Friday, May 31, 2013

Cricket Lane, Rollinsford (1975-1985)

A typical late Mid-20th Century Modern subdivision, Rollinford’s Cricket Lane cul-du-sac incorporates a mix of architectural styles, including raised ranches, ranch houses, traditional capes, garrison-style houses, and one modern house with uneven roof pitches, a monitor at the ridgepole and vertical batten-board siding. Built as the Mid-20th Century Modern period drew to a close, the variety of modern and traditional housing styles at Cricket Lane reflects the movement’s inclusive picture.
From post-World War II through the Disco era, Mid-20th Century Modernism saw the rise in popularity and development of new architectural forms that utilized experimental designs and materials. Traditional architectural forms and details also retained popularity; of note, a Mid-20th Century Modern vision of the Colonial Revival experienced resurgence in the 1970s as the United States prepared to celebrate its bicentennial. Today, Mid-20th Century Modern buildings are our newest classics, to be enjoyed for generations as an important part of New Hampshire’s architectural history.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Legislative Office Building Addition, Concord, Richard Dudley Architect (1974-1975)

Concord’s 19th-century post office building was saved from demolition and rehabilitated as office space for the NH State Legislature in the 1970s. Its addition, designed by the Concord firm of Dudley, Walsh & Moyer Architects, incorporates the traditional materials of the original building with a Mid-20th Century Modern interpretation of gothic design.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Phillips Exeter Academy Class of 1945 Library, Louis Kahn Architect (1971)

In 1965, Phillips Exeter Academy hired modernist architect Louis Kahn to design a new library, abandoning initial plans to replace its overcrowded library with a traditionally designed building. The bold move successfully met the challenge of building a new architectural aesthetic in the heart of a campus of classical revival buildings. 

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Richards & Sons Construction Company Office Building, Berlin (1971)

Built as commercial office space, this example of modernism sat on the edge of an early 20th century neighborhood in Berlin. Noteworthy for it predominance of brick and glass, along with its playfully sweeping roof and the repetitive abstract design decorating its entablature and band-course, it was razed in 2012. 

1970 – 1975: I Will Survive

Welcome to the decade that began with the break up of the Beatles and the commercial introduction of the floppy disc. It’s the decade that saw the resignation of Nixon and the rise of Disco culture. It is the decade where families gathered to watch the Brady Bunch, and adults tuned into M*A*S*H once the kids went to bed. Pull out your kaftans, brush off your leisure suits, and get ready for the 1970s!

Friday, May 24, 2013

New England Center for Continuing Education, University of New Hampshire, Durham (1968)

Mid-century University System of New Hampshire construction campaigns included the New England Center, jointly developed by and for the six New England state universities. William Pereira and Associates, which also designed the Transamerica Pyramid in San Francisco, designed this Neo-Expressionist complex to blend into its natural environment of brooks, evergreens and granite outcroppings.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Sanders Associates, Nashua (1967)

A defense electronics contractor, Sanders Associates was one of the many new businesses replacing the traditional industries of New Hampshire’s mill cities and towns in the mid-20th century.  Its 1967 headquarters off of Daniel Webster Highway won a 1971 Federal Highway Administration award as an “Outstanding Highway Oriented Enterprise.”

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

New Hampshire Public Works and Highways / Department of Safety Building, Concord (1963)

One of multiple state buildings constructed in the capitol in the 1950s and 1960s to efficiently house previously dispersed departments, this Koehler & Isaak-designed facility utilized a variety of newer materials, including architectural pre-cast concrete and thin stone veneer.
Photo: Courtesy of New Hampshire Department of Transportation

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Greenfield State Park, Greenfield (1962)

Improvements at New Hampshire’s state parks appear influenced by the Mid-20th Century Modern architectural styles used by the National Park Service’s “Mission 66” program to update its facilities. Greenfield State Park’s new registration building, camp store and two bathhouses featured modern design elements, including prominent gable roofs and deep overhangs.

