Resources to Take Action in Your Community

Architectural Styles (as defined in the Los Angeles Preservation Plan Workbook)

General and Technical Information

Preserving Resources from the Recent Past, by Jeanne Lambin.  Published by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. 2007.

Description:  Love them or hate them, there's no question that "modern" buildings of the postwar era (1940s to '60s) transformed cities, towns, suburbs, and landscapes throughout the country. Now preservationists need to take a serious look at these resources -- too new to be considered "historic" by many, but old enough to be in danger of alteration and replacement -- to consider which ones merit protection. Preserving Resources from the Recent Past, a new Preservation Book by Jeanne Lambin, looks at the historic context of the postwar building boom, the special challenges of preserving this legacy, and some case studies of community successes. The 28-page book also features an illustrated guide to building types and styles.

Recent Past on Main Street:  Mid-Century Modern Commercial Resources

Description:  Main Street changed dramatically in the mid-twentieth century as new buildings were constructed and older storefronts were remodeled to make them modern looking. In small towns and mid-sized cities across America, the first architectural expression of Modernism was often the bank, specialty shop, store, cinema, or pharmacy. Unfortunately, many of these “recent-past” resources are swiftly disappearing from our built environment, often before their importance is recognized. The preservation of smaller-scale, post-World-War II commercial downtown buildings is complicated by their both their familiarity and their incongruity. These historic resources from the 1940’s, 50’s and 60’s often go unrecognized by preservation efforts because they are just too “new” for many to recognize their cultural and historic significance. Furthermore, the sleek lines and smooth facades of post-war construction often contrasts sharply with the more traditional downtown buildings that preservationists warmly embrace. To further complicate the issue, new materials, technologies, and design assemblies of the mid-century often require new approaches to building repair and conservation. Yet these buildings reflect important developments in style, design, economics, and technology that resonated across a newly consumer-oriented America.

This includes some of the following information/reference documents:

How to work with storefronts of the mid-twentieth Century, by Carol Dyson, Senior Preservation Architect, Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, 2008.

Banking on the Future:  Modernism and the Local Bank, by Carol Dyson and Anthony Rubano, Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, 2000.

National Organizations

Local Organizations

Statewide Organizations

State Historic Preservation Offices (SHPOs)

Local Preservation Commissions

Web Resources Beyond

  • Atomic Ranch – Magazine for residential aficionados of the modern eras.
  • Doug Kramer’s Rancho Style Newsletter
  • Great Buildings Online
  • – Exploring Supermarket History
  • GSA Buildings of the 1950s, 60s, and 70s – Growth Efficiency and Modernism
    This includes a survey of the U.S. General Services Administration’s buildings nationwide as well as a free 120-page book describing the architectural and construction history of the modern movement of federal building.
  • New Canaan, Conn. Modern Homes Survey
    The Survey of New Canaan homes was prompted by the demolition of the Paul Rudolph home in Westport CT in 2007. A part of the Judge’s decision to allow demolition was the “lack of criteria for significance”. That same year we were opening the Philip Johnson Glass House to the public with great fanfare and interest. How could our Modern assets garner such interest but simultaneously be threatened because of a lack of terminology, criteria or documentation.

    As Modernism is our newest entrant into the continuum of architectural movements requiring historic preservation, this teardown was a call to action. The National Trust for Historic Preservation, through the Glass House, partnered with the New Canaan Historical Society to leverage an earlier study done by DoCoMoMo’s Northeast chapter to expand/ enhance, publish and put on-line the survey of the remaining 91 modern homes in New Canaan. Across this site you will see our goals, examples and content to create better tools, common vernacular and greater awareness. Our hope is that other communities embarking on a modern survey will connect to these tools and expand this site to showcase the homes and architects of this newest era of preservation.
  •  Recent Past Resource Guide
    Eight pages of links to a variety of helpful resources and information prepared for the 2007 National preservation conference.
  • Split Visions Remodeling Planbook
    A consortium of 15 metropolitan communities partnered to produce an idea book for remodeling, improving and updating split-style homes. Owners of split homes were invited to offer their comments and ideas about what they liked, disliked and what they would like to change about their homes. Homeowner responses were compiled and the planbook derived from their desires and suggestions.