An Invitation to Sketch Modernist Icons

A recent sketch of the Glass House by the architect Mark McInturff

Attendees at last week’s Architects Retreat at the Glass House took advantage of breaks in the program to roam the grounds of Philip Johnson’s (now the National Trust‘s) sprawling estate in New Canaan, Connecticut, sketching in their complementary Moleskine folios. They were involved in an act that, the Glass House hopes, will be repeated across the country wherever important Modernist buildings are located. This is sketching with a purpose: to raise public awareness of buildings and places, many endangered or in sad disrepair. The resulting sketches, with their potential to elicit emotional and action-inducing responses, will be collected in the Modern Sketchbook, to be published by the Glass House and Moleskine in 2010. Sales from the book will benefit the preservation of Modernist icons.

Yves Behar

New Canaan’s Modernist heritage is now well documented: a survey of area homes is posted on the National Trust’s Web site, along with a glossary of terms that help preservationists understand the special requirements of Modernist buildings (no mention of corbels or finials anywhere on this list). If you’re in New Canaan, or anywhere in the U.S., you have a favorite Modernist icon. Here’s what you do to express your love: log off, go for a walk, and sketch. When you have a sketch you love, send it to kate_lichota@nthp.org so she can recommend it for inclusion in the Modern Sketchbook. In this small way you, too, can be part of documenting and preserving our Modernist heritage.

Yoshiko Sato

Deborah Berke

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