Design Within Reach is proud to be the program sponsor for the Docomomo US Modernism in America Awards. The 2016 awards will be presented on Thursday, September 22 at the DWR Studio on East 57th Street in Manhattan. Tickets are available here.
This year’s winners include:
Frederick and Harriet Rauh Residence (Cincinnati, OH)
Original architect: John Becker, 1938
The Residential Design Award of Excellence is given for the restoration of the Frederick and Harriet Rauh Residence. Restoration of the house and property was accomplished through the collective efforts of the Cincinnati Preservation Association and a team of experts and spearheaded by Emily Rauh Pulitzer who grew up in the house as a child. The story of the restoration is told in a video produced by the Cincinnati Preservation Association.
Mellon Square (Pittsburgh, PA)
Original architects: Mitchell & Ritchey
Original landscape architects: Simonds & Simonds
The Civic/Institutional Design Award of Excellence is given for the restoration of Pittsburgh’s Mellon Square. Envisioned as a cornerstone of Pittsburgh’s post WWII renaissance by Richard King Mellon and Mayor David L. Lawrence, this park is considered the “Emerald Jewel” of downtown Pittsburgh. It opened in 1955 as the nation’s first urban plaza designed with an underground garage and retail space as an integral composition. After falling into decline due to weather, system failures and use, a Preservation, Interpretation & Management Plan was developed in 2008 that informed the five-year restoration and revitalization project led by Heritage Landscapes LLC.
Golden State Mutual Life Insurance Building (Los Angeles, CA)
Original architect: Paul Revere Williams, 1949
The Commercial Design Award of Excellence is awarded for the restoration of the Golden State Mutual Life Insurance Building. For much of the 20th century Golden State Mutual Life Insurance was the largest black-owned insurance company in the western United States and the first in the region to write insurance policies to all people regardless of color. The company was a pillar of the African-American community, providing hundreds of African-Americans and other minorities stable, middle-class employment, and was front and center in the drive for civil rights as the site of numerous voter drives and community organization efforts, including a visit by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. In selecting the project the jury noted, “The renovation of this lesser known modern office headquarters in Los Angeles embodies the ethos of ‘refreshing’ a building rather than replacing (i.e. a light touch rather than a heavy hand).”
Michigan Modern (Michigan)
The Advocacy Award of Excellence is given to the Michigan Modern project. With the goal of raising awareness of the significance of the state’s Modern resources and design heritage, the Michigan State Historic Preservation Office received a Preserve America grant in 2009. The initial scope included development of a historic context on Modernism in Michigan; survey of 100 significant Modern resources; four architect interviews; and the creation of the Michigan Modern website to impart the information to the public. The project grew to include an exhibition entitled Michigan Modern: Design That Shaped America, a book of the same name due out later this fall, the funding of three National Historic Landmark designations, and has served as the springboard for advocacy and activism.
Margaret Esherick House (Philadelphia, PA)
The Met Breuer (New York, NY)
The Shepley Bulfinch Architecture Firm Office (Phoenix, AZ)
Houston: Uncommon Modern (Houston, TX)
United Nations Campus Renovation of Facades (New York, NY)
Tower of Hope, Christ Cathedral (Garden Grove, CA)
The Modernism in America Awards is the only national program that celebrates the people and projects working to preserve, restore and rehabilitate our modern heritage sensitively and productively. The program seeks to advance those preservation efforts; to increase appreciation for the period and to raise awareness of the on-going threats against modern architecture and design.
The awards acknowledge the substantial contribution preservation in general and the postwar heritage in particular makes to the economic and cultural life of our cities and towns and their respective communities. The awards also set a standard as to what can be accomplished with the productive preservation of these projects.
About Docomomo US
Docomomo (documentation and conservation of buildings, sites and neighborhoods of the modern movement) is dedicated to the preservation of modern architecture, landscape and design. Through advocacy, education and documentation, they provide leadership and knowledge by demonstrating the importance of modern design principles including the social context, technical merits, aesthetics and settings of these important pieces of American history.