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.
Docomomo US/Minnesota seeks research intern
The Docomomo US/Minnesota chapter seeks a temporary research intern to work with the Docomomo US/MN Registry Committee to identify potential contexts, themes, important builders, and geographic areas relating to the modern movement in need of further research.
Midland, Michigan: A Midcentury Modern Architectural Dream
Many cities have landmarks or elements that distinguish them from every other city or place. Midland, Michigan is unique because of the unbelievable quality and concentration of structures that create a cohesive expression of modernism in the Midwest.
16th International Docomomo Conference Postponed
Docomomo Japan and Docomomo International together regrettably came to a decision to postpone the 2020 conference for a year. The team continues to carefully monitor the situation in order to make a decision in setting a new schedule for the postponed conference.
Creating a Virtual Accessibility Experience at Frank Lloyd Wright's Hollyhock House
Frank Lloyd Wright’s Hollyhock House, one of eight Wright sites inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list in 2019, recently implemented a new Virtual Accessibility Experience (VAE) created by AVA Inclusivity. The Los Angeles-based company, founded in 2017 by Astrid Reed and Gregg Leonard, worked with members of the City of Los Angeles’ Department of Cultural Affairs and Department on Disability to meet the City’s standards and needs.
Take a trip through 1970s Minnesota
This year's Docomomo US Advocacy Theme is the '70s Turn 50. The Docomomo US/Minnesota has made it easy for your to explore modern in Minnesota by highlighting the state's 1970s sites on their Registry Map. Travel through 1970s Minnesota by navigating the map or clicking the plus sign next to “70s Selections” to browse by type, then let them know which sites of the '70s should make the top ten list!
Stay modern while staying home with these virtual resources
In the past month, historic sites, museums, nonprofits, and cultural institutions have shown their resiliency by rapidly transitioning to provide online resources for their audiences during this time of social distancing. It's a lot to keep track of, and we know you just want the good stuff - so we've done the hard work and compiled some of the best modern resources in one place for you. From virtual tours to YouTube channels to academic journals, we hope this list keeps you occupied until it's safe to meet again in person.
Doris Curry and Jacques Brownson House
Jacques Calmon Brownson has received praise for his civic buildings, especially as chief architect of the award-winning Chicago Civic Center (1965, renamed Richard J. Daley Center in 1979) during his time with C. F. Murphy Associates. In the 1990s, Paul Gapp, architecture critic at the Chicago Tribune, listed it among the city’s ten most important postwar works of architecture.
Ellen Newby and Lambert Ennis House
The house William Deknatel designed for prominent Northwestern University English literature professor Lambert H. Ennis and his spouse, Ellen Newby Ennis, reflects Deknatel’s training at the Taliesin Fellowship. Deknatel—along with his spouse, Geraldine, John H. Howe, and Wesley Peters—was among the charter applicants for membership at Wright’s school when it was established in 1932. While in temporary quarters, he and his colleagues worked directly under Wright on construction of the Fellowship buildings. This gave Deknatel hands-on experience with Wright before setting out to establish his own practice.
Lucile Gottschalk and Aaron Heimbach House
The house for Dr. Aaron and Lucile Gottschalk Heimbach in the city of Blue Island, south of Chicago, is one of a handful of single-family houses designed by Bertrand Goldberg. After starting his own independent practice with the commission of the Harriet Higginson House (1935) in the city of Wood Dale (northwest of Chicago), he designed this family residence and physician’s office.
Modern in the Middle: Chicago Houses 1929-1975
Modern in the Middle: Chicago Houses 1929–75, co-authored by Susan Benjamin and Michelangelo Sabatino, is the first survey of the classic twentieth-century houses that defined American Midwestern modernism. The authors survey dozens of influential houses by architects whose contributions are ripe for reappraisal, such as Paul Schweikher and Winston Elting, Harry Weese, Keck & Keck, and William Pereira. Offered for the first time here is a excerpt of four selected homes that we hope will expand your understanding of modern in the middle.
Michael McKinnell, in Memoriam
When we started the Heroic Project in 2007 there was a very good chance that Boston’s City Hall, which had been in a state of active neglect for over a decade, was in danger of being sold and demolished. The prevailing attitude to the building then was that it was the ugliest in the world, as certified by the now-defunct website virtualtourist.com. It was at this moment that my co-authors reached out to the office of Kallmann, McKinnell & Wood to talk through the origins of the building, the competition, and the resulting structure.
Nine ways you can support Modernism while social distancing
If you're looking for ways to support issues you care about in these challenging times, here's a list of nine ways you can help while social distancing. Many of these items could apply not just to Docomomo but to other historic preservation organizations as well.
Storm brewing over Noguchi's 'Landscape of Clouds'
Isamu Noguchi's artwork in the midcentury skyscraper at 666 Fifth Avenue (originally the Tishman Building) has not escaped the pressures of the New York City real estate market. It has been modified over the years to maintain the building's profitability. Now, the current owner wants to remove Noguchi's work completely.
Coalition urges preservation of Rudolph's Hurley Building
Docomomo US/New England and the Boston Preservation Alliance have issued individual letters to the Massachusetts Historical Commission, which will soon decide the fate of Paul Rudolph's Boston Government Services Center. Letters from Docomomo US
Docomomo US joins Climate Heritage Network
Docomomo US has signed on as an endorsing organization of the Climate Heritage Network, a voluntary, mutual support network of local and city, state/provincial and regional, indigenous peoples’, and national arts, culture and heritage governmental and quasi-governmental boards, offices, ministries and site management agencies as well as NGOs, universities, businesses and other organizations committed to aiding their communities in tackling climate change.