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News April 2016

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As the saying goes, the devil is in the detail, and that is especially so when the detail is in a Modern building. Last week modifications to Kevin Roche John Dinkeloo & Associates’ 1967 Ford Foundation building were presented to the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission. The bulk of the proposed changes address fire and life safety code compliance and current accessibility standards. ... MORE

The New Haven, CT Board of Alders has ok’d plans for the city to seek state funds for a transit-oriented development and construction grant for 352 acres of New Haven harbor front. Earmarked in the grant application is $150,000 for an economic analysis of the district and a strategy for filling in vacant spaces, including the long-vacant Pirelli Tire building. Designed by Marcel Breuer and constructed from 1968 to 1970 for the Armstrong Rubber Company, the office building is prominently located beside two major highways and IKEA. ... MORE

Need a little escapism? A trove of period slides depicting West Coast Modern architecture is now available online thanks to the University of Southern California Libraries. Approximately 1,300 slides are part of two unique collections. The bulk of them come from Fritz Block, a German-trained architect who moved to Los Angeles in 1938 and started his own color slide company. Another 100 slides are from Pierre Koenig, one of southern California’s preeminent Modern architects and a long-time faculty member at the USC School of Architecture.... MORE

The legendary furniture designer Vlarimir Kagan, best known for his Serpentine Sofa, passed away earlier this month. The son of a Russian cabinetmaker who escaped Nazi Germany with his family, Kagan began his design career in 1947 as an apprentice in his father’s New York shop. By 1949 he had discovered a passion for modern furniture and struck out on his own. His breakout commission was designing the furniture for the Delegates’ Cocktail Lounge at the first United Nations Headquarters in Lake Success, NY. He later did the Monsanto House of the Future at Disneyland.... MORE

Kagan in his daughter Vanessa’s sitting room on a gray, kidney-shaped sofa, one of his own designs. Photo: Brian Shumway

Nominations are now open for the World Monuments Fund/ Knoll Modernism Prize, which recognizes individuals and organizations that are working to preserve our Modern built heritage through innovative architectural or design solutions. The prize was established in 2008 to bring attention to the repeated threats to significant Modern sites around the world. The deadline for nominations is July 15. ... MORE