Revisiting Urban Renewal
Empire State Plaza in Albany, NY, under construction. 1971
Vladimir Ossipoff’s Grand Lanai at Honolulu International Airport
This Docomomo US Regional Spotlight article offers some historic background and insight on a key contribution by Hawaiian modern architect Vladimir Ossipoff (1907-1998). In general, Ossipoff’s architecture consistently fused the climate, topography and culture of Hawai‘i like no other over his over 6 decades of practice solely in the islands. His design sensibility was timeless, elegant and usually understated.
The Hawaii State Capitol
In the 1960s, the partnership of the Hawaii architecture firm Lemmon, Freeth, Haines and Jones, their joint venture of Belt, Lemmon and Lo, and San Francisco’s John Carl Warnecke and Associates were selected to design the new Hawaii State Capitol Building. The resulting building in the Hawaiian International Architecture style was devoid of the classic rotunda featured in most capitol buildings, instead utilizing an open-air rotunda that invites the sun, trade winds, and the occasional rainbow into the lofty, emblematic space. The design symbolized natural beauty while breaking many boundaries of architectural design both in Hawaiʻi and across the United States.
Ala Moana Center Re-rearranged
Parking at Ala Moana Center can be a nightmare. Even for those of us that have been going there for decades, finding a store can be almost as challenging. As kids, we all knew where all the important things were: the sculptures to play on, the deli with the tasty sandwiches, the koi ponds, the hippie store with the imports from India, and the book/record store. It was a adventure to go into “town” to shop at the mall. Even after changes to Ala Moana in the early 80s, finding the cute shop with the funky international jewelry, or familiar “local” drug store or any of the three department stores was not tricky. Navigation was easy. On the lower level, almost all the shops (HOPACO and its glorious pens!) were located on the outer perimeter of the mall building. On the upper level, shops were all along the main open passageway, with a few accessible from the parking side, easy! The mall’s appearance now - muddled and confusing from all the years of updates, is an unfortunate result of its more than sixty years of success.
Preserving Hawaii's Post War Commercial Development (2022 update)
Shopping centers built between the 1950s through the 1970s on the island of Oahu are unique examples of Modernist architecture in Hawaii. They comprise the majority of large-scale commercial buildings on Oahu and amongst the other islands, which experienced a different level of commercial impact from tourism during the post-war era.
Sunny Spotlight: Modernism in Hawaii
In the decades immediately following World War II Hawaii exploded into the modern era. This remote island chain in the north Pacific suddenly found itself in the midst of global activity with the advent of passenger jet service to Honolulu and the laying of the trans-Pacific telephone cable, both of which contributed to more closely linking the United States with its newest state. The architecture of the islands, keeping pace with its society, assumed an increasingly modern flair, while continuing to embrace the Islands’ strong regional design tradition.
From Luxurious Hotel to Luxury Apartments: The Legacy of 2500 Carlisle NE
In August of 2020, an unexpected sight debuted along interstate I-40 in Albuquerque, New Mexico: a sign for the BLVD2500 Luxury Apartments. Since 1971, 2500 Carlisle Boulevard NE has been the address of a modern architectural curiosity, a story that begins in the 1960s.
Engineering a Legacy: Sergio Acosta Remembered
Identifying a project by its architect is a common occurrence; it's easy to associate a building with a single name. But a project is rarely the result of a singular vision. It's the result of a collaboration between the client, architects, engineers, and contractors for a specific site and defined problem. Among those unsung engineers is Sergio Acosta.
Regional Modernism in the Evolution of Educational Design at UNM
Founded in 1889, the University of New Mexico (UNM) is known for the balance and adherence to a Southwestern design identity that’s persisted throughout its 130+ years of architectural development. Upon first impression, the UNM main campus does not invoke the sense of architectural design variation that many campuses do; the modernist elements of the campus may not be initially apparent.
A Sense of Place: Don Schlegel, FAIA
Don P. Schlegel, FAIA, is remembered by many as a mentor and credited with teaching a significant number of the practicing architects in Albuquerque. Schlegel spent the majority of his architectural career teaching on the University of New Mexico’s (UNM) Albuquerque campus and was a key figure in the establishment of the university's School of Architecture and Planning.
