Which Modern Landmarks Will You Explore?

DOCOMOMO, the creatively named advocacy group for Modernist buildings, is asking “Where will you explore?” in its sixth annual tour day on October 6. Unfortunately, Mississippi doesn’t have any tours, but a number of other Southern states, including Louisiana, are stepping up to the plate. This is a great opportunity to learn more about architecture that some of us find difficult to understand, and to get inside buildings that often aren’t open to the public.

You can find all available tours here and below is a sampling of offerings from some of our neighbors, in case you’d like to take a fall weekend trip.


No Small Idea: Midtown’s Colony Square

Join Docomomo US/Georgia and AIA Atlanta for a reception and talk at the offices of Jova/Daniels/Busby led by members of the original architectural team followed by a walking tour of Colony Square. The tour includes a walking tour that will explore all aspects of the project: Office, retail, residential and hospitality.

Learn about the development and design of Colony Square, nearing its fortieth anniversary. Colony Square was the first multi-use project of its kind in the South, and was a catalyst for future change and development in Midtown Atlanta.Learn about the development and design of Midtown Atlanta’s landmark, Colony Square. Colony Square was the first multi-use project of its kind in the south, and was a catalyst for future change and development in Atlanta. The tour includes a presentation about Colony Square’s history and design led by members of the original Jova/Daniels/Busby architectural team, followed by a walking tour that will explore all aspects of the project: Office, retail, residential, and hospitality.

Start Address:
Jova/Daniels/Busby Office
1201 Peachtree Street N.E.
Atlanta, GA 30361

Date: 10/6
Time: 10:30am
Cost: $5.00/person
Registration: RSVP required. Please email Docomomo US/Georga Chapter to book your reservation.


Lake Vista Neighborhood
Tour description coming soon!

Start Address:
Lake Vista Neighborhood
6645 Spanish Fort Boulevard
New Oleans, LA 70124
Date: TBD
Time: TBD
Cost: TBD
Registration: TBD

Texas offers numerous tours in several cities this year, including Houston and Austin. Texas really boomed in the post-WWII period and has some pretty amazing Modernist buildings, so I’m sure any of the tours would be worthwhile. Check them out at http://www.docomomo-us.org/tour_day_2012/texas.

Personally, if I were up in Chicago that weekend, I would hitch a ride with the “Architecture in the Round” tour:

Architecture in the Round

Best known for his curving concrete structures, Bertrand Goldberg was a native Chicagoan who “broke the box” and brought new ideas and philosophies to mid-century Modern design. A student of Mies van der Rohe, Goldberg began experimenting early in his career with new shapes and materials that differentiated his work from the rigid rectilinear style of his mentor. Goldberg was passionate about revitalizing cities, and we’ll see projects he designed that were intended to inject vitality back into Chicago’s urban fabric as he saw it begin to decay in the 1950s.
Start Address:
Chicago Architecture Foundation Shop & Tour Center
224 S. Michigan Avenue
Chicago, IL 60604
Date: 10/6
Time: 12noon – 3:30pm(3 1/2 hour bus tour)
Cost: Adults- $45, Members- $37
Registration: Register online by following this link or by calling 312-922-TOUR

Categories: Historic Preservation

7 replies

  1. The photo above shows a refreshing surprise from the rectangles and squares people go to work in every day. A man thinking outside the box for sure.


  2. Goldberg did twin round apartment towers on the Chicago River too–exceptionally cool: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marina_City


  3. Meridian has been on my list of cities to visit primarily because of the Rishers’ work. The Vise Building alone is worth the trip.

    I can never quite put my finger on why their work feels, to me, both aware of a general Modernist sensibility and specifically regional. Perhaps it’s an element of joy, perhaps surprise, perhaps a (non-perjorative) sense of (Southern?) quirkiness.

    It’s a thread that also appears in Sambo Mockbee’s work. Does such a thing as a Meridian School exist?


    • I think a lot more work needs to be done to come to a better understanding of Modernism in Mississippi, the Deep South, and the Gulf South. That would help us answer the question, “does such a thing as a Meridian School exist?” Certainly Risher was the teacher in that school, but I think there were at least a few really good Modernists in Meridian: Risher, Clopton, Archer? It’s exciting to be at this point in architectural history when we can start really delving into these questions and understanding the landscape of modernism in Mississippi, maybe for the first time. Wouldn’t it be great to have a DOCOMOMO tour next year? That might help move this along in the public consciousness and give people an opportunity to give these buildings a second look.


  4. Did you know that affiliated groups can offer tours as part of the whole “Tour Day” event? Maybe a tour of sites in Meridian or Jackson would be a good place to start for tour day 2013? Here’s the link, maybe a local or statewide MS organization could take this on next year. I would try my best to attend (and I’m in Georgia!).


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