The future of the Thompson Center is looking brighter
On December 15 the preservation world received some unexpected good news about the long-threatened James R. Thompson Center: Governor Pritzker had chosen a developer whose proposal for the site includes retaining the structure as a mixed-use property with office, retail and hotel space. There is still a long road ahead but this is a huge step in the right direction.
How to save 165 tons of precast concrete panels
Architect Fred Guirey and his associates received the commission in 1961 to be the architect for the Arizona Public Service (APS) administrative building. Over the next 60 years, several panels over the walkway developed hairline cracks, making them a safety hazard. Alison King of Modern Phoenix and the firm 180 Degrees Design + Build stepped in to save them from the landfill.
Two significant modern homes designated in Tucson
Two significant modern homes in the Tucson, AZ region have recently received official recognition as historic landmarks. Due to an increase in population growth in the mid twentieth 20th century, Tucson saw a correlated rise in construction during that time. Now, thanks to organizations such as Tucson Preservation Foundation, they are beginning to receive the attention and recognition that they deserve. In 2021, both the Beck House, designed by John H. Beck, and Viewpoint/Johnson House, designed by Judith Chafee, were designated as local landmarks.
As the population shift stretched out into the suburbs, it transformed the idea of commerce. Shopping malls became a staple of American society after the Second World War, providing convenient access to domestic needs while offering social and cultural components. Early malls were small, open-air groupings of commercial enterprises with a small parking lot out front. But the idea rapidly expanded with the creation of the fully enclosed malls. This new take on suburban commercial structures began the trend for these sprawling structures that became ubiquitous within our built fabric and only continued to morph and change over the course of the 20th century. Today, shopping malls are in a critical point of flux.
Holiday Book List 2021
Holiday cheer in the air, and a modern book in your hand. While searching for books worthy of this year's list, we encountered a pleasant surprise - an exciting number of publications focused on the contributions of female designers - we love to see it. We also have a few more travel & leisure themed titles to round out our 2021 annual theme, and here's a hint: pre-order Alexandra Lange's book on shopping malls if you want to be ready for next year's theme. Gift a book to the modernist in your life or add them to your own "to-read" list for 2022!
A midcentury roadtrip through Tour Day 2021
For Tour Day 2021 we were thrilled to have a number of tours return to in-person formats, as well as many tours that offered a hybrid option, allowing attendees from both near and far to participate. This year's events explored the ways that midcentury travel and leisure trends influenced the modern landscape, from residential homes to roadside structures to infrastructre and beyond.
From Luxurious Hotel to Luxury Apartments: The Legacy of 2500 Carlisle NE
In August of 2020, an unexpected sight debuted along interstate I-40 in Albuquerque, New Mexico: a sign for the BLVD2500 Luxury Apartments. Since 1971, 2500 Carlisle Boulevard NE has been the address of a modern architectural curiosity, a story that begins in the 1960s.
Engineering a Legacy: Sergio Acosta Remembered
Identifying a project by its architect is a common occurrence; it's easy to associate a building with a single name. But a project is rarely the result of a singular vision. It's the result of a collaboration between the client, architects, engineers, and contractors for a specific site and defined problem. Among those unsung engineers is Sergio Acosta.
Regional Modernism in the Evolution of Educational Design at UNM
Founded in 1889, the University of New Mexico (UNM) is known for the balance and adherence to a Southwestern design identity that’s persisted throughout its 130+ years of architectural development. Upon first impression, the UNM main campus does not invoke the sense of architectural design variation that many campuses do; the modernist elements of the campus may not be initially apparent.
A Sense of Place: Don Schlegel, FAIA
Don P. Schlegel, FAIA, is remembered by many as a mentor and credited with teaching a significant number of the practicing architects in Albuquerque. Schlegel spent the majority of his architectural career teaching on the University of New Mexico’s (UNM) Albuquerque campus and was a key figure in the establishment of the university's School of Architecture and Planning.
Sunbelt Modern: Albuquerque's Regional Modernism
Albuquerque's modernist architecture, spanning the pre-war period into today, has only recently begun to be recognized and contextualized for the roles it has played in the city's development. The city government commissioned its first survey of mid-century modern architectural resources in 2013, followed closely thereafter by the study of select structures by a University of New Mexico architecture class. As interest has grown, new resources and research have emerged from a growing group of enthusiasts, preservationists, architects, and historians. This Regional Spotlight aims to contribute to this expanding pool of resources documenting Modern ABQ.
You can be sure…if it’s Westinghouse
The former Westinghouse Research and Development Center sited on 150 carefully curated acres in Churchill Borough, Pennsylvania, 10 miles from Pittsburgh's Point, holds a noteworthy place in the history of architecture, design, industry and science and is eligible for the National Register of Historic Places, maintaining significant integrity. The multiplex modernist corporate campus and landscape, designed through the 1950s, 60s and 70s, and exemplary of midcentury suburban R&D facilities with parklike surrounds, is at risk for complete demolition with an impending redevelopment plan void of reuse.
Farnsworth House renamed the Edith Farnsworth House
In celebration of its 70th anniversary, Farnsworth House, a site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, will be renamed the Edith Farnsworth House, in recognition of the multi-talented woman who commissioned the Building from architect Mies van der Rohe.
Bidding now open for be:cause modern
Bidding is now open for be:cause modern, the auction for Modernism. We had a blast last year and can not wait to share the amazing items in this year's lineup, including one-of-a-kind pieces of art, drawings, books, modern experiences, and home stays generously donated by our friends, colleagues and members.
Honoring the Docomomo US Longstanding Members of 2021
When Docomomo US was created over 25 years ago, we set out to build a network of like-minded individuals to offer leadership, knowledge, and enthusiasm for the modern movement, which was little and little appreciated. We could not have envisioned the remarkable change in public attitude toward modernism we see today. That enthusiasm is due in large part to our long-standing members' dedication, interest and support in advancing the understanding of modern architecture and design.
Buildings of Mississippi: Modern Travel & Leisure
Jennifer Baughn's new book, Buildings of Mississippi, is the first volume in the newly redesigned Buildings of the United States series. With a more reader-friendly guidebook format and color illustrations throughout, Buildings of Mississippi is also the most substantive, up-to-date history of the state’s built environment. Crafted specifically for the Docomomo US audience, the following excerpt highlights the state's modern travel and leisure resources of the midcentury and recent past.