Searching for Ceres: On Missing a Postmodernist Muse
Was it to be a missing person’s report, or more of a personal ad? Middle-aged female architect ISO a goddess she recollects from her youth: about seven feet tall; long, flowing locks; triumphant pose. Last seen: Battle Creek, Michigan, sometime in the late 1980s, in the food-court of a mall. I see now that it’s starting to read a bit like an episode of Stranger Things, but pour yourself a bowl of corn flakes and settle in.
Spa City Modernism: Postwar Hotels in Hot Springs, Arkansas
Hot Spring’s downtown core and Park Avenue (Highway 70) approach road hosts several elegant modernist hotels sprinkled throughout an urban fabric typically touted for its historic Bathhouse Row, Arlington Hotel, and assortment of prewar buildings dating back to the 1880s, tightly hemmed into a picturesque valley of the Ouachita Mountains. This group of hotels, some undervalued and threatened, represent the final phase of the dynamic, almost century-long trajectory of the Arkansas settlement which was once considered a top resort destination in the United States.
Landmark modern building could be auctioned off by Brazilian government
The former Ministry of Education and Health Building in Rio de Janeiro, also known as Gustavo Capanema Palace, one of the earliest modern public buildings in all of the Americas and a highly significant site in the global history of Modernism, could be auctioned off by the Brazilian Government.
Breuer’s Bohemia: The Architect, His Circle, and Midcentury Houses in New England
In her definitive biography of Walter Gropius, Fiona MacCarthy posed the question about the last years of Gropius’s life: “Why was it that the Bauhaus and its history continued to be his great preoccupation and why did he cling to the little group of friends—Bayer and Breuer and Schawinsky—who had been with him at the Bauhaus, and who sometimes treated him with singular disloyalty, for the rest of his long life?” To answer this question, one need simply look to the Wellfleet community they shared and the unforgettable times spent together on Cape Cod beginning in the mid-1940s. The following is an excerpt from Breuer’s Bohemia: The Architect, His Circle, and Midcentury Houses in New England by James Crump, forthcoming from Monacelli Press on September 14.
Be:cause modern auction returns - donations welcome!
Docomomo US is excited to share that be:cause modern, the auction for modernism, will return again this November. In anticipation of the event, we are seeking special donation items such as signed drawings and books, paintings, woodcuts and lithographs, unique and vintage tabletop items, exclusive tour experiences and modern home stays.
Modern Travel & Leisure Resources from the Green Book
During the mid-20th century, the Green Book helped Black Americans to travel by letting them know which hotels, motels, restaurants, gas stations, and other businesses it would be safe for them to frequent. Here we highlight some of the modern resources that made their way into the Green Book.
Commercial Real Estate Roundup: Travel & Leisure Edition
In the second-ever edition of our Commercial Real Estate Round Up, we are featuring travel and leisure-related midcentury businesses (and one Airstream!) currently for sale. The hospitality industry has been hard-hit in the last year and half, but we are all itching to get back out there and the prospects look good if you're in the market to become the next steward of one of these legacy midcentury businesses.
Reflections on the 2021 Docomomo US National Symposium
The 2021 Docomomo US National Symposium focused on the most important city in the United States when it comes to modern design – Chicago. I have never physically visited Chicago, but I was very grateful for my opportunity to attend this event. It illuminated not only the central role that the city of Chicago has played in Midcentury Modernism but also how it represents a node that connects the Midcentury Modern design of many other large cities in America, such as New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Washington DC.
Venturi in coastal Rhode Island
A list of Robert Venturi’s most well-known works will usually include the Sainsbury wing extension to London’s National Gallery (1991), Fire Station no. 4 (1968) for the city of Columbus, Indiana, and of course his postmodernist masterpiece, the iconic residential house built for his mother, the Vanna Venturi House (1964) in Philadelphia. Quite less known are the remarkable series of vacation and second homes his firm designed in the 1980s in classic coastal New England locales.
The Impact of a Local Architect: Ward Whitwam’s South Dakota Legacy
Local architects in the modern era could have tremendous impact on the built landscape of their communities. In post-WWII South Dakota, there were only a handful of architectural firms in-state that were very active, though that pool of professionals expanded some into the 1960s and beyond. A unique contributor to modern architecture in South Dakota, and in particular the city of Sioux Falls, was the architect Ward Whitwam, who recently passed away in January 2021.
Modernist Standouts among the Catholic Churches in South Dakota
Our society learns to appreciate past architectural styles in waves, and landmark buildings attract attention earlier than other types of structures. In the mid-20th century, the Catholic Church in South Dakota invested in a handful of worship spaces that stand out in the top tier of Modernist ecclesiastical design for the state, making them an excellent introduction to architecture of the Modern movement in South Dakota.
Get to know South Dakota Modern
Historical context for modern sites in South Dakota is still in its fledgling stages and recognition of modern resources within the general population of South Dakota is still a hill to climb, and, for those outside the state, awareness of this history is likely negligible. Writing this set of spotlight articles has served as a way for the staff of the South Dakota SHPO to expand their knowledge about Modernism, and they are our humble way to introduce South Dakota to the wider Modern Movement audience.
An old(ish) Kentucky home gets a new chance
The Lexington Herald Leader put it correctly when they stated that "For the architecture world, there is a collective sigh of relief that one of the most iconic residences in the world, which has had a tumultuous decade, could be safe for now," after the Miller House in Lexington, Kentucky was sold at auction to a buyer who has expressed interest in preserving the home and possibly finding ways to share it with the public.
From the brink of demolition to a new purpose in life
Perhaps not be the best news for preservationist purists, but good news for adaptive reuse advocates, the once-threatened Brutalist Coral Gables Police and Fire Station will be repurposed as a the Mercedes-Benz of Coral Gables' new dealership’s new showroom and office.