Announcing the winners of the 2022
Modernism in America Awards
Docomomo US is pleased to announce the twelve recipients of the 2022 Modernism in America Awards. These projects highlight the best in preservation practice by today’s architects, designers, preservation professionals and advocates. This year’s awards recognize preservation efforts ranging from the transformation of large-scale projects into beacons of sustainability to modest home revitalizations, many of which have been years, or even decades, in the making. The results are a testament to the dedication and foresight of those who recognize the value of preserving our modern heritage for everyone.
Now in its ninth year, the Modernism in America Awards, led by jury chair Henry Moss, AIA and a distinguished panel of experts, showcases projects that represent the best of modern preservation, documentation, and advocacy work. As in past years, the jury continues to value holistic approaches in all categories. In the Design category, projects were applauded for accomplishing highly successful restorations while maintaining a light touch and respect for the original design intent, at times with relatively small budgets.
This year’s Awards include several highly anticipated projects that reached completion, all that were aided by prior advocacy efforts. The Hotel Marcel, Marcel Breuer’s iconic New Haven landmark vacant since the late 1990s, has undergone a sustainability-focused rebirth thanks to the vision of developer Becker + Becker. M. Paul Friedberg’s Peavey Plaza, the “living room” of Minneapolis, was considered for demolition in the early 2010’s and its preservation was the focus of a coalition of activists. Now it is an accessible centerpiece of downtown life. Six years ago, the Washington, D.C. Public Library embarked on an initiative to reinvigorate its aging infrastructure, an effort which was capped off by the recent completion of the stunningly reimagined Martin Luther King Jr. Library.
In the Residential category, the jury took note of projects that practiced restraint and eschewed trendy design pitfalls in favor of original design intent. Homes are very personal, and it is evident that the owners of this year’s winning projects were engaged in true passion projects. The Walter & Sylvia Stockmayer House, a rare Usonian design by Allan J. Gelbin, has been completely restored yet looks like it just stepped out of the 1960s. Clauss Haus II at Little Switzerland, in Knoxville, TN, designed by Alfred & Jane West Clauss, received a thorough restoration with a particular focus on its woodwork. Gagarin II, a Marcel Breuer-designed home in Litchfield, CT, received a highly practical restoration that involved fixing necessary “behind the scenes” systems, and preserved the original, modest footprint of the home, a rarity today.
The UMassBRUT campaign stood out in the Inventory/Survey category for its all-hands-on-deck approach to rallying large educational institutions around better stewardship of their modern resources. Following a two-day symposium, they have made great strides in educating and warming their community towards Brutalism.
This year the Docomomo US Board of Directors is pleased to announce two Advocacy Awards of Excellence, to the Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation for the Pioneering Women in American Architecture project, and to Seattle-based advocate Eugenia Woo. Both Advocacy Award winners exemplify women’s contributions to our built environment and the lack of acknowledgement and broad understanding of their efforts. Each, through their own work and through the projects and people they seek to highlight, offer unique examples of creativity and determination to recognize and amplify the lesser told stories and women who are champions and designers of our built heritage.
Speaking on the projects recognized and the impact of the Awards program, Docomomo US Board Member and Awards Committee Chair Meredith Arms Bzdak noted, “This year’s Modernism in America Awards honor a full range of truly incredible preservation efforts being undertaken across the country, introducing us to fascinating pieces of our modern heritage and highlighting innovative ways that we can use that heritage to educate, inform, and inspire.” Docomomo US Executive Director Liz Waytkus added, “this year’s award winners demonstrate that doing the ‘impossible’ is possible. These projects represent what we should all be looking for in preservation outcomes: holistic, sustainable and inclusive design that benefits us all.”
The winners will be honored at an in-person Awards Ceremony on November 3rd at the Design Within Reach Third Avenue Showroom in New York City. Individual tickets and sponsorship opportunities are now available.