Sunbelt Modern: Albuquerque's Regional Modernism
Albuquerque's modernist architecture, spanning the pre-war period into today, has only recently begun to be recognized and contextualized for the roles it has played in the city's development. The city government commissioned its first survey of mid-century modern architectural resources in 2013, followed closely thereafter by the study of select structures by a University of New Mexico architecture class. As interest has grown, new resources and research have emerged from a growing group of enthusiasts, preservationists, architects, and historians. This Regional Spotlight aims to contribute to this expanding pool of resources documenting Modern ABQ.
The Design/Build Movement in Vermont
In the late 1950s and early 1960s there was an efflorescence of ski resorts across the USA. In Vermont the pastime was in its heyday with 81 ski areas operating in 1966. Not the least of which were the Sugarbush, Glen Ellen, and Mad River Glen resorts in the Mad River Valley. Nestled between the two ranges of the Green Mountains, it was a groovy place to ski and be seen. Young professionals and hip suburbanites were drawn to the area for its low-key charms and great skiing. It was this atmosphere that drew a group of adventurous young graduates of the Yale School of Architecture to the area to try their hand at design, building and developing weekend houses for the ski set.
Modern Architecture Comes to Norwich, Vermont
The town of Norwich, Vermont has a deep and rich developmental history dating back to the mid-18th century. As the town grew over the next century, its residents built houses in the Georgian, Federal, and Greek Revival styles. There was little new construction in Norwich during the period of population loss in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and as a result there are few examples of Victorian, Arts and Crafts, Art Deco, or bungalow-style buildings in the town. Between 1944 and 1974, however, development began again, and low-slung homes of the style now known as Midcentury Modern were built on the hillsides in Norwich.
Vermont's First Female Architect, Ruth Reynolds Freeman
The Gutterson Fieldhouse at the University of Vermont. St. Mark Catholic Parish on North Avenue. The Given Medical Building of the UVM College of Medicine. The NBT Bank on Bank Street. The Sustainability Academy at Lawrence Barnes. Ohavi Zedek Synagogue. Rice Memorial High School. What do all these greater Burlington buildings from the 1940s, '50s and '60s have in common? All of them — and hundreds more around Vermont — were designed by one architect: Ruth Reynolds Freeman.
Green Mountain Modern
Think of Vermont, and what comes to mind? Most likely a decidedly nostalgic vision of quaint villages, white churches with tall steeples, picturesque farmsteads with red barns and cows grazing in green fields, and covered bridges crossing meandering rivers. This is all true, but it’s not the complete story. Believe it or not, the 20th century did happen in Vermont and left its own unique imprint on our built environment.
The Impact of a Local Architect: Ward Whitwam’s South Dakota Legacy
Local architects in the modern era could have tremendous impact on the built landscape of their communities. In post-WWII South Dakota, there were only a handful of architectural firms in-state that were very active, though that pool of professionals expanded some into the 1960s and beyond. A unique contributor to modern architecture in South Dakota, and in particular the city of Sioux Falls, was the architect Ward Whitwam, who recently passed away in January 2021.
Modernist Standouts among the Catholic Churches in South Dakota
Our society learns to appreciate past architectural styles in waves, and landmark buildings attract attention earlier than other types of structures. In the mid-20th century, the Catholic Church in South Dakota invested in a handful of worship spaces that stand out in the top tier of Modernist ecclesiastical design for the state, making them an excellent introduction to architecture of the Modern movement in South Dakota.
Get to know South Dakota Modern
Historical context for modern sites in South Dakota is still in its fledgling stages and recognition of modern resources within the general population of South Dakota is still a hill to climb, and, for those outside the state, awareness of this history is likely negligible. Writing this set of spotlight articles has served as a way for the staff of the South Dakota SHPO to expand their knowledge about Modernism, and they are our humble way to introduce South Dakota to the wider Modern Movement audience.
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.