This virtual event was hosted by Mallory Bower of Michigan Historic Preservation Network (MHPN), with guest speaker Michelle “Jahra” McKinney, Executive Director of the Detroit Sound Conservancy (DSC). Ms. McKinney shared the nonprofit repository’s ongoing preservation and placekeeping journey with its project— the Blue Bird Inn.
The Blue Bird Inn structure is a historically significant neighborhood building that is now a part of the local historic district in Detroit, Michigan, on the city's Old West Side. Once renovations are complete, the DSC will use the Blue Bird as its home for archival records + collections, community engagement, and education outreach programming.
Click here to read the full story ↓
Race, Gender & Power in Modernist Design
Guest Speaker: Kristina Wilson, Author
Hosted by: Docomomo NY Tri-State
Kristina Wilson is a design historian and professor of art history at Clark University. She is the author of The Modern Eye and Livable Modernism. Her latest book, Mid-Century Modernism and the American Body: Race, Gender, and the Politics of Power in Design, was released on April 13, 2021. The book examines how race and gender shaped both the marketing + presentation of Modernist decor in postwar America.
Click here to read the full story ↓
The Melvyn & Sara Stein Smith House was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1949. Construction was completed in 1950.
The home is located in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. on an expansive property surrounded by trees.
The Usonian-style home was the family residence of two schoolteachers who were interested in Wright's forward-thinking designs.
The property was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1997.
The Cranbrook Center for Collections and Research is responsible for stewarding the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Smith House and its collections. The house was donated to Cranbrook Educational Community in 2017 by The Towbes Foundation with support from Anne Smith Towbes and the late Michael Towbes.
Join the Michigan Chapter of Docomomo US as we partner with Cranbrook Center for Collections and Research for Tour Day 2020. This year's thematic focus is 'the '70s Turn 50."
Tour Day is devoted to the appreciation of modern architecture in the United States. Tours and events focus on architecture & design of the Modern Movement, and are hosted by Docomomo US chapters, partners, and leading voices in preservation.
Our Tour Day 2020 event will start at Bowlero Lanes & Lounge in Royal Oak, which has been authentically renovated to capture the look and feel of the 1970s, when the lounge was added to the building.
We'll then move to Bloomfield Hills and the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Smith House. After a brief examination of some of Michigan’s architectural icons from the 1970s, Cranbrook Center for Collections and Research curator Kevin Adkisson will provide a behind-the-scenes tour of the interiors of the Smith House.
Docomomo US/Michiganis a non-profit organization dedicated to the the preservation of modern architecture, landscape, and design. The Michigan chapter was founded in 2014 to continue the work of the Michigan State Historic Preservation Office’s “Michigan Modern” initiative to document and bring international attention to Michigan’s Modernist design legacy and its importance to American history. Docomomo US/Michigan promotes this through documentation, education, and advocacy.
.For additional information & to register, click on link below>
'70s Turn 50 Tour Day Event
Sunday, October 18th 4:00 pm - 5:15 pm
Cranbrook Center for Collections & Research
at the Frank Lloyd Wright Smith House
Bloomfield Hills, MI
I was invited to a Media Preview of Detroit Collects: Selections of African American Art from Private Collections is an exhibition at the Detroit Institute of the Arts. It examines Detroit’s history as a center for African-American creativity in the visual arts. The exhibit will be open from November 12, 2019 through March 1, 2020.
The exhibit celebrates the work of black artists from the personal collections of nineteen local patrons. The pieces selected captured the interest of local collectors, whose tastes span a diverse range of media-- with varying styles, genres, influences and subject matter.
Detroit Collects is the first of its kind at the DIA to feature African American art from several local collectors, showcasing 60 works of art in a variety of media: paintings, sculptures and photography by internationally renowned artists. Highlights include works by Romare Bearden, Nick Cave, Aaron Douglas, Alison Saar, Rashid Johnson and Carrie Mae Weems.
The exhibit includes artists with Detroit roots-- including Charles McGee, Mario Moore, Tylonn Sawyer, Allie McGhee and others. Their works will be displayed alongside profiles of the collectors who describe in their own words what these pieces mean to them. Each collector weaves a story about their passion that drives them to acquire African American art, and the ways the art can reflect and affect social change.
Detroit Institute of Arts
Detroit Collects: Selections of African American Art from Private Collections
November 12, 2019 - March 1, 2020
The Balogh House sits in a wooded setting in Plymouth, Michigan. It is a custom-built home from the Mid-Century Modern era designed by architect Tivadar Balogh.
Built from 1958-1959, this Modernist home was placed on the National Registry of Historic Places in 2013.
The home received numerous accolades for its distinctive style. The renderings won a Progressive Architecture Award Citation in 1957.
In 1961 Balogh started his own practice designing residential + commercial structures. Balogh is credited with designing approximately 150 residential, institutional & commercial structures throughout Michigan, Illinois, and Arizona. The Cube House is the one he designed for his family-- which his wife resided in for the past sixty years, until the Summer of 2018.
The home just went on the market and is listed for 750k.
