Honoring Two Great Modernists


Newsletter December
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As we reflect on the impact and legacies of John Johansen and Oscar Niemeyer, we thought we share some of the published work for the Docomomo International Journal and the Docomomo US E-News related to both architects.




Most recently, Docomomo US carried the ongoing story on Johansen’s endangered Stage Center Theater (originally called the Mummer’s Theatre) in Oklahoma City and the local movement to reuse and reopen the site. Another Johansen theater, the Morris A. Mechanic Theater in Baltimore, was also featured in a Docomomo US news piece. A longer piece on the modern homes in New Canaan entitled, In the Shadow of the Glass House written by Gwen North Reiss includes a concluding segment about Johansen’s demolished Dickinson House. “Demolished under the cover of darkness” Ms. North Reiss states “two members of Docomomo’s New York Chapter, who had hoped to include the house in a tour, came upon it in an ominous state – doors opened, trees cleared. The next morning, it was gone.” But she continues quoting Johansen himself in his usual upbeat manner, “I still have all the plans and drawings for my houses. If anyone wants to build one, I’ll offer my services free.”

The work of Oscar Niemeyer and the efforts to document and preserve his buildings has been discussed and published by Docomomo many times of the course of the last two decades. The first of which includes the Journal 23 (August 2000) entitled The Modern City Facing the Future in which involves a critical reassessment of modern planning principals and practice both in Brasilia and beyond. The companion Sixth International Docomomo Conference Proceedings (September 2000) includes a number of papers on the work of Oscar Niemeyer and Lucio Costa. Ten years later celebrating Brasilia’s 50 years, Docomomo Journal 43 (2010) “reflects both on the incomprehension of the critic and the happiness of the inhabitants.” Finally although not a Docomomo published piece, we found this wonderful documentary by Motherboard TV entitled Oscar Niemeyer 101 that is well worth its 10 minutes of reflection.