A midcentury roadtrip through Tour Day 2021


Michele Racioppi


Docomomo US staff


Tour Day, Travel & Leisure
Image details

For Tour Day 2021 we were thrilled to have a number of tours return to in-person formats, as well as many tours that offered a hybrid option, allowing attendees from both near and far to participate. This year's events explored the ways that midcentury travel and leisure trends influenced the modern landscape, from residential homes to roadside structures to infrastructre and beyond.

Alfred Yee | A Modern Pre-cast Pioneer

Docomomo US/Hawai’i

Mahalo to all of those that attended this year’s Tour Day event. 

The 2021 Annual Walking Tour focused on Alfred Yee, one of the most influential and innovative structural engineers in Hawaii’s history.  Yee helped design some of Honolulu’s most complex structures, including Alfred Preis’s floating Arizona Memorial to Ossipoff’s Diamond Head Apartments, the first precast & prestressed concrete tower in the country. 

The hybrid event allowed participants from around the country to attend the tour virtually while also giving local residents the option to take a self-guided tour to the sites in-person. The tour included eight projects from the Waikiki/Ala Moana area, including: 1717 Ala Wai, Waipuna Apartments, Ilikai Hotel, The Equus, Sunset Tower, Ala Moana Hotel, Ala Moana Parking Garage phase II, and 1350 Ala Moana. Guest speakers Suling Yee, Chang Nai Kim, Myles Shimokawa, Roy Noda, Tim Goshi, Jimmy Lam and Ian Robertson all made great contributions to telling the history of Alfred Yee and his work.

It was one of the chapter's most well-attended events so far.

Thank you to Fung Associates, AHL, Akamai Structural LLC, Allison-Ide Structural Engineers, Down Stream Inc, GRMP, HonBlue, KAI Hawaii Inc, Martin Chock Carden, Nagamine Okawa Engineers, Tadpole Studio, and TileCo Inc for sponsoring the event.


Download the brochure


Portal Bridge Picnic: an outdoor celebration of modernist design at Point State Park 

The Pittsburgh Modern Committee of Preservation Pittsburgh hosted the Portal Bridge Picnic in historic Point State Park on October 9, 2021. Committee member & architectural historian Laura Ricketts guided a walking tour through the Portal Bridge, designed by Gordon Bunshaft/SOM in 1963 as a pedestrian connection between Downtown's Gateway Center and the amenities at the Point (a National Historic Landmark located within the Pittsburgh Renaissance Historic District). Afterwards, nearly 30 guests enjoyed the view of Pittsburgh's iconic skyline over snacks and conversation with designers, educators, preservation professionals, historians, artists, travelers, and friends. It was an awesome Saturday afternoon exploring a modernist (super)structure!

Read more about Pittsburgh's modern heritage in the Docomomo US Regional Spotlight published earlier this year, "In between Rivers: Pittsburgh's Modern Milieu."

Nivola: Sandscapes—Guided In-Person Exhibition Tour

Docomomo US/New York Tri-State

Docomomo US/New York Tri-State celebrated Tour Day 2021 with a guided in-person tour of Nivola: Sandscapes, an exhibition dedicated to the work of artist Costantino Nivola at the Magazzino Italian Art Foundation in Cold Spring, NY on October 9th. Nineteen masked attendees, including many chapter board members, enjoyed reconnecting at our first in-person event since early 2020. A native of Sardinia and longtime resident of Springs, NY on Long Island, Nivola (1911–1988) created large-scale architectural reliefs and sculpture installations in collaboration with many prominent Modern architects. Dr. Katie Larson, the Foundation’s 2021-22 Scholar-in-Residence, guided our Nivola tour and then led us through the permanent collection of postwar and contemporary Italian art. Afterward, we explored the grounds and visited Magazzino’s miniature Sardinian donkeys.


How Travel Influenced the Residents of Schweikher House

Schweikher House Preservation Trust

Guests enjoyed a beautiful day at the Schweikher House where they could experience three specialized tours highlighting how Japanese culture and design influenced the architecture of Paul Schweikher's home and studio as well as the significant influence of world travels on the Schweikher House's second resident, Martyl Langsdorf, the designer of the Doomsday Clock. These unique tours provided a fresh perspective on the Schweikher House.


SCA Roadside Trio: Stuckey's, Arkansas Green Book Sites, and Vintage Florida;  
America's Longest Highway: US Route 20

Society for Commercial Archeology

America's roadside heritage advocate, the Society Commercial Archeology (SCA), was proud to host FOUR Tour Day events this year in honor of the Docomomo US annual theme, Travel & Leisure. On October 13, we welcomed author Bryan Farr, founder of Historic Route 20, for a Zoom presentation detailing the history of America's Longest Highway, US Route 20! Attendees heard how an early Native American path became the earliest postal road to main westward expansion routes!

