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News April 2018

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In New Jersey, the Modern era of jet travel commenced in August 1973 with the opening of Newark Airport’s Terminal A. Its construction was part of a $500 million renewal project that would enable Newark to serve as a gateway to the metropolitan region and earn it the name of “Newark International Airport.” The master plan, prepared by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, called for the construction of three terminals (A, B, and C) to be started simultaneously but completed in phases. A New York Times article of August 6, 1973 heralded the opening, noting that “from the air…there is an impressive view of the three new terminals, which look like modernistic crowns.... MORE

Earlier this year, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo proposed a budget that not did not extend the NY State Historic Tax Credit and also proposed delaying payments on certain projects for up to three years. Thanks to the advocacy efforts of preservation organizations and strong public support, the tax credit was reintroduced in the Assembly and the Senate budgets and was included in the final version of the budget. The state tax credit has been extended through December 31, 2024 and decoupled from the Federal Historic Tax Credit so that credits may be taken in one tax year as opposed to over five years... MORE

Lever House, photo: Beyond My Ken via Wikimedia Commons

Some happy news for a Modern icon—the Glass House will reopen May 3 with a fully restored ceiling. In recent years, the ceiling was sagging in several areas. A study identified the cause to be the system attaching the ceiling to the roof timbers, which was both poorly constructed and inadequate for the weight of the 1,800 square-foot-plaster ceiling. Additional issues included the presence of a top coat mixed with asbestos and two doors that were not functioning properly due to the sagging. Thanks in part to funding from Bank of America and the Connecticut Department of Economic Community Development, the entire plaster ceiling was replaced. ... MORE

The Pavilion Apartments, a set of two identical 22-story apartment towers designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe in Newark, NJ, have sold for $70.5 million to Pavilion Towers LLC. The sale is the single largest of a multifamily property in Newark by more than $18 million. The Pavilion Apartments are part of the Colonnade Park Historic District which also includes Mies van der Rohe’s Colonnade Apartments. Completed in 1960, the market-rate apartment complex was part of a larger urban renewal program that was never fully realized. In 2014, all three towers were certified eligible for listing in the New Jersey Register of Historic Places.... MORE

Photo: John W. Cahill—CTBUH

Nominations are open for the 2018 World Monuments Fund/Knoll Modernism Prize, celebrating the tenth anniversary of the award. The biennial prize for which Knoll is founding sponsor will be awarded this fall to an architect, urban designer/planner, or other design professional or firm, to recognize an innovative intervention that preserved and saved a threatened Modern building or complex. Nominated projects must have been completed in the last five years, and must have faced challenges or threats that affected the site before preservation. The deadline for nominations is June 15, 2018... MORE

On April 1, the New York architectural community lost Robert F. Gatje, FAIA, a long-time partner in the firm of Modernist pioneer Marcel Breuer. A native of Brooklyn and architecture graduate of Cornell, Gatje spent the years 1953 to 1982 with Breuer's office, becoming one of the master's four partners who shared credits for most of the firm's work from 1960 on. Gatje is best known for leading the firm's projects in Europe, including of the impressive IBM office building at La Gaude in Provence and the ski resort of Flaine—comprising some 50 buildings—in the French Alps. ... MORE

Photo courtesy Susan Witter

The DOCOMOMO US National Symposium is the primary event in the U.S. for professionals to discuss and share efforts to preserve Modern architecture and meet leading practitioners and industry professionals. The 2018 symposium will take place September 26-29 in Columbus, IN, and feature engaging programming, exclusive tours, evening keynote conversations with visionary leaders, and the American Institute of Architects’ Trade Show. DOCOMOMO US and Exhibit Columbus (an annual exploration of art, architecture, design, and community) are collaborating on this year’s theme which will explore how investing in good design can make communities better for everyone and how new approaches to preservation are positively incorporating our Modern heritage into the future of cities. Keynote speakers and registration details will be announced in late spring.... MORE

At its March 8 meeting, the Buffalo Preservation Board recommended two Frank Lloyd Wright homes for local landmark designation, over objections of the owners who expressed concern about increased publicity. The William R. Heath House and the Walter V. Davidson House are both early Wright works in the Prairie style. Heath and Davidson worked at the Larkin Soap Company and were associates of Darwin Martin, who introduced them to Wright. ... MORE

As JPMorgan Chase and the City of New York announce plans to demolish and replace 270 Park Avenue, formerly the Union Carbide building, DOCOMOMO US and DOCOMOMO US New York/Tri-state have joined forces to advocate for this iconic example of corporate Modernism. On February 21 it was announced that the JPMorgan Chase tower at 270 Park Avenue, designed by the pioneering woman architect Natalie de Blois and Gordon Bunshaft of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) and built from 1958-60, would be the first major project of the City's Midtown East rezoning. The news was announced by the New York Times and at first included no mention of the iconic building or the designers that created it (the article has since been edited).... MORE

Union Carbide Building at 270 Park Ave in 1961. Photo: Ezra Stoller/ESTO.

Gordon Bunshaft’s 140 Broadway (1967, originally Marine Midland Bank), became a NYC landmark in 2013. The large plaza displaying Isamu Noguchi’s sculpture “Cube” provides an important counterpoint to Bunshaft’s design. On January 22, the Tribeca Trib reported that the building owners had requested approval from the LPC for changes to the plaza including replacing the current planters and a plaque (both installed in 2000) with six new circular planters with engaged seating and eight light bollards. There was also a separate request, not subject to LPC review, to the Department of Transportation to install planters and benches on the public sidewalk along Broadway. ... MORE