Modern Architecture

 

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 assistant editor 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 assistant editor 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. Follow her on Twitter at @smheffern.

10 Preservation Wins in 2013

Posted on: December 30th, 2013 by National Trust for Historic Preservation 9 Comments

 

For anyone worried that year '13 would prove unlucky for the beautiful places in our midst, take heart: Though we did lose some irreplaceable historic places this past year, we also celebrated a remarkable number of preservation wins throughout the country. Let's look back at some of 2013's biggest success stories and get inspired for the year ahead!... 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.

National Trust for Historic Preservation

National Trust for Historic Preservation

The National Trust for Historic Preservation, a privately funded non-profit organization, works to save America's historic places.

An Extended Stay for Los Angeles' Century Plaza Hotel

Posted on: December 19th, 2013 by Katherine Flynn

 

Century Plaza Hotel. Credit: Andrew Hara
Exterior of the celebrated Century Plaza Hotel

Los Angeles' sweeping, 19-story Century Plaza Hotel hails from a era of Golden Age Hollywood luxury, when Elizabeth Taylor was paid the modern equivalent of $53 million to appear in the title role of the 1963 film Cleopatra.

While the film was a box-office hit, its gigantic budget nearly bankrupted 20th Century Fox, prompting them to sell a 180-acre backlot to a developer to make some fast cash. That land is now Century City, home to the lavish headquarters of entertainment companies and A-list law firms, as well as the Century Plaza Hotel.... 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 assistant editor at Preservation magazine. She enjoys coffee, record stores and uncovering the stories behind historic places. Follow her on Twitter at @kateallthetime.