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News May 2013

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At the request of DOCOMOMO NY/Tri-State, the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation and others, the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission has agreed to include Philip Johnson’s Kevorkian Center in the proposed South Village Historic District. Built in 1972, the Hagop Kevorkian Center for Near Eastern Studies on the south edge of Washington Square was designed by Johnson and Richard Foster. It is one of the most distinguished—and most distinctive—of the many buildings that Johnson and Foster designed for New York University in the 1960s and 1970s. ... MORE

Hagop Kervorkian Center, NYU, Philip Johnson and Richard Foster, 1972. image: GVSHP/google images.

One of the most iconic of the original airline terminals at John F Kennedy Airport is slated for demolition after it is vacated on May 24. But the group Save the Worldport continues its determined efforts to preserve this unique landmark of midcentury Modernism. Completed in 1960 for Pan American World Airlines (aka Pan Am), the endangered structure exhibits a design bravura that celebrated the arrival of the jet age. It was designed by the team of Tippetts-Abbett-McCarthy-Stratton (primarily engineers) with associated architects Ives, Turano & Gardner. Dubbed the Worldport by Pan Am and now known simply as Terminal 3, it was among the most striking of nine airline terminals built at about the same time for New York's prime long-haul airport.... MORE

Pan Am Worldport, JFK International Airport (now T3), 1960. photo: c. 1960s, Christina Segler.

DOCOMOMO New York/Tri-State testified Monday May 13 at the City Planning Commission’s Multi-Board Community Task Force public hearing with regard to the East Midtown Rezoning, which proposes to upzone many sites around Grand Central Terminal and north. In the packed auditorium of Lighthouse International, attendees spoke to a panel of midtown community boards and Amanda Burden, Chair of the City Planning Commission, and commission staff. Many spoke on the issue of the unruly speed of the ULURP process and the need for infrastructure to come first, prior to the densification of the area with skyscrapers.... MORE

909 Third Avenue, incorporating the FDR Station Post Office, Max O. Urbahn and Emery Roth & Sons, 1968. Photo: Julie Rosen.

On Sunday May 12 PBS aired its new national television special "10 Buildings That Changed America." The show features ten buildings, selected in consultation with historians and architects from across the country, that influenced the way Americans live and work—and travel and shop. We know the Modern movement was a game changer so it’s not surprising that seven of the ten buildings are in our camp.... MORE

Host Geoffrey Baer with Denise Scott Brown and Robert Venturi outside the Vanna Venturi House in Chestnut Hill, PA. Photo: courtesy WTTW 11/Chicago

The Modern Movement lost its most prominent and persistent opponent on May 1, when Henry Hope Reed died at the age of 97. In the 1950s, as Modernism became established as the architecture of major institutions, Reed expounded his rear-guard positions all available means, including two books: The American Skyline, 1953 (with Christopher Tunnard) and The Golden City, 1959. Both extolled the preceding Classical Revival and condemned Modernist examples such as the UN Headquarters, Lever House, and the Manufacturers Trust branch at 510 Fifth Avenue. ... MORE

The Golden City: A pictorial argument in the controversy over classical vs. Modern fashion in American architecture and other arts

A recent article by Fred Bernstein in Architectural Record highlights three significant Modernist houses in the Northeast region that are up for sale. All of three can be found in any textbook on twentieth-century architecture––Louis Kahn's 1961 Esherick House in the Chestnut Hill neighborhood of Philadelphia; Robert Venturi's 1964 house for his mother, just a block away from the Esherick House, and an exemplar of Postmodernism; and Peter Eisenman's 1975 House VI in Cornwall, Connecticut. ... MORE