d o c o m o m o l o u i s i a n a is a regional chapter of an international committee dedicated to the

documentation and conservation of the buildings, sites and neighborhoods of the modern movement

Friday, October 4, 2013

October 5th Tour Postponed Due to Hurricane Karen, the October 5th walking tour of Lake Vista has been postponed. As soon as the new date is announced we will let you know; our goal is to schedule the event for another Saturday this month. DOCOMOMO US/Louisiana appreciates your understanding of the schedule change.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Tour of Modern Buildings to take place October 5

DOCOMOMO US/Louisiana, the New Orleans chapter of the international working party for the DOcumentation and COnservation of buildings, sites and neighborhoods of the MOdern MOvement, hosts the walking tour “Lake Vista: Modernism and the Ideal Planned Community” on Saturday, October 5, 2013. The meeting point for the tour is Lake Vista Spanish Fort parking lot and the tour begins at 1 p.m. Lake Vista is a New Orleans community created in the twentieth century on land developed north of the lakefront’s historic edge. It was designed to incorporate Modernist planning principles, with the complete separation of vehicular and pedestrian realms, using a unique network of automobile culs-de-sac and "fingers of green space." Churches, a school and commercial space were incorporated into the plan, which typifies some of the most prominent national thought at the time about ideal communities. The tour will cast light on Lake Vista’s urban design and in addition, tour stops will include examples of mid-century Modern institutional and residential architecture. Tour will be guided by John P. Klingman, author and Professor of Architecture, Tulane University. This is a 3-hour walking tour of Lake Vista. Cost per person is $25.00 to the general public, $15.00 DOCOMOMO US members, and $15.00 for students. Advance reservations by email (docomomolouisiana@gmail.com) are recommended but not required. “Lake Vista: Modernism and the Ideal Planned Community” will emphasize the goals of the DOCOMOMO US/Louisiana Chapter, organized to promote and protect Modern architecture and urban design in and around New Orleans. Some of the tour's highlights are included on the DOCOMOMO NOLA iPhone app, developed in association with Tulane University. “Lake Vista: Modernism and the Ideal Planned Community” is held in conjunction with the nationwide day of tours and other special events October 5, 2013 sponsored by DOCOMOMO US. For more information go to http://docomomo-us.org/tourday

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

DOCOMOMO US June 2013 E-News Brief

JUNE 2013
DOCOMOMO US is the working party of Docomomo in the United States. It is a 501(c)3 registered non-profit organization, a union of regional chapters that shares its members' knowledge of and enthusiasm for the Modern Movement, promotes public interest in it through lectures and walking tours, and organizes advocacy efforts to protect endangered sites and buildings.
Join the national community of architects, historians, preservationists, students and modern movement enthusiasts dedicated to raising awareness of the importance of modern architecture and landscapes in the United States. Membership is available online at www.docomomo-us.org or by downloading our membership form.
Go Modern! at www.docomomo-us.org, and follow DOCOMOMO US on Facebook and Twitter

World Trade Center threatened in New Orleans

New Orleans, Louisiana. Another mid-century modern building may be demolished in the Crescent City. Edward Durell Stone’s World Trade Center, built as the International Trade Mart, has been under threat since the mid-1990s. Begun in 1959 and partially occupied by 1966, the ITM set the standard for other such structures worldwide. Designed to promote foreign commerce through the Port of New Orleans, the ITM was home to the trade organization, the Dock Board, stevedores, international consulates, shipping companies, a women’s clinic, modistes and an art gallery.
Stone and associate architect Robert Lee Hall conceived the 33-story building with nautical associations, an enormous compass and an anchor to a landscaped plaza adjacent to the Mississippi River. Developers hoped that New Orleans would become the modern world’s Damascus and Stone aligned the structure’s four wings with the cardinal directions.  Situated atop 600 tension piles, the reinforced concrete structure afforded 4 wings of leasable space on each of the office floors. Solid concrete panels alternated with floor-to-ceiling windows that provided expansive views of the city surpassed only by the penthouse vista. Macton Machinery Company -- maker of the 1964 New York World’s Fair “Tower of Light” -- fabricated the revolving penthouse cocktail lounge that visually linked the Mississippi to Lake Pontchartrain.
When asked about the building, Hicks Stone, Edward Durell Stone's son and author of the book Edward Durell Stone: A Son's Untold Story of a Legendary Architect stated, "Father’s building is a serene and elegant presence on the New Orleans skyline. Its vertical lines are emblematic of his 1960s era work. A look at any image of the surrounding buildings quickly reveals a dizzying array of clumsy and charmless contemporary high-rises. The only other building that stands out as a project of distinction is Skidmore, Owings and Merrill’s One Shell Square, but even that has a sterile and anonymous quality to it. If they demolish Father’s building, they are destroying the best contemporary high-rise that they have. Instead of tearing it down, the owners should expend some effort into restoring and improving it."
New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu recently proclaimed the site the “most important piece of property in the city” and announced his interest in replacing the building with a monumental attraction akin to the Gateway Arch.  The city is now considering three proposals to redevelop the site and should make a decision later this summer. Follow Docomomo US on Facebook to receive updates about the building.
Photograph:  May 2013
See:  Bruce Eggler. “Decision on New Orleans World Trade developer not expected until July.” The Times-Picayune (30 April 2013). As viewed 18 May 2013 at: http://www.nola.com/politics/index.ssf/2013/04/decision_on_world.html#incart_river

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Membership Renewal Time!

