Preserving Modern Architecture

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Modern buildings are easy for some people to hate. They’re blocky, some would say boring. They’re also highly endangered. The poured concrete structures built in the last half century are monuments to a movement based on killing the past. Now they are at the center of a preservation puzzle: what to keep and what destroy at the fringes of popular taste.

One energetic group of architecture fans is working to save the best of the curtain-wall office towers, the unadorned concrete churches, those flat-roofed houses on stilts. They say the urge to tear down the recent past needs to be resisted. It’s one thing to blow up a Soviet-style public housing block, but what about the soaring concrete of an irreplaceable airline terminal?

Judging the past when it’s still with us.


David Fixler, architect, president DOCOMOMO US/New England

Caroline Zaleski, preservation advocate, DOCOMOMO US/New York Tri-State

Nikos Salingaros, professor of mathematics, consultant on architecture and urbanism, University of Texas at San Antonio.