The Vert-A-Pac

By: A.M. Liles AIA with Stuart Hurt
Image Credit: All images copyright 2013 General Motors LLC. Used with permission, GM Media Archive.

Relying on calculations, engineers use geometric forms, satisfying our eyes through geometry and our minds through mathematics; their works are on the way to great art.

Le Corbusier, Towards an Architecture.

Docomomo US National Symposium 2014: Houston, Texas

Docomomo US and Houston Mod are pleased to announce the second annual Docomomo US National Symposium will take place in Houston, Texas from March 13-15, 2014. Save the dates for what will be a lively and surprising context for the examination of modernism's legacy, and consideration of its future, in Houston and in Texas. Additional information, including tours and presentations, is forthcoming and will be available on the Docomomo US and National Symposium websites.
Photo: University of St. Thomas, Philip Johnson 1958

Mid-Century Modern Schools in Manhattan

By: Erica Mollon

Unlike suburban schools, the public schools constructed in the years following World War II in Manhattan were designed to accommodate the specific challenges and needs of the urban environment. These schools, now of preservation age, continue to be underappreciated resources. 

Photo: JHS 22 Gustave Straubenmuller, Kelly & Gruzen, 1955-59, credit: Tianchi Yang


Lewis and Clark Branch Library Slated for Demolition

By: Lindsey Derrington

The Lewis and Clark Branch Library, completed in 1963, was once the pride of the St. Louis County Library system. Designed by architect Frederick Dunn, FAIA with stunning stained glass windows by master artist Robert Harmon, it was constructed as part of a progressive mid-century building program which sought to re-envision libraries in the postwar era. Yet today, as it celebrates its fiftieth birthday, the building’s future hangs in the balance under the threat of demolition.
Photo (left): Exterior View, Main Facade, Northeast Corner, credit: Lindsey Derrington

Englewood Public Library

By: Adi Sela Wiener

Located in Englewood, NJ, the Englewood Public Library (Delnoce Whitney Goubert, 1968) is one of the architectural gems of the city. The library still serves in its original use and offers full services for both communities of the City of Englewood and the Borough of Englewood Cliffs. The building remains in a very good physical condition and it is almost intact even after almost fifty years of use. 
Photo (left): The circular Englewood Public Library, View from Engle Street, Southwest, credit: Adi Sela Wiener, August 2012

Edward Durell Stone's Vermont Campus

By Amy Lilly

Vermont is not known for its modern architecture. Whether that’s because the era — roughly the 1920s through the 1970s — corresponded to a statewide economic nadir or because Vermonters just didn’t care for the aesthetic is unclear. Either way, it’s difficult to imagine the Green Mountains as a setting for, say, the austere minimalism of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s Farnsworth House near Chicago, or the sleekly functional midcentury modern buildings designed by Richard Neutra in Palm Springs, Calif. But recent critical reappraisal of the era’s most prolific American architect, Edward Durell Stone, has brought new appreciation to a little-known treasure of Vermont’s architecture: the Landmark College campus in Putney.

Notes on Columbus, Indiana

By T. Kelly Wilson

Columbus, Indiana is home to a body of modern architectural achievements far in excess of what would be expected to be found within a city of 42,000 inhabitants.  Since 1942, well over 100 works of architecture, landscape architecture, urban design, interiors and public art, produced by internationally known practitioners have been built in the city.  In spite of this remarkable fact, the story of this designed fabric has more often been the basis of tourism articles in the popular press than the topic of substantive consideration within the design professions.  Attention in occasional New York Times articles, NPR radio pieces, Good Morning America TV coverage, and a sixth place designation amongst cities in the United States for architecture by the American Institute for Architecture, signals that something, indeed, of significance has been occurring here for 70 years.  Yet, aside from being promoted as a tool for boosting tourism, little of the architectural or social significance of the modern buildings in Columbus is understood by the outside world.  

Oak Hills Historic District, Beaverton, Oregon

Authors: Kirk Ranzetta, Leesa Gratreak, Patience Stuart, URS Corporation

Oak Hills was a precedent-setting master-planned community in the Portland, Oregon metropolitan area in the 1960s and early 1970s. The Planned Unit Development (PUD) is distinguished by its harmonious combination of clustered residences, open space, circulation patterns that balanced both pedestrian and automobile needs, and the architectural eclecticism emblematic of mid-1960s land use planning and architectural design. Oak Hills is Oregon’s first designated mid-century modern Historic District, celebrating its recent 2013 listing in the National Register of Historic Places.

El Lissitzky's Ogonyok Printing Plant Under Threat

Lissitzky's horizontal skyscrapers (left) & their placement around the boulevard ring (right)
Letter requesting Lissitzky to design the printing plant (left) & Lissitzky's signature on design plans (right)
Lissitzky's design for Ogonyok Printing Plant (left) & realized portion of his plans in red (right)
Ogonyok covered in scaffolding. | Source: Photo: Natalia Melikova 18 June 2013
The central part of Ogonyok effectively gutted. | Source: Photo: Elena Olshanskaya 5 June 2013
The flags of Inteko, Russia, & the Moscow government representated at the site of the new development. | Source: Photo: Elena Olshanskaya 14 March 2011
Heavy machinery in operation at Ogonyok, a cultural heritage site. Photo: E.O. 17 Nov 2012 | Source: Photo: Elena Olshanskaya 17 Nov 2012
Original windows and walls knocked out for debris removal. | Source: Photo: Elena Olshanskaya 17 Nov 2012
Close proximity of Ogonyok & Lumiere territories; heating network in the courtyard of Zhurgaz building. | Source: Photo: Elena Olshanskaya 23 Feb 2013
Original wooden frames are thrown out as debris. | Source: Photo: Elena Olshanskaya 7 June 2013
Only the facade of building 17 c2 remains, recently clarified as part of 17 c1 (protected monument). | Source: Photo: Elena Olshanskaya 7 June 2013
Already rebuilding a roof? The sign outside says it's “prepratory work and removal of debris.” | Source: Photo: Elena Olshanskaya 16 July 2013
Only a skeleton remains of Ogonyok's central part; this is a “restoration of a cultural heritage site?” | Source: Photo: Natalia Melikova 18 June 2013
Lumiere (top left), territory of Ogonyok (bottom left), & Zhurgaz residential building (right). | Source: Photo: Natalia Melikova 18 June 2013
Zhurgaz building (17A) & Ogonyok (17 c1, 17 c2) are marked as cultural heritage sites, document from 2009.
BTN confirmed that Ogonyok is marked as 17 c1; in previous maps it was split up as 17 c1 & 17 c2, document from 11 July 2013
2008-2013: Ogonyok printing plant has had several addresses, complicating matters of what has protection
Despite the project being called a restoration, a recently restored facade has a different design and color from the original. | Source: Photo: Natalia Melikova 14 August 2013

Tour Day 2013 Sneak Peek

The seventh annual Docomomo US Tour Day event is just a few months away and as usual is filled with unique and exclusive events looking at important examples of modern architecture, sites, interiors and landscapes all across the country. While we won’t be announcing the full list of events until September, here is a sneak peek that will have you wishing you could be several places at once.  

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