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News February 2012

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DOCOMOMO NY/Tri-State testified at the February 21 Landmarks Preservation Commission hearing that any modifications to Kevin Roche’s 1970 plaza at the Metropolitan Museum of Art should remain consistent with the underlying principles of that design—maintaining unobstructed access to, and view of, the monumental steps as well as the side entrances.... MORE

Only days after the Museum of the City of New York’s exhibition on Kevin Roche’s work in New York closed, the Metropolitan Museum of Art announced plans to erase most of Roche’s 1970 entrance plaza on Fifth Avenue, which inaugurated Roche’s 40-plus-year reconfiguration of the Museum’s physical plant and rejuvenation of its public image. ... MORE

Metropolitan Museum of Art plaza, c. 1970.
Photo courtesy: KRJDA

As the threat to Paul Rudolph’s Orange County Government Center (1963-1971) in Goshen, NY grows, so does local advocacy for the building’s renovation and reuse. Orange County citizens, lead by resident and preservationist Nancy Hull Kearing, have formed The Taxpayers of Orange County, a nonprofit group dedicated to saving and restoring the building. Proceeding under the slogan “Just Fix It,” the group has organized three public forums on the future of the Orange County Government Center... MORE

We lost two important Modern Movement architects last December: Andrew Geller and Gene Summers. Andrew Geller is best known for his whimsical, low cost beach houses on the shores of Long Island and New Jersey and for pushing the envelope of tract house design. Gene Summers, the Mies protégé and former dean of the College of Architecture at the Illinois Institute of Technology, left his mark on New York as a leader in the construction of the Seagram Building (1958) on Park Avenue—one of the greatest testaments to mid-century Modern architecture.... MORE

In early February the Glass House and the National Trust for Historic Preservation announced that Henry Urbach has been named Director of the Philip Johnson Glass House in New Canaan, CT. Previously Urbach served as Curator of Architecture and Design at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) where his exhibitions were known for their provocative and timely ideas, breathtaking installations and broad appeal.... MORE

Philip Johnson Glass House illuminated by Richard Kelly Lighting. Photo: Robin Hill

On February 8, a settlement was announced between Vornado Realty Trust and the preservationists who took the bold step of becoming plaintiffs to preserve 510 Fifth Avenue—the Manufacturers Trust Company bank branch building at 43rd Street. Their legal action, initiated last July, sought to prove that the Certificate of Appropriateness issued by the Landmarks Preservation Commission in April 2011 dramatically compromised the landmark-worthy qualities the Commission intended to protect when it designated the bank.... MORE

Manufacturers Trust 510 Fifth, Location: New York NY, Architect: Skidmore Owings & Merrill