Docomomo US announces 2018 Modernism in America Award winners

Everything Old Is New Again

Docomomo US announces 2018 Modernism in America Award winners

The General Motors Design Dome & Auditorium in Warren, Michigan. (James Haefner Photography)

The preservation nonprofit Docomomo US has announced the winners of its 2018 Modernism in America Awards, recognizing 13 people or projects that have sensitively preserved, or advocated for the preservation of, modern icons throughout the country.

“By recognizing the important design and preservation work being done around the country that often is overlooked,” said Docomomo US president, Theodore Prudon, “the Modernism in America Awards program is bringing further awareness to the substantial contribution that preservation in general – and the postwar heritage in particular – makes to the economic and cultural life of our communities. ”

The 2018 recipients of the annual Modernism in America Awards, now in its fifth year, will be honored on Wednesday, June 20, 2018 at the Design Within Reach Third Avenue Studio in New York City.

This year’s jury was composed of Docomomo US’s Board of Directors. The prizes were awarded in the following categories: Design Award of Excellence, one Special Award of Restoration Excellence, and the Citations of Merit.

Design Award of Excellence winners:

The General Motors Design Dome & Auditorium (James Haefner Photography)

General Motors Design Dome and Auditorium
Location: Warren, MI
Original Architect: Harley Earl and Eero Saarinen
Restoration Team: SmithGroupJJR (See Docomomo US for full list)
Client: General Motors
Award: Commercial Design Award of Excellence

From the jury: “This is the perfect example of how to treat an icon.” Jury member Eric Keune adds, “The renovation demonstrates the great care that was given to the original design team’s vision, while simultaneously bringing the spirit forward with a gentle guiding hand and using contemporary technology. It is noteworthy and commendable that General Motors was willing to invest and upgrade the building for the same use even though the company has continued to transform themselves over time.”

Lenox Health Greenwich Village (Chris Cooper/Perkins Eastman)

Lenox Health Greenwich Village
New York, NY
Original Architect: Albert C. Ledner
Restoration Team: Northwell Health, Perkins Eastman, CANY, Turner Construction, BR+A, Silman, Cerami & Associates, Russell Design, Sam Schwartz, VDA, Langan Engineering, Louis Sgroe Equipment Planning
Client: Northwell Health
Award: Commercial Design Award of Excellence

From the jury: “This beautiful and unique building is an incredible piece of urban architecture whose restoration respectfully honors the building’s original concept while creatively adapting a dramatic structure to a new purpose. This project offers clients and cities alike valuable lessons about the transformative impacts of architecture and design; specifically, the often-surprising elasticity which waits patiently, and at times unexpectedly, in certain works of modern architecture.”

Hill College House (Aislinn Weidele)

Hill College House Renovation
Philadelphia, PA
Original Architect: Eero Saarinen and Dan Kiley (landscapes)
Restoration Team: Mills + Schnoering Architects, LLC (Architecture), Floss Barber Inc. (Interior Design), Keystone Preservation Group (Materials Conservation), OLIN (Landscape Design) (See Docomomo US for full list)
Client: University of Pennsylvania
Award: Civic/Institutional Design Award of Excellence

From the jury: “This project highlights the commitment to restore a beautiful but overlooked campus structure and honors the lasting values found in modern architecture. The work accomplished by the design team not only respects the original vision, but also addresses the needs of students today, improving functionality and gaining a LEED certification – Saarinen for the 21st century.”

Kraiger House (Courtesy Frontera Media)

George Kraigher House
Brownsville, TX
Original Architect: Richard Neutra
Restoration Team: Lawrence V. Lof (Project Lead), Texas Southmost College
Client: City of Brownsville and Texas Southmost College – Dr. Juliet V. García, president, and Dr. José G. Martín, provost
Award: Residential Design Award of Excellence

From the jury: “Restoration of the Kraigher House is a compelling story of the power of public and private partnerships. Beginning with the grassroots advocacy efforts of Ambrosio Villarreal, to the Kraigher House’s inclusion on Preservation Texas’ and the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s endangered lists, restoration of this rare and significant Neutra residence by the Brownsville community is a strong testament to the power of partnerships.”

Imagining the Modern (Bob O’Conner)

Imagining the Modern: The Architecture and Urbanism of Postwar Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh, PA
Project Team: Chris Grimley, Michael Kubo, and Rami el Samahy with Ann Lui, Mark Pasnik, Cameron Longyear, Shannon McLean, Brett Pierson, Andrew Potter, Rebecca Rice, Valny Aoalsteindottir, Silvia Colpani, Lindsay Dumont, and Victoria Pai – over,under (Architects-in-Residence) (See Docomomo US for full list)
Client: Heinz Architectural Center, Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh
Award: Survey/Inventory Award of Excellence

From the jury: “This comprehensive and multi-dimensional project established a broad context to understand a cross section of modernism through multiple lenses in the context of a single city. The project team is recognized for this deeply researched and beautifully presented exhibition that encouraged participants to take a fresh look at the architecture and urbanism of postwar Pittsburgh.”

