Modern at the Crossroads

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Day One: Modern at the Crossroads

Sessions 1:00 pm - 2:30 pm ET

Our day one pre-recorded sessions acknowledge not only unsung architectural works, but explore their unsung contributions to architectural heritage. Travel in time from Chicago’s first landmarks to its space-age modern and post-modern Chicago buildings that are hopeful to someday become Chicago landmarks while viewing the vast array of innovative architecture that has created this unique modern city.

Each session will consist of 20 minute presentations followed by 15 minutes of a live Q&A. 

Keynote 3:00 - 4:30 pm ET

Docomomo US is pleased to present this year's Symposium keynote discussion, “Modern at the Crossroads,” moderated by Board President Theo Prudon, where we consider how race and the Africian American experience has been impacted by the Modern Movement. We will look at the origins of how history is determined to be significant or valuable, that may in turn lead us to reconsider what we preserve. Mabel O. Wilson will begin with the address with her presentation, "Who's Modern? Blackness and MoMA’s Architecture and Design Archive." Jack Pyburn will build on this discussion with his talk, "What's Modern? African American Environments in the time of Modernism."

Gain new perspectives to considering history, bias, and the resulting formation and reformations of this contextual framework based on new evidence. Explore methodologies that consider and visualize untold histories through built work, not only through sifting out its stories, but in its matching of bricks and mortar.

How can the profession build a more equitable preservation practice that looks both backwards and forwards productively? Are new resources required? How does the materiality that creates the physical presence of a site, connect history, space, and the user? How does privilege play into history and representation? What steps can we take to discover and embrace lost cultural resources to make invisible communities visible to the public?

“Modernity has built its superior culture through its forms, aesthetics, and practices to place it above and beyond the primitive, savage, folk, and the racial other” – Mabel O. Wilson

“Buildings need to be looked at as vessels for an exceptional history” – Jack Pyburn

Keynote Speakers

Tour 5:00 - 6:00 pm ET

We end Day One at the Illinois Institute of Technology campus, with a virtual tour that reassesses the complicated, sometimes difficult legacy of Mies van der Rohe and IIT within the surrounding African American neighborhood.

Featured Sponsor

Thank you to the TAWANI Foundation for supporting the 2021 National Symposium.

TAWANI Foundation

The TAWANI Foundation is committed to preserving and protecting our architectural and cultural heritage. We support organizations whose goals are to ensure that national treasures, from significant physical structures to museums and arts organizations, are available for the enrichment of generations to come.

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