SCA also made available to the Docomomo US audience three previously recorded Zoom presentations that deal with midcentury travel and leisure resources:

  • Stuckey's Roadside Revival
    Stephanie Stuckey, 3rd generation CEO of Stuckey’s, a retail roadside chain found throughout the Southeast, shares her journey to bring back the iconic store that was founded by her grandfather. This event was co-hosted by Docomomo US/Georgia.
  • The Negro Motorist Green Book in Arkansas
    Ralph Wilcox, National Register & Survey Coordinator at the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, presents on the project he and his staff have undertaken to document the remaining extant properties in Arkansas that were listed in the Green Book.
  • From Mesmerizing Mermaids to Water-skiing Elephants: Roadside Attractions at Florida Springs
    Rick Kilby discusses how increased tourism to the Sunshine State in the twentieth century created a competitive environment of roadside entertainment. In the pre-Disney era, places like Rainbow, Silver, and Weeki Wachee Springs were primary destinations, and they all developed as unique roadside attractions.
Watch all three recordings here.

Travel & Leisure on San Francisco's North Waterfront

Docomomo US/NOCA

This Tour Day, Docomomo US/NOCA explored a neighborhood that is often overlooked by locals - the North Waterfront, including Fisherman's Wharf. Now a top tourist destination, during the Gold Rush era the North Waterfront was San Francisco's industrial district and was built up with brick factories and warehouses. In the post-World War II period, the neighborhood began to shift, sparking debates about the future shape (and height) of San Francisco's urban environment and the role of preservation in the local tourist economy. Tour participants explored the contrasting and complimentary values of preservation and Modernism in projects ranging from the Modernist Fontana Towers to the sensitive adaptive reuse of former industrial sites for new retail environments by teams of Modernist architects, landscape architects, and graphic designers--including Wurster, Bernardi & Emmons, Lawrence Halprin, Bobbie Stauffacher Solomon, and Joseph Esherick, Thomas Church, and Marget Larsen. In keeping with the “Travel & Leisure” theme, we explored the neighborhood’s history of swim clubs as well as the private casino at the Streamline Moderne style Aquatic Park Bathhouse (now the Maritime Museum) and other forms of leisure like shopping and dining. We also discussed the contributions of several significant artists--including Sargent Johnson, one of few Black WPA artists, color theorist Hilaire Harzberg Hiler, and Ruth Asawa.

If you missed the tour, stay tuned as we plan to offer the tour again in Spring 2022!

In the meantime, you can go on a self-guided version using the Docomomo US/NOCA guide here.

Hotel Marcel at the Pirelli Building

New Haven Preservation Trust

For this year's Docomomo US Tour Day, the New Haven Preservation Trust hosted an exclusive hard hat tour of the currently under-construction Hotel Marcel, which had previously sat vacant for many years. We extend our special thanks to Bruce Becker, owner, architect, and developer of the project, and our tour guides Alice Tai and Violette de la Selle, project architects. Recently listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Pirelli Building was designed by Marcel Breuer for the Armstrong Rubber Company and was completed in 1970. The Hotel Marcel is expected to receive Net Zero, LEED Platinum, and ENERGY STAR certifications and will serve as an example for the preservation and adaptive reuse of Modernist architecture.


Cabin Culture! - A Virtual Road Trip

Docomomo US/Minnesota

Attendees of the Docomomo US/Minnesota 2021 Tour Day event covered hundreds of miles across Minnesota and Wisconsin to modern "cabins" by significant designers in cludes Close Associates, Ralph Rapson, Milo Thompson, Bruce Abrahamson and more. Speakers included Mary Dahlman Begley, who has been conducting thematic and site-specific research for the Docomomo US/MN Modern Registry since 2020; John Boelter, whose family owns a Lisl Close-design cabin on Lake Vermillion; Bobak Ha'Eri, chapter board member and MN Modern Registry expert; and Jon Rusch, Docomomo US/MN member and preservation planner and historian of cities, buildings, and landscapes.

Watch the recorded event and view featured properties on the MN Modern Registry here.

Thank you to everyone who participated in Tour Day 2021.

If you enjoyed these programs, please consider supporting Docomomo US and its chapters by becoming a member or making a donation. We look forward to seeing you next year for Tour Day 2022.

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