NEWSLETTER

Edward Durell Stone: A Belated Appreciation by Hicks Stone

Edward Durell Stone: A Belated Appreciation by Hicks Stone

Pops-Hicks-Agrigento-1959Edward Durell Stone was my father. Father and I had a tenuous and at times a difficult relationship. He would have found it both comically improbable and deeply touching if he had been aware that I had written his biography. Even though our relationship was distant, I had a closely-held but deeply-seated admiration for his achievements. The underlying impetus to write his biography extends back to my childhood in New York during the 1960s. Anyone who came of age during those years recalls them as a time when activists would champion the rights of people unjustly relegated to living life at the margins of society. It was this sensitivity to injustice and an activist’s desire to right wrongs that set me on the course that led me to submit a proposal to Rizzoli for my father’s biography in the spring of 2008. Simply stated, Father has been unfairly treated for over a half-century, and the time for him to be accorded the simple decency, recognition and respect that he deserves from the architectural community is long overdue.

 

 

Columbus Update: Civic Inspiration at the Right Scale

By Richard McCoy

The last time Docomomo US checked in on Columbus, Indiana, T. Kelly Wilson gave us an update on the establishment of the Indiana University Center for Art+Design (IUCA+D) and his efforts to leverage the design heritage and seven modern National Historic Landmarks in the community to create a ‘laboratory for design’ and to teach a new generation of students how to work at the intersection of art and design in the middle of America -- “Notes on Columbus, Indiana” (August 2013 Newsletter). 

Photo (left): Entrance to Columbus City Hall. Photo Courtesy Hadley Fruits

Farewell to Jordan Gruzen

Jordan Gruzen, one of New York's most prolific architects, passed away after a battle with cancer on January 27 at the age of 80. Part of a father/son practice that began in the 1930s and became know for its civic center projects such as 1 Police Plaza, Chatham Terrace towers, and Chatham Green. Gruzen's death also brought to an end his long-standing partnership with Peter Samton who said, "Jordan died very much as he lived. The ultimate optimist." Read the full New York Times obituary here. 

Photo (left): The Jersey Journal

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Watergate: Washington D.C.'s Town within a City

"We wanted to do something different"


2015 marks the 50th anniversary of a landmark in urban planning: Washington, DC’s town within a city known as the Watergate.

By Gary Parker

Too big. Too tall. Too modern. Too different. 

Everything about the Watergate, the town within a city on the banks of the Potomac, was revolutionary. Hard to imagine now, when the brass ring of urban building is the grand mixed-use project (like the dazzling CityCenterDC – a 21st-century version of the Watergate). 

Berkeley Art Museum Vacates Brutalist Building

By Lacey Bubnash

On December 21, 2014, the Berkeley Art Museum1permanently closed its iconic Modern building in preparation for a move to a nearby new building in 2016. Considered by many to be the Bay Area’s most remarkable example of Brutalism, the structure was known for its unfinished concrete forms and cantilevered interior galleries that radiate out around a large, sky lit atrium. Although the building is a local landmark and listed on the National Register, its intricate concrete forms pose seismic safety risks, leaving a future for the building unclear.

Photo (left): View of skylights over atrium. Credit: Mary Brown, DOCOMOMO US/NOCA.

Cuba on the Rise

Cuba is a hot topic following the announcement by President Obama of restored diplomatic relations and relaxed travel restrictions between the U.S. and Cuba. Within the world of architecture, the most important development has been the passing of esteemed architect Ricardo Porro whose legacy was the creation of Cuba's National Art Schools. Along with these developments, Docomomo US is exploring the possibility an educational tour of Cuba in the Fall of 2015, and there have been a rise in the number of noteworthy articles covering modernism in Cuba.

Photo (left): "Unfinished Spaces" by Alysa Nahmias and Benjamin Murray featured in the Dec. 29, 2014 article of The New York Times

The Tyrone Guthrie Theater

By Jane King Hession
All images are courtesy of the Ralph Rapson Papers (N187), Northwest Architectural Archives, University of Minnesota Libraries, Minneapolis.
 
When it debuted in 1963, the Tyrone Guthrie Theatre put Minneapolis on the national cultural map and ushered in a new era in American regional theater. The opening night performance of Hamlet by the talented repertory company riveted the audience, but the Guthrie’s new modern building dazzled as well. Designed by architect Ralph Rapson, it was like nothing anyone had seen before. 
 
Photo (left): The Tyrone Guthrie Theatre with original screen. Photograph by Warren Reynolds.

The Modern Theatre

By Meredith Arms Bzdak
 
The twentieth century brought new forms of drama and successive waves of technological advancement to the world of theatre. Architecturally, by mid-century, it also brought experimentation. The theatres and performing arts spaces designed and built in the 1950s, 60s, and 70s represent a range of Modern styles, from Neo-Expressionism to Brutalism. By definition, many of these theatres are now historic, having reached fifty years of age. Some have been recognized for their outstanding historical or architectural significance (Jorn Utzon’s Sydney Opera House, completed in 1973, was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2007) and a handful are world renowned as important cultural landscapes (New York City’s own Lincoln Center), but many more are misunderstood or underappreciated. In fact, pieces of this heritage are increasingly threatened. 
 
Photo (left): The Morris Mechanic Theater in Baltimore, Maryland

The Grain Silo plopped atop the Alley

By Ben Koush
First published in the Houston Chronicle on December 17, 2014 
 
How inept is Houston at preserving its historic buildings? As a case study, consider what ought to be a best-case scenario: The Alley Theatre, one of the city's most culturally and architecturally significant buildings now finds itself in the middle of a $46.5 million remodeling job.
 
Photo (left): Proposed rendering of The Alley Theater. Credit: The Alley Theater.
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