Bender Building, Washington, DC

img_6712With facades facing S St, 18th St, and Connecticut Avenue NW, the L-shaped Bender Building is a stylish and subtle early modern landmark. Constructed in 1959, the 12 story building was a leader in showcasing modern office space in downtown DC. Pioneering modernists Berla and Abel were the architects, who employed several other individuals that would go on the be leading modern architects in the area.

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Although the interiors have been updated, the exterior retains original finishes. The building is primarily yellow brick with window bays alternating with pale green ceramic tiles. The entrance treatment employs vertically striped panels above a brown metal awning on S Street, but has been modernized on the Connecticut Avenue side. At 18th and S is the entrance to the building’s parking garage and there is a concrete block screen and vertical metal fins employed to set off this part of the structure.

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Capitol Hill United Methodist Church, Washington, DC

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Capitol Hill United Methodist Church was constructed in 1965-66 to house several congregations from around the area that merged. The original structure on Seward Square was demolished and interestingly, a chandelier salvaged from building has hung in the Capitol since 1965.

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The architecture is restrained and is more representative of 1950s church design with a brick facade and streamlined concrete detailing. Part of this could be the need to keep within the conservative architectural palette of Capitol Hill and the proximity of the Capitol itself. A striking modern design at this prominent intersection would probably have been seen as inappropriate. Still, the belltower does hold a striking focal point over the low-rise neighborhood.

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Along the side street runs the facade of the administrative wing with offices and a primary school.

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Union Savings & Loan, New Orleans, LA

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The Union Savings & Loan building is located at 353 Carondelet Avenue and is amazingly intact on the exterior. This building was submitted by reader Tara K.

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Mishkon Tfiloh, Providence, RI

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Located just outside the Summit Historic District, Mishkon Tfiloh is one of the later additions to the community, being completed in 1962, and located on the edge of an area primarily filled with early to mid-20th century residences. According to the historic district summary, the area had a concentration of Russian Jews and besides Mishkon Tfiloh, another temple, Congregation Beth Sholom and a historically Jewish hospital, Miriam Hospital, are also located in the neighborhood.

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Mishkon Tfiloh has an engaging front facade with the second story sanctuary space set back behind a triple peaked entrance area. The ground floor entrance most likely leads to a social hall or school space.

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Sources: http://www.livingplaces.com/RI/Providence_County/Providence_City/Summit_Historic_District.html

http://www.preservation.ri.gov/pdfs_zips_downloads/national_pdfs/providence/prov_summit-hd.pdf

 

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Our Lady Comforter of the Afflicted, Waltham, MA

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This suburban church appears similar to countless red brick churches across the country. However look closer and there are a few details that stand out. The front entrance and side elevations all sport an undulated concrete awning which gives the building a little verve and also distinguishes it from similar overall designs from the 1980s and 90s that would not include such a detail. The wall of glass that runs from ground to roof on the front facade also calls note to a more mid-century design. The church itself was built in The 1962-63, and also includes several school and auxiliary buildings from the same era.

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Second Baptist Church Educational Building, Detroit, MI

IMG_6726This auxiliary church building was built in 1968 and designed by Nathan Johnson who also designed the Detroit People Mover stations, like the one directly across the street from this building. He designed homes and this incredible commercial building that still exists, if worse for wear.
IMG_6721Sources: http://s3.amazonaws.com/michiganmodern-prod/app/public/ckeditor_assets/attachments/7/mm_det-driv_final.pdf

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Skillman Center for Children, Detroit, MI

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Here we have another mundane take on Yamasaki (and to a lesser extent Albert Kahn Associates) which shows the prevalent use of formalism throughout Detroit during the mid-century.

Part of Wayne State, the Skillman Center for Children building dates from 1965 and is part of the larger Merrill-Palmer Skillman Institute for Child and Family Development, created in 2005 as a merger with the previously independent Merrill-Palmer Institute.

The formal elements of the exterior include beige brick walls across the front with a double height concrete entrance canopy. The sections of brick are broken up by concrete frames rounded at the top. The side elevation is largely windows that look onto John R. Street.

 

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