• Kraigher House in Brownsville - photo courtesy Frontera Media

Docomomo US has announced the 13 winners of their 2018 Modernism in America Awards, including two Texas projects. The program honors work that “showcases the highest level of expertise and commitment to careful preservation methods while serving as strong testaments to the efficacy of grassroots efforts, and public and private partnerships.” Docomomo is a nonprofit organization “dedicated to the documentation and conservation of buildings, sites and neighborhoods of the modern movement for nearly 25 years.”

The George Kraigher House in Brownsville was honored with the Design Award of Excellence. The Kraigher House, built in 1937, is Richard Neutra’s only single-family home in Texas. Designed for a Pan Am pilot, it was the first International Style house in the state. Neglected and badly damaged, the house was restored by a unique public-private partnership, including the University of Texas at Brownsville/Texas Southmost College, that formed in 2005. The restoration team was led by university professor Lawrence V. Lof, who was assisted by his students. The program provides students with experience in historic restoration construction.

“Restoration of the Kraigher House,” says a member of the jury, “is a compelling story of the power of public and private partnerships. Beginning with the grassroots advocacy efforts of Ambrosio Villarreal, to the Kraigher House’s inclusion on Preservation Texas’ and the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s endangered lists, restoration of this rare and significant Neutra residence by the Brownsville community is a strong testament to the power of partnerships.”

DSGN’s Dallas office, formerly the Geotronics Labs building, received a Citation of Merit. Originally built in 1962 for a geosciences company, and designed by notable Dallas firm Prinz & Brooks, the building sat vacant from 2003-2014. DSGN acquired the building and renovated it to serve as their offices in 2014. Juror Meredith Bzdak says, “This is a well-executed restoration and a good model for the treatment of other modest mid-century buildings like this around the country.”

Congratulations to all of the winners.


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