March 24, 2014

Tour Modern Houston by Instagram

  • By: Grant Stevens

Houston Instagram. Credit: jbuono - MFA
[Earlier this month was] the Docomomo US Modernism Symposium in Houston. Posting some landmarks from the area: Culinan Hall & Brown Pavilion, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (1954-1974) Mies van der Rohe with Staub, Rather, & Howze. -- @jbuono, Jon Buono

DoCoMoMo. Say it slowly with us: Do-Co-Mo-Mo. It’s a word, it’s an acronym, it's an advocate for modern buildings. DoCoMoMo, which stands for Documentation and Conservation of the Modern Movement, is actually a nationaland international organization dedicated to the documentation and conservation of buildings, sites and neighborhoods of the modern movement.

March 13-15, the City of Houston and Houston Mod played host to the DoCoMoMO US National Symposium: Modernism in Texas. Because you may not have been able to attend, we though we'd share some highlights through an Instagram tour.

travertine by som… -- @jrosenyc, Julie

The symposium began with a walking tour of downtown Houston, which contains an interesting mix of architecture styles. One of the most photographed buildings was the 1971, 50-story skyscraper One Shell Plaza, which was designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. On the tour, we learned that it was the tallest building in the Southeastern United States when it was constructed.

Philip Johnson (almost) brings the buildings together. #houston #htown #downtown #skyline #skyscraper #docomomo #igtexas #ighouston #architecture #modernism #mod #cities #urban #philipjohnson -- @savingplaces, National Trust for Historic Preservation

Another commonly photographed building is actually two 36-story skyscrapers placed 10 feet apart and connected by a glass pyramid-shaped atrium: Philip Johnson and John Burgee’s 1975 Pennzoil Place. Designed as an optical illusion, its appearance varies dramatically depending on one's vantage point.

first church #docomomo #docomodtexas -- @jrosenyc, Julie

The kickoff reception and Modernism in America Awards presentation -- which included an Advocacy Citation of Merit for Miami Marine Stadium -- took place at the First Church of Christ, Scientist.

1st day sessions docomomo_us symposium, and redbuds are blooming. #docomodtexas -- @jbuono, Jon Buono

Friday & Saturday’s educational sessions took place in Jones Hall at the University of St. Thomas campus. Philip Johnson designed the Academic Mall, which is at the heart of the north side of campus. It has four buildings -- including Jones Hall -- in a rectangular layout, in addition to Doherty Library and the Chapel of St. Basil on opposite ends.

#docomodtexas -- @delaneyhf, Delaney HF

Saturday afternoon included a bus tour of Houston landmarks and a stop at Congregation Emanu El. The main building, designed by congregant Lenard Gabert and Mackie & Kamrath Architects was dedicated in 1949. The Proler Chapel was dedicated in 1975; its hexagon shape and ceiling (shown above) replicate the inside of a Mogen David, a six-pointed star.

#docomodtexas -- @delaneyhf, Delaney HF

During his five-decade career, Karl Kamrath (of Mackie & Kamrath) designed residential, commercial, institutional, and government buildings; the bus tour stopped at the 1951 home he designed for himself in the River Oaks Neighborhood. Terraced on three levels to reflect the contours of the Buffalo Bayou, the living room cantilevers out over the gardens.

Our final stop today: the 1940 Brochsteins Inc., factory building and it’s excellent fcade. #savingplaces #houston #texas #factory #industrial #cities #urban #urbex #urbanexploration #architecture -- @savingplaces, National Trust for Historic Preservation

The tour ended at Brochsteins Inc. where participants marveled at the beautiful 1940 industrial building designed by company founder and architect Lenard Gabert. The building is still occupied by its original owner, a family-owned custom woodworking and furniture manufacturer.

#latergram #astrodome #docomodtexas #docomomo #savetheastrodome #houston #houstonmod -- @liz13fwwm, Liz Waytkus

During the symposium, National Trust Senior Field Officer Beth Wiedower presented on the National Trust’s ongoing campaign to save the Houston Astrodome (get the story here) and many attendees took time to visit the dome. They might have spotted some selfies in progress.

The next DoCoMoMo National Symposium “Modernism on the Prairie: Rural to Metro Regional Interpretation of the Modern Movement” will be June 4-7, 2015 in Minnesota. You can find your regional chapter or friend organization here. Be sure to check out the Modernism Series over on our Preservation Leadership Forum blog and follow our Instagram account as well.

Grant is proud to be from a Main Street Community and the Black Dirt Capitol of the World—Conrad, Iowa! You can most often find him reading, running, or out on the road saving places.


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