Landslide 2008: Marvels of Modernism / The Cultural Landscape Foundation

Following up on the 11 Designs Every Student Must Know post.  Here is A collection 11 specifically Modernist designs. REading through the ‘Threats’ section on each design gives a feel for the long-term shortcomings of modernist projects (esp. Boston City Hall & Manhattan Sq.), while the history outlines their cultural significance and makes a solid case for preservation. 

These arguments make me wonder what may have been lost in the re-redevelopment of Fayettville Street.  I myself was a strong supporter of the project because the mall was a miserable place after work hours.  But I confess that I, like most of Raleigh, did not ever consider there may be have been intrisic value in the mall design.  Technically, the street is now open to traffic but it is intentionally kept at low volume and speed to be more pedestrian friendly.  And in reality, the reopend street is most active when it is closed to traffic for special events.  So what have we gained?  The vista from the Capitol to the Auditorium is a dramatic improvement.  The wide sidewalks and seating areas are good, but the mall was a sidewalk itself  and full of fountians, trees, and places to sit.  What if the street had remained closed to traffic and the redesign restrained to vista and other experience improvements?  Would the mall have enlivened itself naturally in response to surrounding downtown investments?

and now the 11 modernist designs…via Landslide 2008: Marvels of Modernism / The Cultural Landscape Foundation.

Modernist landscapes with boomerang curves, reservoirs inspired by Joan Miro paintings, animated fountains, soaring roof gardens, geometric earthworks, futuristic fair grounds, and sunken and expansive plazas all became celebrated design elements during the nation’s massive post-World War II development. These experimental and innovative expressions became a catalyst for inserting Modern design sensibilities into newly minted public and private spaces. During this period, designers, their clients, and patrons utilized revolutionary and experimental materials and subdued transitions between indoor and outdoor spaces to infuse Modern forms into classic sensibilities. However, until recently, many of these designs have been misunderstood and under appreciated.

Lake Elizabeth (Allegheny Commons, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania)
Boston City Hall Plaza (Boston, Massachusetts)
Estates Drive Reservoir (Oakland, California)
Heritage Plaza (Heritage Park, Fort Worth,Texas)
Kaiser Roof Garden (Kaiser Center, Oakland,California) 
Manhattan Square Park (Rochester, New York)
Mill Creek Canyon Earthworks (Kent, Washington.)
Miller Garden (Columbus, Indiana), El (Hato Rey, Puerto Rico)
Pacific Science Center Courtyard (Seattle, Washington)
Parkmerced (San Francisco, California)
Peavey Plaza (Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis, Minnesota).

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