Yo! Modernism Kickoff!

Meyerson Hall

210 S 34th St
Philadelphia, PA
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Yo! Modernism Kickoff

On Wednesday June 1, Symposium guests will be welcomed to Philadelphia with a keynote address on the University of Pennsylvania campus followed by a reception at the University of Pennsylvania's Institute of Contemporary Art. Galleries will be opened specially for the event. 

Throughout the day there will be a special pop-up exhibition focused on Anne Tyng at Penn's Architectural Archives. 

Earlier in the day the Docomomo US National Board will meet and the annual chapter forum will be held at the Richards Medical building.

Registration and badge pickup will start at 4:30 at Meyerson Hall. 

Keynote Address: The Past Informs the Future / the Present Challenges the Past.

6:00-7:15 pm
University of Pennsylvania
Meyerson Hall Room B1

Docomomo US is pleased to present Inga Saffron and Michael J. Lewis as the keynote speakers for the 2022 National Symposium in Philadelphia.

Philadelphia’s modern heritage is as varied as sunrises. Philadelphia is the city of Howe & Lescaze’s groundbreaking PSFS Building (1929-32), but it is also home to the strongest legacy of the École des Beaux Arts in America. The first modern public housing project is built here (Kastner & Stonorov’s Carl Mackey Houses, 1932-35) and city planning’s role is redefined in and through Philadelphia’s redevelopment. All of this heritage is built on an extraordinary burst of arts and crafts activity at the turn of the century. It can be said that Philadelphia is an important location where modernism was welcomed into American culture while also being a place where its limitations were recognized and challenged. Out of all that you get Louis Kahn, the Philadelphia School, and the post modernism of Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown. In other words, Philadelphia is a quintessentially “big tent” modernism place. And yet, for all the recognized significance of Philadelphia’s modern heritage – or, frankly, its built heritage more broadly – the mechanisms driving development and change are increasingly tipping in favor of the wrecking ball. To unpack the tensions between Philadelphia’s past and present – and in a sense all large American cities – we turn to Inga Saffron, architecture critic for the Philadelphia Inquirer, and Michael J. Lewis, architecture critic for the Wall Street Journal. We’ll explore what is good about the good, and perhaps what’s really good, and consider why things are so bad now.

Keynote Speakers

Opening Reception at the Institute of Contemporary Art

7:30-9:00 pm
118 S. 36th Street, Philadelphia, PA

Following the keynote address, join us for a reception at the University of Pennsylvania's Institute of Contemporary Art, which is just a short walk from Meyerson Hall. Light food and drinks provided and the galleries will be opened specially for the event.