Modern Architecture

Oklahoma City’s Modernist Mummers Theater Faces Final Curtain

Posted on: April 4th, 2014 by Steven Piccione 3 Comments

 


Architect John Johansen found his inspiration for the theater in electronic-age inventions such as the computer circuit board and the motorized vehicle.

The Mummers Theater/Stage Center in Oklahoma City, Okla., the ultra-modern product of world-renowned architect John Johansen, received the highest award from the American Institute of Architects (AIA), is internationally recognized, became eligible for the National Register for Historic Places before it was even 50 years old … and is now set for demolition, 44 years after its construction.... Read More →

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

Steven Piccione

Steven Piccione

Steven Piccione is an Editorial Intern at the National Trust. He enjoys carbonated water, all things British, and living in a city warmer than Chicago.

 

In 1958 and 1959, influential Modernist architect Harwell Hamilton Harris designed what many consider to be one of his best buildings, the Cranfill Apartments in Austin, Texas. Before leading the University of Texas at Austin’s architecture school in the early 1950s, he apprenticed with Modernist pioneer Richard Neutra in Los Angeles and admired Frank Lloyd Wright’s Hollyhock House. Harris made his reputation by using warm, natural materials to make Modernism more approachable, and creating spaces that connect with the outdoors.... Read More →

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

Meghan Drueding

Meghan Drueding

Meghan Drueding is the managing editor of Preservation magazine. She has a weakness for mid-century modern, walkable cities, and coffee table books about architecture and design.

 

The library and accompanying saucer were built in 1964 and dedicated to the memory of President John F. Kennedy, Jr. Credit: Michael Gannon, Prince George’s County Memorial Library System
The library and accompanying saucer were built in 1964 and dedicated to the memory of President John F. Kennedy, Jr.

The flying saucer hovering above the doorway of the public library in Hyattsville, Md., is meant to look futuristic, a poured-concrete ode to the Space Race and America’s midcentury fascination with all things extraterrestrial.

Inside, though, the 1964 building is notably dated. “There’s no technology infrastructure,” explains Michael Gannon, associate director for support services at the Prince George’s County Memorial Library System. “There are very few electrical outlets, and it’s also barely ADA compliant.” He adds that the windows in the building had to be bolted shut after they frequently slid open by themselves.

Although plans to replace the low-slung, brick modernist building with a brand-new structure are underway, a small but vocal Hyattsville group has spoken out in favor of preserving the approximately 20-foot tall glass and concrete saucer, as well as the library as a whole. The “Save Our Saucer” campaign has garnered more than 500 Facebook “likes,” and while the tone on the page is humorous and lighthearted, giving “Saucer” a personality (a post from last August features the cover of “The Flying Saucer Mystery,” a Nancy Drew novel, while the caption reads “What Saucer read over the weekend”), it’s clear that the space-age relic holds a cherished place in the hearts of longtime Hyattsville residents.... Read More →

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

Katherine Flynn

Katherine Flynn

Katherine Flynn is an editorial assistant at Preservation magazine. She enjoys coffee, record stores and uncovering the stories behind historic places. Follow her on Twitter at @kateallthetime.

Meet Phoenix's Modern Maven: Aspire Award Winner Alison King

Posted on: January 16th, 2014 by Katherine Flynn

 

Alison King, 2013 Aspire Award Winner, in action in Phoenix. Credit: Alison King
Alison King, 2013 Aspire Award Winner, in action in Phoenix.

When asked how she got involved in preservation in Phoenix, Ariz., Alison King laughs and says, “Well, not on purpose.”

King, the winner of the 2013 American Express Aspire Award for her work with the Modern Phoenix Neighborhood Network and ModernPhoenix.net, has spent much of the last decade documenting and building a network around modern architecture in the city.

“When I moved back to Phoenix after being away for 10 years, I was interested in finding out what my lifestyle would be like,” King, who was born in nearby Scottsdale, says. As she and her husband explored the city and surrounding neighborhoods, King’s background in design and art history drew her attention to the unique design of many of the structures. As she started to delve deeper into Phoenix’s architectural back story, she realized that most of the buildings that had captured her interest had no historic preservation protections.... Read More →

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

Katherine Flynn

Katherine Flynn

Katherine Flynn is an editorial assistant at Preservation magazine. She enjoys coffee, record stores and uncovering the stories behind historic places. Follow her on Twitter at @kateallthetime.

Twitter Chat Recap/Reminder: Historic Holidays and Modernism

Posted on: January 3rd, 2014 by Sarah Heffern

 

The National Trust's new mid-century modern home, the Watergate Office Building. (Photo courtesy Sarah M. Heffern)
The National Trust's new Midcentury Modern home, the Watergate Office Building.

The 2013 holiday season is just behind us, but we still wanted to share the recap of December's #builtheritage Twitter chat, which focused on preservation-friendly gifts for the building hugger on your list. Unsurprisingly, chatters were full of book recommendations, and because reading never goes out of season, the suggestions in the slideshow below would make great birthday gifts throughout 2014.... Read More →

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

Sarah Heffern

Sarah Heffern

Sarah Heffern is the social media strategist for the National Trust’s Public Affairs team. While she embraces all things online and pixel-centric, she’s also a hard-core building hugger, having fallen for preservation in a fifth grade “Built Environment” class.