DOCOMOMO US/New York Tri-State

Our mission is to increase public awareness and appreciation of Modern movement architecture, landscapes and urban design; to identify and document local examples; and to advocate for the protection of those determined most significant.

DOCOMOMO/US New York Tri-State is a local chapter of Docomomo US, which is a national working group of Docomomo International, an organization founded in 1988. Since 1996, the chapter has been advancing this mission in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.

Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY. Photo: Rob Streevelaar
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Modern Movement Heritage

In the early 20th century, during a brief and exhilarating period, architecture, urban planning and landscape were transformed at the same moment as the emergence of cubism and abstraction in art, twelve-tone music, the theory of relativity and dramatic evolution in industrialism, scientific method, economic and social theory and rational philosophy.

Modern architecture became a key element in the expression of innovative ideas. The spirit that generated these forms, and the forms themselves, represent an important part of our intellectual heritage. The preservation of this built heritage, which expresses the dynamic spirit of the 20th century, depends on a shared appreciation of its cultural value, social significance and economic viability.

These factors prompted the founding of the international organization DOCOMOMO.

— From the founding documents of DOCOMOMO International

Docomomo International was launched in 1988 by Hubert-Jan Jenket and Wessel de Jonge at the School of Architecture at the Technical University in Eindhoven, the Netherlands. Today there are 71 chapters and more than 3,000 international members.

Learn more about Docomomo International

The Glass House and the Brick House, New Canaan, CT. Photo: K. Randall
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The Preservation Challenge in the United States

Toward the end of the 20th century preservation professionals in the U.S. became increasingly concerned that buildings and sites of Modern heritage were facing heightened endangerment without advocates for their preservation. It was time for Modern heritage to become part of mainstream historic preservation.

In 1995, the National Park Service convened “Preserving the Recent Past,” the first national conference to address Modern heritage in the United States. The sharp focus and commitment evident at the well-attended event signaled that a movement to protect and preserve Modern architecture was afoot. The conference was a launch point for new organizations across the country including Docomomo US and its initial chapters in Chicago, New York and Northern California.

Modern has moved mainstream. Modern architecture is integrated into graduate preservation programs; local commissions and state preservation authorities now recognize the significance of the period and both the general and architectural press more regularly cover issues related to Modern architecture. The National Trust for Historic Preservation purchased the Farnsworth House (Mies van der Rohe, 1945–1951) and was bequeathed the Glass House (Philip Johnson, 1949) opening them as National Trust Historic Sites. New organizations devoted to protecting Modern heritage continue to form as existing ones grow in membership and effectiveness. Most importantly, significant buildings of Modern architecture heritage are being discovered, documented, heralded and saved.

Docomomo US was launched in 1995 under the leadership of Theo Prudon in New York, NY. It now has 20 chapters across the country. Docomomo US handles all membership activities, represents the U.S. on the international council, manages the US Register and organizes an annual symposium, Docomomo US Tour Day, the Modernism in America awards, and other programs.

Learn more about Docomomo US

Witthoefft House, Armonk, NY. Photo: K. Randall
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DOCOMOMO US/New York Tri-State

The New York Tri-State chapter of Docomomo US began meeting informally in 1996. There was a loose divide, if any, between the New York Tri-State chapter and Docomomo US as both where based in New York City and working together to launch the organization. The DOCOMOMO US/New York Tri-State chapter held its first public event in 1998 and mailed its first newsletter in 1999. The chapter formally incorporated in 2005 and secured its own 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation status in 2006.

DOCOMOMO US/New York Tri-State is led by a 10-member board. Meet the board

The chapter’s activities, made possible through the time and energies of board members and part-time support staff, include organizing public programs and tours, publishing a monthly email newsletter and an occasional journal mōd, conducting architectural surveys and research, writing documentation, monitoring at-risk Modern buildings and sites of significance, providing expert testimony in preservation commission hearings, advocacy in support of protecting and preserving significant Modern buildings, fundraising and more.

Support for these activities comes from event admissions, donations, a portion of Docomomo US membership dues, and a semi-regular fundraising event—A Modern Affair. We are grateful to all who have supported the chapter over the past 20 years through volunteering, sharing expertise or financial contributions.

Committed to the principle that Modern architecture and design merit the attention and preservation effort given earlier periods, DOCOMOMO US/New York Tri-State provides a point of participation for individuals interested in the Modern period and a conduit for preservation advocacy through ongoing cooperation with national, state and local preservation organizations and commissions.

We welcome your involvement and support.

If you are interested in joining the board or helping with our programs, digital communications or development let us know: info@docomomo-nytri.org

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