The State of Illinois Center (James Steinkamp)

Starship Chicago: A Film by Nathan Eddy
Chicago, IL
Project Team: Nathan Eddy (Director)
Award: Advocacy Award of Excellence

From the jury: “When most preservation efforts are reactionary, Nathan Eddy has taken a unique and proactive approach and sparked much-needed conversation and action before a building faces demolition. Starship Chicago is thoughtful, beautiful, informative, and engaging and brings to light what a powerful medium film can be.”

Tom Little: Georgia Advocacy
Location: Atlanta, GA
Recipient: Docomomo US/Georgia chapter president Tom Little
Award: Advocacy Award of Excellence

From the jury: “As a result of Tom’s dedication and advocacy, he has been instrumental in saving a number of significant buildings in the region. As the founding president of the Georgia chapter of Docomomo US, Tom continues to be a steadfast advocate for modern buildings and we acknowledge his dedication in sharing the organization’s mission through local leadership and advocacy.”

Special Award of Restoration Excellence:

Unity Temple (Tome Rossiter)

Unity Temple  
Location: Oak Park, IL
Original Architect: Frank Lloyd Wright
Restoration Team: Harboe Architects, PC (Restoration Architects), Project Management Advisors, Inc. (Project Management), Berglund Construction Company (Contractor)
Client: UTP, LLC

From the jury: “This is a comprehensive restoration of one of the canonical and pioneering works of American modern architecture. It allows future generations to not only use, but learn from, and see this building as it was originally designed by Wright.”

Citations of Merit:

115, Geotronics Labs Building (Craig Blackmon)o

115, Geotronics Labs Building
Dallas, TX
Original Architect: Printz and Brooks
Restoration Team: DSGN Associates (Architecture), Constructive – Rick Fontenot

From the jury: “It is important to call attention to a project that takes a typical, small company office building and revitalizes it as an example to others who may embark upon similar projects.” Jury member Meredith Bzdak added, “This is a well-executed restoration and a good model for the treatment of other modest mid-century buildings like this around the country.”

George Washington Bridge Bus Station (John Bartelstone Photography)

George Washington Bridge Bus Station
New York, NY
Original Architect: Dr. Pier Luigi Nervi
Restoration Team: The Port Authority of NY & NJ – Engineering Department, Architectural Unit, STV, Inc.

From the jury: “As bus stations continue to be lynchpins of modern urban transportation infrastructure, the restoration of the GWB Bus Station was thoughtfully executed and serves as an important example of a government agency choosing to invest in the restoration of a significant modern resource instead of opting for new construction.”

Lurie House (Thad Russell)

Lurie House

Location: Pleasantville, NY
Original Architect: Kaneji Domoto
Restoration Team: Lynnette Widder (Lead) (See Docomomo US for full list)

From the jury: “This is a beautiful and well-considered renovation done with extreme care and appreciation of environmental efforts as well as the Japanese-American architect’s cultural orientation.”

The cover of Banking on Beauty (Courtesy Docomomo US)

Banking on Beauty: Millard Sheets and Midcentury Commercial Architecture
Project Team: Adam Arenson

From the jury: “Arenson’s research has uncovered an extensive legacy of ‘every man modernism’ that was largely unknown and underappreciated, and brings attention to main street architecture with real design value and the impact of individual grassroots efforts.”

UCSD Library (Geisel Architectural Resources Group)

UC San Diego Campus-wide Historic Context Statement and Historic Resource Survey
San Diego, CA
Project Team: Architectural Resources Group – Katie E. Horak, Principal, Andrew Goodrich, Associate, Micaela Torres-Gill, Paul D. Turner, PhD, NeuCampus Planning – David Neuman

UC San Diego, Physical and Community Planning – Robert Clossin (AICP, Director), Catherine Presmyk (Assistant Director of Environmental Planning), Todd Pitman (Assistant Director and Campus Landscape Architect) (See Docomomo US for full list)
Client: UC San Diego 

From the jury: “This project is significant because of the ever-increasing pressures universities face in improving their campus building portfolios while maintaining significant architectural resources. The inventory will help better protect these resources and has the potential to educate this particular campus community and other college and university systems across the country.”