The Modernism in America Awards program seeks to acknowledge the substantial economic and cultural impact such projects had and continue to have on our local communities and to set a standard for how preserving modern architecture can be accomplished. Through the awards program, Docomomo US seeks to bring attention to the many successful local, regional and national projects and thereby elevate an appreciation for the value of modern architecture to our cultural and architectural history.
Winners will be announced June 20, 2017.
Docomomo US invites submissions for the 2017 Modernism in America Awards. The awards celebrate the documentation, preservation and re-use of modern buildings, structures and landscapes built in the United States or on U.S. territory. The Awards recognize those building owners, design teams, advocacy and preservation organizations that have made significant efforts to retain, restore and advocate for the aesthetic and cultural value of such places.
Early nominations are due by March 1, 2017, and all nominations must be submitted by April 14, 2017.
This juried award recognizes informed, thoughtful and creative design efforts to preserve, restore or adapt a modern building, structure or landscape of local, regional or national significance, securing its presence for future generations. In the Design category the areas of consideration include: Residential, Commercial and Institutional or Civic architecture.
This juried award recognizes exceptional efforts to document, inventory and/or create a preservation plan for one or more modern buildings, structures or landscapes of local, regional or national significance.
Presented by the Docomomo US Board of Directors, this award recognizes outstanding efforts to preserve and advocate for threatened modern buildings, structures or landscapes of local, regional or national significance through advocacy efforts. This award seeks to recognize preservation and advocacy organizations and other groups (including Docomomo US chapters) who have gone above and beyond to work collectively and collaboratively to advocate for a modern site or structure.
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Eligibility and Guidelines
structuresand landscapes must be located in the United States or on U.S. territory and have originally been completed between 1940 and 1980. Please contact Docomomo US if you would like a building or site to be considered that falls outside of these parameters by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Nominations must be the work of architectural design teams, preservation and/or advocacy organizations and persons located in the United States.
- All submissions must demonstrate
significanceof the building or site if not listed on the National Register of Historic Places or recognized by local landmarking laws.
- Submissions should have preservation as a core component of the treatment, design concept and/or strategy.
- Special consideration will be given to submissions that showcase an informed, well-executed, thoughtful, creative and holistic approach to the preservation of modern architecture.
Design and Inventory/Survey Submissions
- Preservation, restoration or rehabilitation of modern building(s), structure(s) or landscape(s) must have been completed between January 1,
2012and April 14, 2017.
- For design projects, original construction materials and/or design intent must have been retained and/or restored. A significant loss of such may cause a submission to be deemed void.
- It is strongly recommended design submissions include before and after photographs taken from the same vantage point.
- It is strongly recommended design submissions include before and after floor plans where an addition or alteration has occurred. A site plan and/or section drawings can be included if relevant.
- Advocacy efforts should have been completed between January 1,
2012and April 14, 2017with an allowance for advocacy that is on-going.
- The building(s), structure(s) or landscape(s) that are the focus of the advocacy initiative must have been threatened with demolition or significant alteration.
- Advocacy efforts of multiple partners, persons or organizations that have gone above and beyond to work collectively and collaboratively are encouraged.
All nominations are to be submitted online via the following submission form and must include:
- Project Details and Contact Information: Name(s) and contact information of the nominator(s), design team(s) or organization(s) responsible for the project and the project owner(s) or client(s). A photo release form and project detail form are required for a complete submission.
- Narrative (up to 1000 words) should address the significance of the building(s), structure(s) or landscape(s), and the character-defining features of the building(s), structure(s) or landscape(s) that influenced the content or design of the project.
- Design projects: how
treatmentof materials, assemblies, finishes and interventions related to the preservation of the integrity of the historic fabric.
- Inventory/Survey projects: how the project contributes to the advancement of knowledge and awareness of modern resources; the realized and potential impacts of the project in regards to furthering the understanding and awareness of the contributions of modern resources to history.
- Advocacy projects: the scope of the advocacy efforts, impact on the site and community and the result of the work. Advocacy efforts will be given equal consideration in the case of preservation,
demolitionand on-going efforts.
- Minimum of six (6) images of the project subject, project itself, or a combination of the two.
- Before and after photos taken from the same vantage point (for Design Award submissions) are strongly encouraged.
- One image should be representative of the entire project or effort and suitable for publication.
- One image should be a relevant historic image.
- Descriptions of the images and image credits should accompany the files.
Floor plans/additional drawings
- For design submissions, before and after floor plans where an addition or alteration has occurred. A site plan and/or section drawings can be included if relevant.
- A $150 processing fee per nomination (waived for Advocacy Award) for submissions received by April 14, 2017.
- Nominations received on or before March 1,
2017will be extended an early discounted processing fee of $100 per nomination.
- Processing fees can be sent via Paypal or check payable to Docomomo US to PO Box 230977 New York, NY 10023.
Winners will be announced in June 2017. The Modernism in America awards ceremony will take place in the fall in New York City. Modernism in America projects
The 2017 Modernism in America Awards jury will be announced in the coming weeks.
The Civic/Institutional Design Award of Excellence is given for the restoration of Pittsburgh’s Mellon Square. Envisioned as a cornerstone of Pittsburgh’s post WWII renaissance by Richard King Mellon and Mayor David L. Lawrence, this space was collaboratively designed by architects Mitchell & Ritchey and landscape architects Simonds & Simonds. It opened in 1955 as the nation’s first urban plaza designed with an underground garage and retail space as an integral composition. After falling into decline due to weather, system failures, and use, a Preservation, Interpretation & Management Plan was first developed in 2008 that informed the five-year restoration and revitalization project focused on recapturing the original design intent and solving persistent issues of decline.
