DOCOMOMO NY/TRIMembers-only Tour
Kaneji Domoto in Usonia
October 12, 2019
The community of Usonia in Pleasantville, NY, founded in 1944, 35 miles north of New York City, is the only fully realized example of Frank Lloyd Wright’s vision for an exurban United States and a unique example of what it meant to design, and live, within Wright’s milieu. Wright designed the site plan and served on the building committee, defining the architectural style for the community. He eventually designed three of the cooperative’s 47 homes. Five of the remaining houses were designed by Kaneji Domoto, who used the houses to translate Wright’s idiom to low-cost construction.
Kaneji Domoto, born to a Japanese immigrant family in Northern California, studied with Wright at Taliesin prior to forced internment during World War II. After the War, he settled in New Rochelle, NY, where he spent the next four decades practicing architecture and landscape architecture. His five Usonia houses, the first of his independent practice, show Domoto exploring architectural style, including his references to Japanese design, and his connection to landscape architecture.
The tour will begin with a visit to Roland Reisley, one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s original Usonia clients, at the house that Wright designed for him, completed in 1951. Reisley, author of Usonia, New York: Building a Community with Frank Lloyd Wright (2001) will discuss the creation of the Usonia community and his experience working with Wright.
The tour will be led by Lynnette Widder, who owns Domoto’s 1949–1950 Lurie House, which she renovated. She has curated three exhibitions on Domoto and is working on a book about his career. Widder is a lecturer at Columbia University and the co-founder of aardvarchitecture. She was head of the architecture department at the Rhode Island School of Design, and has taught at ETH Zurich, University of British Columbia, Cornell University, and Cranbrook. The tour will include visits to all five houses.
This DOCOMOMO US/New York Tri-State tour is part of DOCOMOMO US Tour Day 2019, a national initiative. The 2019 thematic focus, "The Diversity of Modernism” reflects the efforts of DOCOMOMO US and its chapters to raise awareness of sites designed by minority and female architects, landscape architects, designers, and engineers, and of the designers themselves.
Saturday October 12, 10:30 am – 5:00 pm
This is a members-only tour. We regret that due to limited capacity members may not bring non-member guests. Those who are not presently members are welcome to join prior to registration.
Logistics & Details:
Those attending the tour may drive themselves to the Usonia Community or take the MetroNorth train to Hawthorne. Car service will be available to take participants the four miles from the train station to Usonia and back to the station after the tour. For those coming by train from NYC please take MetroNorth Train #9615 departing Grand Central at 9:10 am, arriving Hawthorne at 10:02. Returning to NYC, MetroNorth Train #9650 departs Hawthorne Station at 5:44 pm and arrives Grand Central at 6:46. Those driving will be sent directions and parking instructions prior to the tour.
Lunch will be provided with vegetarian options.
Note: We will be walking from house to house within Usonia. The terrain is somewhat uneven and steep in certain places so this tour is not appropriate for those with limited mobility.
Week of October 6th
10A Time of Heroics: Paul Rudolph and Yale, 1958–1965, Robert A.M. Stern
12Louis Kahn's Modernism & the Architecture of Memorialization