And the Winner Is: International Design Competition Winner Announcement at the Detroit Public Library
I was invited to a press conference by the DIA announcing the winning entries of an International Design Competition. The media event was held in the Burton Historical Collection room at the Detroit Public Library's Main Branch
The competition brought together designers from around the globe and down the street, who worked to create a cohesive outdoor space that brings together Detroit's cultural institutions. The event was a partnership among the institutions in the cultural center and was held at the Detroit Public Library's Main Branch.
The winning concept "Detroit Square" brings placemaking to the significant cultural institutions in the Detroit Cultural Center. It will serve to unify the often unused outdoor spaces and create a more streamlined experience for visitors. The winning designs were selected from 44 entries.
The selected design teams include the following: Paris-based firm Agence Ter, a Detroit architecture + design company akoaki, Ann-Arbor design firm rootoftwo + a landscape designer/city planner Harley Etienne.
As Maurice Cox-- Detroit's Director of Planning & Development, said in his opening remarks, “Detroit is daring to dream big again.“
He noted that Detroit has never been afraid to take on challenges, and continued by praising the efforts of the entrants, saying the winning design will take the city to another level. He said the winning entry exhibited a “World class, international reach, steeped in local knowledge, which distinguished this winning team." The design allows all of the cultural institutions to come together, marrying their 12 distinct identities into one.
Neil Barclay, President + CEO of the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History was impressed that all institutions collaborated to create a unified initiative, and that each institution weighed in and listened together for the greater good of all. Observed early on in the process that “All cultural leaders met together at the table to enhance the cultural life of the city.“ Coming to Detroit from LA, he stated that it’s extremely unusual for cultural centers to meet and collaborate.
JoAnne Mondowney, the Executive Director of the Detroit Public Library aptly described the initiative as “a front row seat to history.” She said the project will shape the lives of many, while being a wonderful opportunity to be creative + inventive. She told the audience about the historical nature of the library-- including the significance of Ford and the automotive industry carving out its beginnings in the city, and of Thomas Edison using the Detroit Public Library as a boy.
There are so many stories intwined within the walls of our cultural institutions— and now they are given ‘permission’ to carry beyond the structures. This initiative seems to address the disconnected outdoor spaces of the museum district. It serves to create a continuity and encourage a flow that will extend the reach of each separate institution and crate a seamless/cohesive outdoor environment that instead encourages discovery and exploration.
To check out the renderings, click the first link below!
Renderings for DIA Plaza | Midtown Cultural Connections International Design Competition
Detroit Comeback City: Exclusive Screening, Hosted by The History Channel + Ford
Detroit Startup Week | Fireside Chat with Big Sean, Google + Def Jam
"Detroit Designs the World" Screening | A Detroit Public Television Preview
Newly-released renderings from the Cultural Center Planning Initiative Press Conference. The press event was held at the Detroit Public Library-- Main Branch.
Images + my rundown of the event will follow. Until then, check out some key information pulled from he official press release: ↓↓↓
I recently attended a presentation at Mutual Adoration in Detroit. The theme was "Preserve," and the featured speaker was Amy Haimerl, a professor of Journalism and author of the book "Detroit Hustle." Below is an adaptation from Amy's talk-- basically a love story about a city. Detroit City.
We fell in love with Detroit.
Amy and her husband Karl had visited the city over many years-- and something kept calling them, nudging them to return. The people they met-- in the neighborhoods, at the coffee shop, at the dive bars around town, kept drawing them back.
At the time, they were living in Brooklyn, but just couldn't get Detroit out of their minds. They imagined the city and what it would be like to create a life there. As many of us that live here have experienced-- people thought they were crazy. What were they thinking! said everyone (probably).
Click to Read More ↓↓↓
This weekend, we had the opportunity to check out Patti Smith’s House. Smith lived in the home with her husband, MC5 guitarist Fred "Sonic" Smith and their children. The couple wrote their “Dream of Life" album here.
The Smiths’ purchased the charming waterfront home in 1980, and raised their family there— on the outskirts of Detroit, for years. Smith eventually sold it in 2017, after leaving the Midwest for NYC years earlier.
The “storybook” Tudor in Saint Clair Shores, Michigan is unbelievable in every way. Built in 1918, the home is a showstopper, yet at the same time, charming. The exterior is reminiscent of a castle, while the interior has unparalleled architectural detail. Every room has something special. There’s even a secret passageway (a revolving bookshelf) to a hidden wine cellar— especially popular during prohibition. (wink, wink) The property features lake views and it’s backyard is a canal.
IIt's basically a gorgeous beyond-belief home with amazing attention to detail, impeccably decorated, (the furnishings are negotiable I believe) with stunning canal views.
My absolute favorite things about this house are: the outdoor entertaining areas off the canal-- the rooftop terrace, the wooded hamlet for casual gatherings + the boat access. The staircase was beautiful, with cathedral ceilings to match. I also loved the former boathouse, transformed into a Game Room, and the garden room-- filled with diffused sunlight, right off the main living space. The floors were awesome, aaand have my dream come true- radiant heat flooring! And for some reason, I can't stop thinking about the dining room, but honestly-- I think it was just the decor, hahaha, b/c it's basically a pass-through.
As if this home didn’t have enough history + stories tied to it, there’s another twist! The listing agent, who is well-versed [understatement] about this property and knows pretty much everything about this home— once lived here.
So if you're in the market for an early 20th century charmer- I guess that this might be the place.
All images & text ©Nicole Wrona