Golden State Mutual Life Building
The Commercial Design Award of Excellence is awarded for the restoration of the Golden State Mutual Life Insurance Building in Los Angeles, California. At its completion, both the building and its architect, Paul Revere Williams, were central to the African-American community during the previous century and influenced the history of Southern California. For much of the 20th century Golden State Mutual Life Insurance was the largest black-owned insurance company in the western United States and the first in the region to write insurance policies to all people regardless of color. The company was a pillar of the African-American community, providing hundreds of African-Americans and other minorities stable, middle-class employment, and was front and center in the drive for civil rights as the site of numerous voter drives and community organization efforts, including a visit by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The interiors have been restored to match the original 1949 design, and the building now serves the community as a center of the South Central Los Angeles Regional Center (“SCLARC”) campus. The property is listed on the National Register and as a Historic Cultural Monument in the City of Los Angeles.
The Rauh House, built in 1938 by prominent Cincinnati insurance agent Frederick Rauh and his wife, Harriet Frank Rauh, is one of the first International Style Modernist homes in Ohio. It is the crowning residential achievement of Cincinnati architect John Becker, a local pioneer in modern architecture. The long, narrow plan with whitewashed cinder block walls and corner windows was a dramatic departure from conventional house planning. It sits on nearly nine acres of gently rolling, wooded land at the western edge of the Village of Woodlawn. The landscape, designed by A.D. Taylor, a pioneer of landscape design, connected the Modernist house to its gently sloping site. (Ohio History Connection)
The Advocacy Award of Excellence for is given to the Michigan Modern project. With the goal of raising awareness of the significance of the state’s Modern resources and design heritage, the Michigan State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) received a Preserve America grant in 2009. The initial scope included development of a historic context on Modernism in Michigan; survey of 100 significant Modern resources; four architect interviews; and the creation of the Michigan Modern website (michiganmodern.org) to impart the information to the public. The project grew to include an exhibition entitled Michigan Modern: Design That Shaped America, a book of the same name due out later this fall, the funding of three National Historic Landmark designations, and has served as the springboard for advocacy and activism.
The jury awards a Citation of Merit for the conservation of Louis I. Kahn’s Margaret Esherick House. The jury commented, “a rare residence by the master architect Louis I. Kahn, this house has been restored by owners who painstakingly sought to have the genius of Kahn shape their approach to the restoration. Extraordinary sensitivity to the original details included the services of a paint conservator; restoration of the idiosyncratic, Wharton Esherick designed, original kitchen, long outdated, and made useful by today’s standards by adding contemporary components in an adjacent utility area; and cleverly adapting the spirit of the character-giving shutters during the winter months, allowing a sustainable future for the house.”
The Met Breuer
The jury awards a Citation of Merit for the restoration of The Met Breuer. Speaking for the jury, Deborah Dietsch and Joan Blumenfeld, FAIA, FIIDA, LEED, ID+C stated, “For decades, Marcel Breuer’s Whitney Museum was threatened with insensitive additions and alterations. A once reviled building that has become a familiar and well-loved icon is one of the finest architectural examples of the brutalist period. Though the building hasn’t been threatened for 20 years, this project epitomizes the best preservation practices by respecting the original architect’s intentions, reinstating the design as conceived and leaving evidence of the architectural patina acquired over time. The Met Breuer is proof to other institutions and cities that such tough modern buildings are beautiful and deserve to be better understood, saved and cherished.”
The Shepley Bulfinch Architecture Firm Office
The jury awards a Citation of Merit for the sensitive restoration of the Shepley Bulfinch Architecture Firm Office at the Phoenix Financial Center, South Rotunda. The jury notes, “A lesser-known and exuberant desert gem, the original interior details have been carefully restored and brought back to robust life by a tenant. Development pressures have been avoided and the preservation of this building supports the revival of a city district. This is yet another example of how less is more… how restoration with a light hand values even the patina on original material if that material can be saved and restored, rather than replaced.”
Houston: Uncommon Modern
The jury awards the Survey/Inventory Citation of Merit to Houston: Uncommon Modern project. The jury notes, “Houston has its share of noteworthy mid-century modern buildings, but this project - an exhibition, catalog, tour, and panel discussion – puts a spotlight on “outsider” modern structures in a city notable for the lack of zoning or a robust preservation ethos. This is the kind of preemptive work that can save buildings, sites, and neighborhoods without the fanfare of 11th hour campaigns.”
United Nations Headquarters Campus Renovation of Facades
The jury awards a Citation of Technical Achievement to the United Nations Headquarters Campus Renovation of Facades. This world-renown complex by a team of mid-20th century master architects, and in particular the iconic Secretariat building, had failing wall assemblies that were beyond repair and necessitated replacement. This undertaking utilized state-of-the-art design methodologies and rigorous analysis of the original glass and other facade materials, to achieve a historically appropriate visual outcome while meeting today's energy conservation and security objectives. The project represents a significant addition to the body of knowledge essential for the preservation of early modern glass and curtain wall buildings.
Tower of Hope, Christ Cathedral
Designed by Richard Neutra in 1968, the Tower completed the quartet of buildings that comprises the original campus for the Rev. Robert Schuller’s “Hour of Power” ministry in Garden Grove. An overlooked masterwork in Neutra’s oeuvre, the slender 14-story, cast-inplace reinforced concrete structure embodies a departure from some canonical Neutra strategies while confidently deploying others. The vertical thrust of the 250-foot-tall structure, culminating in an 88-foot-tall cross, anchors the composition of otherwise low horizontal structures grouped as an open landscaped quadrangle.