Shopping - and Touring - til we drop for Tour Day 2022


Michele Racioppi


Docomomo US staff


Tour Day, Shopping Malls
Image details

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 such as Pennsylvania's Raymond Farm and Nakashima Woodworkers Studio, the Schweikher House in Schaumburg, IL, and midcentury architecture in Lake Jackson, TX. 

Thank you to everyone who joined us this year! Stay tuned for announcements of next year's event which will focus on the 2023 annual theme of "Revisiting Urban Renewal."

Hidden in Plain Sight: An Appreciation of Mid-Century Architecture in Downtown Lake Jackson

Houston Mod

Houston Mod in collaboration with the Lake Jackson Historical Association presented a lecture and walking tour of mid-century architecture in downtown Lake Jackson. The tour began at the recently restored Alden B. Dow Office Museum where Houston Mod board member and architectural historian, Marty Merritt, gave a presentation on the history of mid-century modern architecture in Lake Jackson.

Following the presentation, Mr. Merritt led a walking tour through downtown further discussing the history and architecture of historic buildings constructed in the mid-twentieth century. The tour lasted approximately an hour and concluded at the Lake Jackson Historical Museum where guests were encouraged to take a self-guided tour.

The event, part of Docomomo US Tour Day, was attended by 45 people, about half from Houston and half from Lake Jackson.

Raymond Farm Center and Nakashima Woodworkers in New Hope, PA

Japan America Society of Greater Philadelphia

On Sunday, October 23rd, participants in this sold-out tour visited Shofuso's "allied" sites in New Hope, Bucks County, PA. We learned about the Japanese design presence and influence in the region, through the story of the artistic collaboration and friendship between George Nakashima, architects Antonin and Noémi Raymond, and Junzo Yoshimura.

Thanks to our excellent guides, John DeFazio - Executive Director of the Raymond Farm Center, Mira Nakashima - President and Creative Director for George Nakashima Woodworker, and Bill Whitaker - curator and collections manager of the Architectural Archives of the University of Pennsylvania Weitzman School of Design, for leading us on this day of learning and discovery, and to everyone who attended the tour.

These historical treasures are less than one hour from Philadelphia and absolutely worth a visit. Check out Raymond Farm Center and Nakashima Woodworkers for more info, and keep an eye on JASGP program calendar for the next Shofuso-led tour!

Meet Me by the Fountain: An Inside History of the Mall - Book Talk & Conversation about Michigan’s Northland Center

Docomomo US/Michigan

Docomomo US/Michigan's Tour Day 2022 explored the history and future of shopping malls across the nation, with a focus on Michigan’s iconic Northland Center in Southfield. The event included a book talk and in-person conversations about Michigan's Northland Center. 

The in-person event began with a recorded talk by architecture critic, Alexandra Lange, author of the newly-released book, Meet Me by the Fountain: An Inside History of the Mall

Following the talk, Lange joined us on live via zoom for an additional conversation.  We had two featured speakers who gave in-person presentations: Megan McAdow, Director of the Marshall Fredericks Museum, and Bruce Kopytek, AIA NCARB, author of Hudson's: Detroit's World-Famous Department Store, and Chief Architect at Contour Companies. 

The Legacy of John Nicholas Brown: Mid Century Modern Architecture on Brown's Campus

Docomomo US/New England 

The Docomomo US/New England tour took place on Saturday, October 8, and the topic was "The Legacy of John Nicholas Brown: Mid Century Modern Architecture on Brown's Campus." The tour, led by chapter president Dietrich Neumann, included buildings by Philip Johnson, Shepley, Bulfinch, Richardson & Abbott, Rafael Vinoly, William Rawn and Donlyn Lyndon (of Moore, Lyndon, Turnbull, Whitaker). The tour began at the John Nicholas Brown Center at Brown University with a short lecture on John Nicholas Brown's legacy as a client of Richard Neutra (House Windshield on Fishers Island, 1938) and as chair of Brown's Architecture Committee through the 1960s.

There was 38 participants and we enjoyed lunch at the John Nicholas Brown Center afterwards.

NorthPark and the Nashers: A Walking Tour of a Historic Dallas Mall

Docomomo US/NTX

The Docomomo US/North Texas tour took place on Saturday October 15. Participants were treated to a unique experience with a tour personally led by Nancy Nasher, current NorthPark lead executive and daughter of Raymond and Patsy Nasher, the original mall developers and noted art collectors. Tip Housewright, FAIA, and Mark Dilworth, AIA, who played leading roles in the building design curation and additions over the years also provided commentary. 

Embarcadero as Urban Shopping Mall

Docomomo US/NOCA

For Tour Day 2022, Docomomo US/Northern California explored the strange, dizzying, and wonderful urbanism of John Portman's Embarcadero Center. In addition to being one of the largest office complexes in San Francisco, the Embarcadero Center features three floors of retail, services, landscaped plazas, and public art across five city blocks. Guided by five members of the chapter board--Hannah Simonson, Teresa Fok, Sarah Hahn, Barrett Reiter, and Anna Grune--we traversed pedestrian bridges, spiral staircases, and escalators through the often maze-like complex to appreciate the distinctly urban response to suburban retail trends of the 1960s and 1970s, as well as Portman's ability to choreograph drama and movement through complex three-dimensional spaces.

We sold out our tour with over 25 attendees and a huge waitlist, so we plan on holding additional runs of this tour in 2023! A self-guided version of the tour will be available on our website soon.

Join our newsletter for updates on future tour dates and the release of the self-guided tour. 

Revisit the Whitehall Mall, a “Shopping Gem of the Golden Era”

Society for Commercial Archeology (SCA)

For Tour Day 2022, SCA President Michael Hirsch guided nine attendees through the Whitehall Mall.  The Mall was one of the Lehigh Valley’s first malls when it opened in 1966. When it opened it had 52 stores including Sears, Weis Markets, Woolworth's, and Zollinger's.  The architect was Louis Collacocco of Philadelphia.  This was the developer’s (Donnelly & Suess’s) largest and most ambitious project.

The Mall is currently anchored by Kohl’s.  Sears closed recently; their last store closed in September 2022.  Outside the Mall, there is a Bed, Bath, and Beyond.  The mall directory says there are 22 stores.  COVID-19 caused the Old Country Buffet to close, and we are hopeful a new tenant will bring more life to this place.

Thanks to Andrew Danish, Gabriel Goodge, Ron Ladouceur, and Naoko Hara.   

Schweikher House Twilight Tour & Daytime Guided Tours

Schweikher House Preservation Trust

On Friday evening, October 7, the Schweikher House held a rare, sold out evening reception for 35 lucky guests. The evening featured an intimate experience in the house, hors d'ouevres and wine along with beautiful classical guitar by Brad Conroy. Guests experienced the historic home as if they were personally invited by the Schweikhers or Langsdorfs.

On the official Tour Day, Saturday October 8, daytime guided tours were provided.