What's at Stake in 2024


Liz Waytkus


Docomomo US


Advocacy, What's at Stake
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When considering what’s at stake for the coming year, I always reflect on what challenges we have faced and what we should celebrate. Like nearly every year prior to this one, the highs and lows were unique and involved multitudes of resilient partners and preservation organizations joining coalitions and speaking out on behalf of Modern sites and our built heritage. 


Looking back, I can’t help but think about the incredible National Symposium in New Haven, Connecticut, and the 400 people who registered for the event! For years, I have said that the Elm City was a treasure trove of world-class Modern architecture, exceptional people, and the country’s best pizza. New Haven did not disappoint, and seeing all the happy people we brought to the new Hotel Marcel, a project that easily could have been demolished, will stay with me for many years to come.  


Looking to the future, the 2024 National Symposium in Miami and Coral Gables promises to be just as exciting. All attendees will have the chance to visit Miami Marine Stadium, which is frustratingly still abandoned, and the funding has not been allocated yet to restore it. Seeing important sites restored, reimagined, and reopened can put whole cities back on the map, as was the case in New Haven. I hope that our presence in Miami will be the catalyst for change. 

This year also saw a number of big coalition-oriented advocacy issues for Postmodern buildings like the Thompson Center in Chicago, 60 Wall Street in New York, and the new-on-our-radar Philip Johnson-designed library in Miami. While praise and context for these sites continue to come in (Bloomberg CityLab and New York Review of Architecture) city administrations are either not buying it or are too concerned about economic development in our (still) confusing post-pandemic world. Will we all go back to work and fill big office buildings, or are there other opportunities such as residential conversions for these mostly midcentury projects?  


Which leads us to the topic of office buildings, specifically, corporate campuses typically found in the suburbs or a little outside of our downtown city cores. What are we to do with these multi-building complexes (many surrounded by large swaths of land) if the underutilization and vacancy continues? What is their historic significance? Who were they built by and for? How can they be reused so we can stop dredging our planet’s resources and avoid the accelerating effect that more demolitions have on climate change? That is the subject of our 2024 Annual Theme, and I am excited to start exploring and see where your explorations lead to, too!


Finally, we must celebrate this year’s important preservation wins, including the landmarking of Paul Rudolph’s Modulightor Building in NYC and a hearing to designate his Blue Cross Blue Shield Building in Boston. An outpouring of public support made for a quick turn around in the plans to demolish the Baxter International Corporate Headquarters, a 1970 SOM design in Deerfield, Illinois. The designation of Boston City Hall and the review of the Roundhouse Police Administration building in Philadelphia are currently on hold, but we’re hopeful that both will move forward next year. The purchase of the Breuer Cottage in Wellfleet, Massachusetts, by our friends at Cape Cod Modern House Trust, inches closer to reality. Docomomo US is proud to have helped raise awareness of this issue, and we encourage you to support them in this incredible opportunity to make Breuer’s Cottage and his final resting place open to the public.  


Of course, we also could not do what we do without your support. Through education, advocacy, and programming, Docomomo US is the national voice for our Modern heritage. Help us amplify that voice by making a year-end gift of $100, $250, $500, or whatever you are able.  

THANK YOU to all of our steadfast members and supporters over the years.


Liz Waytkus
Executive Director
Docomomo US