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Kips Bay Open House doubles attendance over 2009

October 11, 2010

Last year we introduced 80 people to I.M. Pei’s Kips Bay Plaza during Open House NY/DOCOMOMO US Tour Day and considered our efforts successful. This year’s event, held Saturday October 9, topped that and then some. A total of 189 people stopped in for a look at the lobbies, community room and private garden of Pei’s seminal housing complex.

DOCOMOMO New York/Tri-State chose Kips Bay Plaza (now known as Kips Bay Towers) as our Modern building to showcase for several reasons: the complex was designed by renowned Modern master I.M. Pei; it was innovative for its time—the first housing built in New York City using architectural concrete; and because Kips Bay Plaza serves as an example of 1960s urban renewal housing that achieved excellence in design.

Rather than a single tour we chose to partner with the board and management of Kips Bay Towers to offer a four-hour open house with docent-led tours conducted as visitors reached a critical mass of 6-12 persons. Board members and volunteers from the chapter served as docents after brushing up on pertinent facts and firsts connected with the complex. The weather was absolutely perfect for outdoor strolling tours and the garden was in fine form. Even the squirrels were out to impress visitors. At the end of the day, we had led 23 tours of Kips Bay Plaza and introduced DOCOMOMO to more than 200 people.

Big kudos to our board members and volunteers who made this event possible: John Arbuckle coordinated the event; John, Kyle Johnson, John Morris Dixon, Kathleen Randall, Abby Suckle and D’juro Villaran-Rokovich served as docents. Leslie Monsky, Virginia Smith and Carol Dixon worked the DOCOMOMO table, keeping visitors happy and orderly while providing the invaluable service of explaining what our acronym stands for. The management and residents of Kips Bay Towers were wonderfully hospitable throughout the day.

Open House New York offered over 350 sites open to the public and DOCOMOMO US Tour Day 2010 presented over 20 tours of important Modern movement sites nationwide. It was an all around great weekend for architecture. Mark your calendars for next year.