The Cool House: Modernism in Peril

Friday, June 27, 2008

Modernism in Peril

When I wrote this post about the connection between Lord & Taylor and The Cool House I didn't know I'd be visiting the commercial legacy of Andrew Geller again a mere two weeks later.

Between 1959 and 1969, while at Raymond Loewy and Associates, architect Andrew Geller designed stores for Lord & Taylor, including the one pictured above at Stamford, Connecticut. This building, important not only in architectural terms but representative of the growth of suburban shopping centers and as such an important part of the cultural heritage, is threatened by redevelopment. To preserve the integrity of the building there is a movement to nominate the Connecticut store to the State Register of Historic Places.

Modernism is an important part of American architecture, the significance of which we are only starting to appreciate. Preserving buildings of the recent past, particularly commercial buildings, can be a daunting task but once they are destroyed we are left only with regret and recriminations. To allow a prime example of mid-century commercial architecture by one of the foremost design firms of the time to fall victim to the wrecking ball is to do a disservice to future generations. Globally, The World Monument Fund has launched Modernism at Risk, a program dedicated to raising awareness and preserving modern architecture. In Connecticut there is the opportunity to work at the local and state levels to declare the Lord & Taylor store an architectural landmark.

For an overview on why we should preserve modern architecture read Why must we save places of the Modernist movement and the recent past? an article by the National Trust for Historic Preservation and visit The Recent Past Preservation Network.

Support the Lord & Taylor store preservation effort by sending letters to:
Stacey Vairo
Ct. Commission on Culture and Tourism
One Constitution Plaza
Second Floor
Hartford, CT 06103
Fax: 860-256-2763


Anonymous said...

Interesting history on modern architecture.

Jennifer said...

It would be tragic if it was lost!

Jen said...

I enjoyed reading this post as well.