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News February 2017

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In the past we’ve highlighted listings from an online gallery Modern houses on the market in the Tri-State area. There has been a blip in Trimoca postings over the past several months so we’re going to step in with our own Modern on the market highlights—this month, New Canaan, CT. Plus one in nearby Darien. ... MORE

Some cause for optimism: Philip Johnson’s Schlumberger Administration Building in Ridgefield, CT, might soon be getting a new lease on life. When we last reported in early 2015, the town, which owns the 30-acre parcel that the building sits on, was weighing new uses for the site. Two of three former Schlumberger buildings are now under consideration to be leased by the town for an initial $1 annual rent to a theater group and a design firm, the latter to occupy the Johnson building. ... MORE

Schlumberger Administration Building, Ridgefield, CT, Philip Johnson, 1952. Photo: John Morris Dixon, 2014

This Valentine’s Day was extra special for the city of Palm Springs, which welcomed the arrival of the Aluminaire House during its annual Modernism Week. It is the culmination of a two-year effort to preserve a significant example of Modern experimentation after its previous steward, the New York Institute of Technology, indicated it could no longer care for it. The iconic home was built as a case study by A. Lawrence Kocher and Albert Frey. It was the first all-metal home in the US, and possibly also the first pre-fab home. Frey lived in Palm Springs and many of his works still stand there. Before being disassembled and packed onto a truck, the house was carefully documented in a Historic Structure Report. ... MORE

This past September, the State of New Jersey announced redevelopment plans for downtown Trenton that call for the demolition of existing government buildings, one of which is a substantial two-building Modern complex designed by Alfred and Jane West Clauss. Simple in form—one is cylindrical and the other cubed—these precast concrete buildings with their steel-and-glass sky bridges offer a bold Modern statement in an otherwise lackluster skyline. The complex was built in 1962-1963 to house the Departments of Health and Agriculture Building and Laboratory. ... MORE

Department of Health and Agriculture Complex, Trenton, Alfred Clauss and Jane West Clauss, 1962-63. Photo courtesy

In honor of what would have been Florence Knoll Bassett’s 100th year, the international furniture company Knoll is introducing a new line of products for home inspired by her iconic 1954 Lounge Collection. Knoll Bassett pioneered the “total design” concept, integrating architecture and design in a holistic process. The new Knoll products are billed as “a deeper, homier version of the classic” and include a sofa, settee, lounge chair, dining tables, and a mini desk. See a preview of the collection and a short video about the designer here. ... MORE

Florence Knoll seating designs in the office of Cowles Publications. Image from the Knoll Archive.

This month's edition of Preservation Magazine, a publication of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, features in-depth coverage of two important Modern restorations: the Sculpture Gallery at the Philip Johnson Glass House in New Canaan, CT, and Richard Neutra's Painted Desert Community Complex in Arizona. The recently completed $2 million restoration of the Sculpture Gallery (1970) at Philip Johnson's Glass House is the most expensive project undertaken at the site to date.... MORE

There is an ongoing preservation battle in Buffalo over the fate of the Willert Park Courts, an early public housing project inspired by Le Corbusier and Bauhaus ideals. The original 175-unit, 10-building complex was completed in 1939 with funding from the Federal Housing Authority. An additional 300 units quickly followed between 1942 and 1944, which have since been demolished. The remaining ten original buildings were vacated in 2009. The owner, Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority, in collaboration with private developer Norstar, is seeking to replace nine of the ten buildings with 48 newly constructed units. ... MORE