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

Monday, January 24, 2011


Several local DOCOMOMO board members will participate in the Society of Architectural Historians 64th Annual Meeting in New Orleans April 13-17, 2011. Special events include a historic preservation seminar on post-disaster preservation, a roundtable discussion on the challenges faced by the local chapter to preserving modernism, and a tour of modernist sites around the city.

On Wednesday April 13th Keli Rylance (
Board Member, DOCOMOMO US, and Head, Southeastern Architectural Archive and the School of Architecture Library) and Eleanor Shelby Burke (Board Member DOCOMOMO US/Louisiana, and Deputy Director New Orleans Historic District Landmarks Commission) will participate in a Historic Preservation Seminar: Post Disaster Preservation: The Best and Worst Case Scenarios.

On Friday April 15th
Francine Stock (President, DOCOMOMO US/LA and Curator of Tulane School of Architecture New Orleans Virtual Archive), and Keli Rylance will lead a discussion about the fate of New Orleans modernism in the wake of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita (2005). The conversation will include an assessment of the National Preservation Act’s Section 106 Process as it has been applied to midcentury modernism.

On Saturday April 16th Stock and Rylance will lead a tour of Modernism in New Orleans.
Beginning along Canal Street, home to many of the modernist firms, the tour will follow this mercantile artery into Mid-City, where it will loop around into historic Treme to stop at the Phillis Wheatley Elementary School (Charles R. Colbert, 1955), a World Monuments Fund watch site. From there, the tour will stop at several residences along Bayou St. John and in the Lakeshore neighborhood, culminating at the home of native architect Albert C. Ledner.

Conference registration is open. 

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Mid Century Modern: Found and Lost?

Camarata House (L.F. Dufrechou, 1950)4914 Spain street, originally uploaded by katrinaevacuee200.
This past week Keli Rylance and I started bouncing emails back and forth about a local architect L. F. Dufrechou who started showing up in our research. We have learned so far that Leon Francis Dufrechou (1923-2001) was President of the Tulane Architectural Society in 1946 and 1947. In 1948 he designed an office / residential building at 1310 Esplanade Avenue, which could perhaps be described as prairie moderne in style. He first practiced from this office as Soule and Dufrechou. [Times-Picayune]

Dufrechou designed three houses in Lake Vista in 1950 which were photographed by Clarence John Laughlin that same year:
Larry Gilbert House, 26 Swan; Joseph Connoly House, 33 Swan; and his own house at 6 Stilt. Laughlin also photographed the Camarata House at 4914 Spain in Gentilly Terrace (Dufrechou., 1950). [Historic New Orleans Collection]

We have not yet had the opportunity to view these historic photos or personally visit the sites themselves. Yet today as we were piecing this information together, realized that the Camarata House at 4914 Spain was reviewed just last week by the Neighborhood Conservation District Committee. It is one of hundreds (?) of Louisiana Land Trust Properties that were approved for demolition on January 18, 2011.

Preservation Resource Center Advocacy Department has a full set of photos of the house. It has been gutted and yet retains its mint details. It may still be possible to sway the NCDC to stay the demolition permit if there is a willing buyer. Maybe? Any takers?

Francine Stock
president, docomomo nola

Thursday, January 20, 2011

DOCOMOMO US January 2011 E-News Brief



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.

Thank you to all our new and renewing members, and to those who generously donated to DOCOMOMO US in 2010. It is never too late to 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.
Follow DOCOMOMO US on Facebook and Twitter
Go Modern
- Mexico 2010 Conference: Student Workshops
- Threatened: Prefab UK Estate
- Update: Orange County Government Center
- World Monuments Watch: Nominations Wanted
- Book Announcement: Miami Modern
- Save The Date: Post-War Britain; MiMo in Miami
- Photo Contest
Docomomo International: Mexico 2010 Conference Student Workshops
The 3rd Docomomo Student Workshop took place in Mexico City as part of the 11th International Docomomo Conference "Living the Urban Modernity", August 2010. The workshop was held in the studio of Luis Barragán, located directly opposite Casa Barragán, a World Heritage Site. The workshop, which started 5 days prior to the full conference, had a number of students from different Mexican universities as well as participants from Brazil, Chile and England.

