Imagine my surprise when I (finally) opened my June issue of Architectural Record and saw that the answer to their monthly “Guess the Architect” contest was talked about in length during our July film event Air, Light and Utopia. The question for the month of June asked “[which] architect’s competition-winning scheme for a hospital brought fresh air, light, and views to tuberculosis patients and became a landmark example of modern design for healing” and was accompanied by the picture to the left. If you were at our July film event, you will remember that this building was designed by Finnish architect Alvar Aalto, who designed the Paimio Sanatorium for tuberculosis patients with natural sunlight and views to the surrounding forest with the theory that access to nature’s elements would aid in the healing process of the ill.
Now that we know our events are not only fun, but that the knowledge learned from them brings with it the chance to win great prizes like an iPad Mini, you definitely won’t want to miss this month’s happening, Gaga for Googie: Futurist Architecture Then, Now and Beyond.
As part of the programming for the Modernism at Risk exhibit, open now through September 6th at the Springs Preserve, the Gaga for Googie panel discussion continues the conversation of modernist architecture in the 21st century and the challenges faced by preservationists. Because of the unique characteristics of Googie architecture and the celebration of innovative construction materials and technology used in this style of building, preservation and rehabilitation of Googie architecture can be particularly challenging and cumbersome. For the same reasons, however, this style is perhaps the most unique and awe-inspiring of the Modernist movement and is well deserving of its place in history.
To help guide us through the unique features of Googie architecture and its importance in Las Vegas’s history, NPF is putting together a series of film shorts and a panel discussion from local and regional experts in various fields of preservation, architecture and architectural history. The film shorts depict Googie architecture in the American West and the transformations this architectural style has undergone in the last fifty years. Focusing on Los Angeles and Las Vegas, the films highlight issues of building misuse and public apathy, while our panel experts will help to provide answers and solutions for the future of these few remaining architectural gems.
Confirmed panelists include Danielle Kelly, executive director of The Neon Museum and engineer Mel Green, who worked with The Neon Museum in moving the La Concha motel lobby from the Strip to its current location on Las Vegas Boulevard. While Danielle brings the perspective of the historical aspect to Vegas’s roadside architecture and signage, Mel will help walk us through the logistics, challenges and solutions for preserving what still remains of the Googie style in Vegas today. NPF’s executive director Heidi Swank will also participate in the discussion as moderator and local preservation expert. As more panelists are confirmed, their names will be announced via NPF’s Facebook page.
Don’t forget, as part of the Modernism at Risk exhibit, this event will be held at Springs Preserve and requires an admission ticket to attend the event ($9.95 for Nevada residents). Registration is not necessary. Mark your calendars and we will see you there!