SAH Bridges the Digital Divide

Lecture by Pauline Saliga
January 29

In the past five years the Society of Architectural Historians has launched three new online resources designed both to provide information about the built world to vast numbers of people but also to provide historians with new models for publishing their work. These projects include SAHARA, a shared online image archive; SAH Archipedia, an online edition of the Buildings of the United States project; and a multimedia edition of JSAH which can illustrate articles with video, panoramic photos, and 3D models superimposed over Google Earth maps. SAH Executive Director Pauline Saliga, who raised funding for and managed development of these online resources, will demonstrate their capabilities, talk about their impact on the field of architectural history and share lessons learned about managing collaborative digital projects. Please bring your questions and learn how you can contribute to building this resource.

Pauline Saliga joined SAH as Executive Director in 1995, just as the Society was moving its national headquarters from Philadelphia to Chicago. Previously, Ms. Saliga was Associate Curator of Architecture at the Art Institute of Chicago where she curated more than twenty exhibitions on a wide variety of topics including Bruce Goff, Renzo Piano, Chicago Skyscrapers, Great Drawings from RIBA and the Art Institute’s large collection of building fragments. While at SAH, Saliga has managed enormous change as the Society has moved from being a traditional print publisher and professional association to being a leader in digital publishing with a commitment to presenting new architectural research to national and international audiences at every level of engagement.

Campus and Complex in the Nation's Capital

March 16-17

Tenth Biennial Symposium on the Historic Development of Metropolitan Washington, D.C.
The Catholic University of America, School of Architecture and Planning

Hollin Hills, Virginia: Charles M. Goodman’s Modernist Laboratory

Lecture by Laura Trieschmann
April 23

Hollin Hills was the first neighborhood of uncompromisingly modern houses in the Washington metropolitan area and one of the earliest subdivisions of its type in the nation. Robert C. Davenport, the developer and builder, and Charles M. Goodman, the architect and planner, created the 326-acre residential neighborhood between 1949 and 1971. These two individuals were united in their vision for a harmonious, well-designed neighborhood of innovative, moderately priced houses set within a natural landscape. Elements of post-World War II housing practices advocated by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA)—such as standardization, mass production, and prefabrication—were skillfully implemented at Hollin Hills. Yet, the FHA ultimately rejected the overall plan because it was thought to be too modern to assure long-term maintenance of home values. Consequently, the partners, who sought to create diversity through an architectural expression honoring both the land and its residents, were free to use Hollin Hills as an experimental laboratory for modernism.

The pioneering use of standardized modular units, open interior plans augmented by trimless window walls, economical and efficient on-site construction, and the integrated architectural design and landscape planning reflected Goodman’s strong conviction that the area’s ever-popular Colonial Revival house had no place in the mid-twentieth-century suburbs. The site plan, which celebrated the existing sloping and wooded topography rejected by other, less visionary developers, was undertaken by three prolific modernist landscape designers—Lou Bernard Voigt, Daniel Urban Kiley, and Eric Paepcke—under the direction of Goodman. Each of these landscape architects left his mark in Hollin Hills and merged their own unprecedented and individual talents with those of the others. The modern design innovations and on-site construction practices devised for Hollin Hills would be carried elsewhere by Goodman as he designed other residential subdivisions in the area and also influenced modern residential design and building techniques throughout the United States with his work for residential construction companies having a national scope. 

Laura V. Trieschmann, senior architectural historian at EHT Traceries, has been working with residents of Hollin Hills and scholars of Charles Goodman to document this seminal development in modern architecture.

Following on Laura Trieschmann’s April lecture on Hollin Hills, the Latrobe Chapter will visit this groundbreaking development. The tour will allow members to experience first-hand the modern architecture and landscape design that set Hollin Hills well apart from other Washington suburbs. The tour will last approximately two hours and include five houses designed by Charles Goodman.

Members-only Study Tour of Hollin Hills

May 11

The 1920s and the 1930s were decades during which aerial views and aerial photography were increasingly used by landscape and urban designers. Developing an aerial imagination and an epistemology based upon aerial vision, design professionals realized the opportunities that powered aviation offered in shaping the land. By presenting contrasting theoretical ideas supported by aerial vision and their use in design practice this presentation will demonstrate how the aerial view encapsulated the ambiguities of modernity.

Sonja Dümpelmann is Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture at the Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD). She holds a Ph.D. in Landscape Architecture from the University of the Arts, Berlin, and a MLA from Leibniz Universität Hannover. Her research and writing focuses on nineteenth- and twentieth-century landscape history in the Western world, with a particular focus on the urban environment in Germany, Italy, and the United States. Her book, Flights of Imagination: Powered Aviation and the Art and Science of Landscape Design and Planning, is in press at the University of Virginia Press.

Up in the Air and Down to Earth: On the Dialectics of Aerial Vision in Landscape and Urban Design

Summer Lecture by Dr. Sonja Dümpleman

Located on a terraced hill overlooking the banks of the Anacostia River, Bostwick House is one of four pre-Revolutionary structures remaining in the town of Bladensburg, Maryland. Built in 1749 by Christopher Lowndes, an English shipping entrepreneur, the house reflects over 260 years of adaptation to the changing social and industrial environment along the river. With elements of high style and vernacular design, Bostwick showcases centuries of craft, including 18th-century plasterwork in the attic, 19th-century frescoes in the ballroom, lincrusta wall coverings in the front hall, and Colonial Revival windows and woodwork.

Led by Christine Henry, a doctoral student at the University of Maryland, the Latrobe Chapter will explore the rambling house and landscape, focusing on the evolution of the site and ongoing conservation efforts. The tour will allow members to experience this rarely open space. It will last approximately one and half hours and include the main house, the barn, and the grounds.

Members-only Study Tour of Bostwick House

September 14

Gallaudet University is the nation’s premier educational institution for the deaf. Since its founding in 1864, Gallaudet’s NE Washington campus has expanded and evolved along with changing conceptions of what is known as “deaf space.” Deaf space refers to the ways that a built environment is designed or altered, both formally and informally, to augment spatial awareness for individuals who rely primarily on the senses of vision and touch. 

Hansel Bauman, the Director of Campus Design and Planning at Gallaudet, will lead the tour as we explore how such things as space and proximity, mobility and proximity, sensory reach, light and color, and acoustics have been used over time to construct deaf space at Gallaudet University.  

A Members-only Study Tour of Gallaudet University

November 9

In the history of American suburbia, Brookline, Massachusetts, has the distinction of being the first suburb to successfully resist annexation efforts by its adjacent metropolis, which occurred in the 1870s. Since the late eighteenth century the Town of Brookline had been known as a refuge from urban life, particularly for wealthy Bostonians who built houses in the country. While adjacent towns with similar pastoral settings, such as Roxbury, Dorchester, and Brighton, were absorbed into the growing Boston metropolis, Brookline held out. Still under constant pressure from urban development, Brookline remains independent today, even preserving its town meeting form of government.

From 1883 onward, the Olmsted office of landscape architects was based in Brookline where they received more than 300 commissions through the 1930s to design projects from subdivisions and parkways to institutional grounds and private gardens. Working closely with neighbors Henry Hobson Richardson and Charles Sprague Sargent, as well as numerous major Boston architectural firms, the various iterations of the Olmsted firm helped to shape the identity of the community, which promoted itself as a model of municipal management that others should emulate. As such, this suburb, which experienced normative incremental growth, became a laboratory for two generations of the nation’s most influential landscape architectural and city planning practice.

Managing the Model Suburb: The Olmsted Firm and the Development of Brookline, Massachusetts

Lecture by Professor Keith N. Morgan
December 5