Jefferson Kicks off Docomomo U.S. National Symposium

On May 31, the University’s Center for the Preservation of Modernism hosted Yo! Richard Neutra! A Modern House Conservation Panel and Workshop, which served as the kick-off event for the 2022 DocomomoUS National Symposium, the organization’s annual conference that focuses on the preservation of modern buildings and sites, held this year in Philadelphia.

With the Richard Neutra-designed Hassrick House as its centerpiece, the event was an incredible success with more than 40 enthusiastic attendees, talks by leaders in modern preservation, conservation workshops by esteemed faculty members and multiple student docent-led tours. 

Held in-person on Jefferson’s East Falls campus, the half-day event began with talks by modern conservation experts, Kelly Sutherlin McLeod, Tara Ikenouye, and Angel Ayón, who spoke about their work on preserving Richard Neutra’s Hafley House and Frank Lloyd Wright’s Kalil House, as well as a series of modern glass conservation case studies, respectively.

Jefferson’s Hassrick House was also the focus of a series of conservation workshops led by Jefferson faculty.

  • Lorraine Schnabel, Adjunct Professor of Historic Preservation, led a concrete block demonstration which allowed participants to evaluate and compare the water absorption properties of weathered versus unweathered block.
  • Assistant Professor Andrew Hart and Historic Preservation students David Zaveloff and Matt Havens led a photogrammetry and Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) laser scanning workshop, demonstrating the latest technologies in modern site documentation.
  • Adjunct Professor of Historic Preservation Lori Aument and Jim Dossett, Senior Building Enclosure Consultant at RWDI, led a workshop on the decision-making process of preserving the building envelope of a modern house, considering several glazing interventions and evaluating the impact of different building envelope designs.

“The Symposium was a great opportunity for the Center for the Preservation of Modernism to partner with DocomomoUS and allowed us not only to share the Hassrick House with a national audience, but also to showcase our expert faculty and talented students!” says Suzanne Singletary, Director of the Center for the Preservation of Modernism and the MS in Historic Preservation.

Singletary organized the event with Faculty Advisory Committee members Grace Ong Yan, Assistant Professor of Interior Design, and Suzanna Barucco, Adjunct Professor of Historic Preservation.

The event would not have been possible without the assistance of Sarah Bott, Administrative Assistant to the Dean, numerous Master of Historic Preservation students and alumni including Alison Eberhardt, Jessica Radomski, Kevin King, Nika Faulkner, Rye Fitzgerald, Alex Jones, Elizabeth May, Jeff Wilkinson, Abigail Lewis, Jessica Oberg and Emily Stankar. Thank you to MillerKnoll for staging the house for the event.

CABE faculty took on other leadership roles in the DocomomoUS Symposium with David Breiner leading the architectural tour, Hidden Gems: The Modern Houses of East Falls, and Grace Ong Yan moderating the paper session, Living and Learning Through Urban Renewal, leading an architectural tour of the PSFS building’s banking hall and co-leading the tour, Penicillin and the Wrecking Ball: Two Views of Philadelphia’s Modern Redevelopment.