The area of study was the Colonia Cuauhtémoc, an urban sector of Mexico City established and built up in the 1930's. This area is still largely residential and occupied by houses and other buildings that reflect the ideas and vocabulary of the Modern Movement as typical for the period.

THREATENED: Prefab UK Estate

Excalibur prefabExcalibur, the largest surviving post-war prefab estate in Britain, is set to be demolished to make way for a modern housing development, despite opposition from residents and conservationists. The Lewisham council which oversees the South London estate has approved a redevelopment plan that would raze all but six of the original buildings, including a prefab church believed to be one-of-a-kind.

UPDATE: Orange County Government Center

Orange County Government CenterSince 2004, Paul Rudolf's Orange County Government Center in Goshen, NY (1963) has been threatened with demolition. Budgetary constraints delayed its demise and activity surrounding the Brutalist-style government complex had quieted down in recent years. However 2010 saw new developments, including an extensive financial analysis to justify replacing the building, conducted over six months by County Executive Edward A. Diana and his team. Funding for a $200,000 design and feasibility study was approved in October 2010, and a Request For Proposals recently completed.

WANTED: World Monuments Watch 2012 Nominations

Launched in 1996 and issued every two years, the World Monuments Watch calls international attention to endangered sites around the world.

DOCOMOMO US seeks recommendations for nominations from our members across the United States who wish to bring worldwide attention to local buildings, sites and neighborhoods of the Modern Movement. Click here for selection criteria and eligibility requirements, and to view the 2010 Watch list. Submit your suggestions to info@docomomo-us.org with the subject line "WMW".


Miami Modern Metropolis
Paradise and Paradox in Midcentury Architecture and Planning
Allan T. Shulman, editor.
This extensively illustrated book accompanied the exhibit Promises of Paradise: Staging Midcentury Miami, which was first mounted in the Bass Museum of Art in Miami and subsequently in Samuel P. Harn Museum in Gainesville in 2008. While the exhibit was managed by Ruth Grim of the Bass and co-curated by Allan Shulman and Tome Hine, the book was edited by Shulman, who is a practicing architect in Miami, a faculty member of the University of Miami School of Architecture and an active member of DOCOMOMO US/FLA.


Preserving Post-War Britain
March 2, 2011
American Institute of Architects New York Chapter
Center for Architecture, 536 LaGuardia Place, New York, NY

MiMo in Miami: An International Conference on Mid-Century Modern Architecture
March 11-12, 2011
Miami, FL


December's trivia contest left readers stumped! The image to the left (courtesy of SCAD professor E.G. Daves Rossell) captures the sanctuary of St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Sarasota, FL, designed by architect and DOCOMOMO US member Victor Lundy.


Name this architect and building for a chance to win a prize from the Docomomo archives.

Email your responses to info@docomomo-us.org by January 31.


The ongoing strength of DOCOMOMO US lies in the action and communication of our members. Please keep us apprised of your local work, advocacy and other current issues by e-mailing us at info@docomomo-us.org.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Friday, January 14, 2011

Claiborne Towers 1950

In December 1950, architects William Nowland Van Powell (1904-1977) and Henry Ehrensing (1907-1985) received attention for their design of a new luxury apartment complex to be located at the intersection of South Claiborne Avenue and Canal Street (bounded by Cleveland and S. Derbigny). At the time, Claiborne Towers was the South's largest apartment project, with a planned 1036 units that included air conditioning. Construction of the 17-story $10 Million building had begun in April of 1950, after a lease agreement for the site was negotiated with Tulane University. By 1952, Claiborne Towers featured a beauty shop, lingerie boutique, cleaners, and a lounge on its ground floor. Its lobby was apportioned with terrazzo flooring and black walnut panels, and a mural depicting the progress of New Orleans was planned for the 62-ft wall expanse above the structure's Otis elevator bank.

Image above: National Architect Vol. 6 No. 12 (December 1950): p. 7. Tulane University Libraries.