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News January 2017

On November 22, the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission held a public hearing for designating the Ambassador Grill & Lounge and Lobby of the United Nations Plaza Hotel (now One UN New York) as an interior landmark. A wide array of groups and individuals testified in favor of its protection, including DOCOMOMO NY/Tri-State. The hearing itself is the remarkable result of an intense advocacy effort led by DOCOMOMO US with help from our own Kyle Johnson to save these rare intact late Modern interiors, designed by Kevin Roche John Dinkeloo & Associates. UPDATE: On January 17, the Commission voted unanimously to designate the spaces an interior landmark!... MORE

Jens Risom, a pioneer of Modern furniture design, passed away December 9 in New Canaan, CT, at the age of 100. Framed in wood, his signature pieces combined the spare aesthetic of Danish Modernism and American Shaker precedents. A simple, armless chair introduced in 1942 by Knoll was pivotal in establishing the reputations of both designer and manufacturer. His furniture is still selling well through both Knoll and Design Within Reach. Lella Vignelli, the three-dimensional designer in the partnership Vignelli Associates, died December 22 in New York at the age of 82. Her husband Massimo Vignelli, noted primarily for his graphic design, had passed away in 2014.... MORE

Photo © Knoll

There are glimmers of progress in the effort to save Marcel Breuer’s 1968-1970 Pirelli Tire Building in New Haven, CT. For the first time since 2003 when IKEA took ownership of the building, the pre-cast concrete paneled building will be used for something other than a highway billboard. Starting this winter, artist Tom Burr, with the help of gallery operators Emma Ferdberger and Stefania Bortolami, will have a year-long show featuring his photographs of the site inside the building. The exhibition is part of a larger effort by the Bortolami Gallery to promote artists beyond the world of mega-art shows.... MORE

DOCOMOMO US invites submissions for the 2017 Modernism in America Awards. The awards celebrate the documentation, preservation and re-use of modern buildings, structures and landscapes built in the United States or on U.S. territory. The Awards recognize those building owners, design teams, advocacy and preservation organizations that have made significant efforts to retain, restore and advocate for the aesthetic and cultural value of such places. Last year’s awards featured two winners from the Tri-state region!... MORE

The future is uncertain for a unique beachfront home designed by Philadelphia-based architect Joel Levinson. Levinson has been loosely associated with the Philadelphia School of architects, which includes Louis Kahn, Robert Venturi, and Mitchell/Giurgola. His early works have been featured on home tours and in exhibitions of Modernist architecture of the region. His 1968-69 Shiekman residence in Margate, NJ, features a “spatrium,” a term coined by the architect for an outdoor room enclosed on three sides. The house is essentially a cube structure comprising interior living spaces and the ocean-framing spatrium. Resiliency was a major factor in its design. ... MORE