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News September 2018

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The summer issue of Preservation Magazine includes a story about the fate of five of the 11 “Homes of the Future” built as show houses for the Century of Progress International Exposition at the 1933–1934 Chicago World’s Fair. After the fair a developer from Indiana bought the houses and barged them across Lake Michigan. They now make up the Century of Progress Architectural District. Once in such bad shape they ended up on Indiana’s 10-Most Endangered list, the houses have been restored and maintained through an innovative partnership. Owned by National Park Service, they are leased by the nonprofit organization Indiana Landmarks, and then subleased –with protective covenants – to people who restore them. ... MORE

The US Modernist Library is an excellent resource available free online. It is the largest open digital collection of major U.S. 20th-century architecture magazines with approximately 2.1 million downloadable pages. Publications include: AIA Journal, AIA New York, AIA North Carolina, Architectural Lighting, American Architecture, Architect, Architecture, Architecture News Now, Architecture Plus, Architectural Forum, Architectural Record, Arts+Architecture, Atomic Ranch, California Architecture and Building News, California Architect and Engineer, Florida Architect, House+Home, Keiths, Pencil Points / Progressive Architecture, and Sears.... MORE

The latest development in the Albright-Knox debate over the fate of its Gordon Bunshaft addition is reason for cautious optimism. Preliminary designs, announced a little over a year ago, were met with swift criticism from preservationists over the detrimental effect it would have on the museum’s Modern addition. Following the backlash, the museum hired two preservation firms and re-examined its original plans. The latest iteration of the expansion calls for leaving the Bunshaft building largely intact ... MORE

In 2017, the City of New York dedicated $14.25 million to begin much-needed stabilization and restoration work on Philip Johnson’s iconic New York State Pavilion at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. The project was put out to bid earlier this year, unfortunately only two proposals came in, and neither were deemed viable by the Parks Department. According to Janice Melnick, administrator for Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, the Parks Department wants to ensure they get the right contractor for such a complex project. The city plans to solicit more bids later this summer.... MORE

Photo © Jeff Bachner

This past April we reported that Newark Airport’s Terminal A would be demolished to make way for new facilities, and noted that “a similar demise for the remaining two terminals cannot be far off.” As predicted, in June the Regional Plan Association, an urban research and advocacy organization, released a $20 billion proposal that calls for systematically demolishing the oldest terminals one-at-a-time and replacing them with three "mid-field concourse" terminals over the next 40 years. ... MORE

A 1950 Scarsdale, NY home designed Edgar Tafel is back on the market after the town’s Historic Preservation Committee denied an application for demolition in late May. Tafel was an apprentice to Frank Lloyd Wright at Taliesin, worked on several of Wright’s most famous projects including Fallingwater and the Johnson Wax Headquarters, and had his own successful small practice. ... MORE

Check out Columbus, IN, one of the most midcentry Modern cities in the country. Registration is now open for the DOCOMOMO US 2018 National Symposium: Design, Community, and Progressive Preservation. This year’s symposium is taking place in Indianapolis and Columbus, IN, and will offer four days of engaging programming, exclusive tours, morning and evening conversations with visionary leaders, and the American Institute of Architects’ Trade Show showcasing an array of new and innovative building products and services.... MORE

The NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission held a public hearing on March 27 to gather public comments on the wide-ranging changes it is proposing to the rules governing the regulatory process for approving work on designated properties. The hearing drew an overflow crowd of individuals, professional organizations, preservation and environmental advocacy groups, and community board representatives. DOCOMOMO NY/Tri-State president John Arbuckle provided testimony on behalf of the chapter in an effort to highlight the potential negative impact of the proposed rules changes to buildings and sites from the Modern movement.... MORE

In 1949, before construction was complete, the Forest Hills Jewish Center received an award for its design from the Queens Chamber of Commerce. Built by architect Joseph J. Furman, the structure is documented in the Queens Modern database. It is described as “more restrained Modernism…with a slightly convex front facade faced in a warm stone block and featuring a center, three-door entrance topped by tall stained glass windows. There is very little overt detailing, only small Jewish symbols and phrases above the entrance doors.” An equally Modern five-story school building is located at the rear. Unfortunately, the center is on track to be demolished, with a 10-story building replacing it, sometime next year.... MORE

Ken Sena and Joseph Mazzafero have completed yet another restoration of a Marcel Breuer house, the 1953 George and Vera Neumann House in Croton-on-Hudson, NY. Previously, they restored two Breuer homes in Litchfield, CT, the Stillman I and Huvelle Houses, for which they received both a Connecticut Preservation Award and a DOCOMOMO US Modernism in America Award. They purchased the Neumann house in 2014, while in the midst of their Litchfield projects. It was relatively unaltered, with the only addition having been designed by Breuer’s office in 1970, but many of the important features had suffered from deferred maintenance. ... MORE

Photo by François Dischinger