Its membership renewal time in the Docomomo US office. Because of your participation and membership, our organization continues to lead local and national discussions on the preservation of modern architecture and promote public awareness of the significance of modernist works. Modern architecture and design is featured more prominently as evidenced in the increased coverage in publications such as the New York Times and television shows like Mad Men and Pan Am. As a member-based organization, your Docomomo US membership is essential in promoting that public awareness and interest. As the end of the year approaches, please consider renewing your membership or become a first-time member.
Benefits of a Docomomo US membership include:
  • Local chapter membership
  • Discounts on local events, lectures, film screenings
  • Discounts on national events including Tour Day
  • Subscription to our monthly Docomomo US electronic newsletter
  • Invitations to member-only special events
  • The Docomomo US membership card
Docomomo US and its chapters thank you for your continued membership and support.

Friday, October 12, 2012

SOM 1958

The former Pan-American Life Insurance Company Building (1951-52), designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill with Claude Edgar Hooton, Jr. (1905-1993). The National Register structure is currently being restored and repaired for use by the Veterans Administration.

Image above: Detail, F.Donald Gibson, letter to Freret-LaCour, 3 December 1958, Building Letterheads, Southeastern Architectural Archive, Special Collections Division, Tulane University Libraries.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Wilford Francis Calongne, Jr. (1921-2012)

Published in The Sun Herald on 9 August 2012:

Wilford "Bill" Calongne, 90, of Ocean Springs, MS died on Saturday, August 4, 2012. Mr. Calongne was a resident of Ocean Springs since 1984. He retired from Tulane University where he was a Professor in Architecture. His urbane and gentle manner was as influential as his considerable skill as an architect. What set him apart was his interest in music, particularly that of modern composers and his passion for the well-designed object. Unlike most of his University colleagues, he was almost universally admired as a non dogmatic but highly principled teacher and architect. Some of his noteworthy students were Albert Ledner, Milton Scheuermann and Errol Barron. In the scope of his career, he designed many notable buildings in New Orleans and on the gulf coast to include several homes in Biloxi, Ocean Springs and Pascagoula. Mr. Calongne retired from teaching at Tulane in 1984. In November of 1973 he bought four acres of land at Pointe aux Chenes, where he planned to build his dream home. His home was eventually built as an architectural experiment of his own design. The home was geometrically pure, spatially concise and sturdy surviving Hurricane Katrina in 2005. His father, Wilford F. Calongne, was born in 1883 in New Orleans. He married Mary Haggarty in New Orleans in 1920. Wilford, Jr. was their only son and the family resided on Webster Street near Audubon Park.

Mr. Calongne is survived by extended families to include the Luckey, Smith and Calongne family that mourn his passing and celebrate his unique life.

Funeral services will be held on Saturday, August 11, 2012 at 1:30 p.m. at the Ocean Springs Chapel of Bradford-O'Keefe Funeral Home. Friends may visit from 1:00 p.m. until service time. Interment will follow in Evergreen Cemetery, Ocean Springs.

Memorials may be made to: In Memory of Wilford F. Calongne, Jr.,Tulane School of Architecture, Attn: Dean Schwartz, 6823 St. Charles Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70118.

View and sign register book at www.bradfordokeefe.com

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


The New Orleans Film Society, in partnership with the Prytania Theatre and Mathes Brierre present:


Wednesday, April 25, 2012
7:00 p.m.
Prytania Theatre
5339 Prytania Street

Official film synopsis: In 1961, three young, visionary architects were commissioned by Fidel Castro and Che Guevara to create Cuba’s National Art Schools on the grounds of a former golf course in Havana, Cuba. Construction of their radical designs began immediately and the school’s first classes soon followed. Dancers, musicians and artists from all over the country reveled in the beauty of the schools, but as the dream of the Revolution quickly became a reality, construction was abruptly halted and the architects and their designs were deemed irrelevant in the prevailing political climate. Forty years later the schools are in use, but remain unfinished and decaying. Castro has invited the exiled architects back to finish their unrealized dream. View trailer here.

Tickets may be purchased online through theprytania.com or at the box office.