the first-ever Docomomo US silent auction was a resounding success. The total amount raised towards our cause of continuing to save the modern sites you love was $28,188! A sincere thank you to all of our donors, many of which are long-standing friends, members, foundations and architectural firms, and congratulations to all of the winners!