Photo: Courtesy of New Hampshire Department of Resources and Economic Development

Monday, May 20, 2013

Ammon Terminal Building, Grenier Air Field (Manchester Airport), Manchester (1961)

Post-World War II, Manchester’s air field reintroduced civilian use, furthering local plans to make it an economic asset for the city. Architects Koehler & Isaak designed this innovative, new civilian terminal featuring elements of brick, aluminum trim and synthetic paneling. 

1960-1969: Blowin’ in the Wind

It was a decade of Civil Rights protests, man’s first walk on the moon, the Beatles, escalating conflict in Vietnam, the invention of the Internet (ARPANET) and the first e-mail transmission, the rise of the hippie movement, the debut of Sesame Street, and the first Super Bowl.
In the world of architecture, the 1960s continued Mid-20th Century Modern’s aesthetic of sleek, simple lines using materials that countered traditional buildings and streetscapes. In this clash of new versus old, underappreciated iconic landmarks were demolished. Immediate regret led to growth in the preservation movement and passage of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966.  The 1960s’ once-modern buildings, icons of their own time, now face similar threats.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Kalwall … Made in Manchester

Kalwall, a translucent sandwich building panel composed of thin fiberglass sheets over an aluminum framework, was developed in Manchester by Robert Keller in 1955. The material found extensive use in schools and factories and attracted worldwide attention after it was used to construct a pavilion at the 1959 Brussels World Fair. Kalwall is still made in Manchester today.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

David R. Campbell (1908-1963)

A 1934 graduate of the Harvard School of Design, David Campbell exemplified the concurrent interests in design,  arts and crafts furthered by the Bauhaus movement  of the 1920’s and 1930’s.  Director of the League of New Hampshire Craftsmen from 1938 – 1962, Campbell designed a number of notable New Hampshire modern houses in the 1950s, including the Hallamore House in Henniker.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Rise of the Insurance Industry

The increase in car and home ownership in the 1950s also supported rapid growth in the insurance industry. Two of the most expensive buildings constructed in the state during this time were for the New Hampshire Fire Insurance Co. in Manchester and the National Grange Mutual Insurance Co. in Keene. Cram and Ferguson, architects for John Hancock’s 1947 Berkeley Building in Boston, designed both.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Religious Architecture of the 1950s

After World War II, interest in religion made a resurgence in the United States. In New Hampshire, this was illustrated in particular by the expansion of the Catholic Church. Between 1945 and 1956, Bishop Matthew F. Brady oversaw the growth of the Church and its facilities in the state, authorizing the construction of 47 churches, as well as dozens of other related structures.

Monday, May 13, 2013

1950 – 1959: I Only Have Eyes for You

The 1950s were an era of optimism, prosperity and consumerism. Hula hoops, drive-in theaters and televisions provided entertainment. Young servicemen continued to return from overseas and to start new families in new homes.  Mid-20th Century Modern homes included Frank Lloyd Wright-influenced ranch style houses along with modern versions of the traditional Cape Cod house.
The post-World War II baby boom (1946-1964) resulted in a huge surge in school construction.  Dating to the early 1950s, the modern copper tower of the Woodman Park School in Dover epitomizes confidence in a future promising peace and prosperity.  At the time, this was the largest elementary school in the state, built for approximately $1 million.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Coronis Cleaners, Main Street, Nashua (1950)

A push for modern design characterized the post-World War II period, with an emphasis on functionalism, rationalism and up-to-date methods of construction. The Moderne style, which informed Mid-20th Century Modern, incorporated rounded edges, corner windows, streamlined forms, flat roofs, glass blocks and ribbons of metal frame windows.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Architectural Design as Advertising

In the post-World War II era, new banks, stores, restaurants and shopping centers vied to be modern and customer-friendly. On Route 1 in Portsmouth, the iconic neon sign at Yoken’s Restaurant – installed in 1949 at a cost of $20,000 – is typical of the advertising used to beckon customers in the automobile age. Although the restaurant was razed in 2005, efforts are now underway to rehabilitate the sign.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Manchester Veterans Administration Hospital (1948-50)

The end of World War II resulted in a vast increase in the veteran population, many of whom required new benefits enacted by Congress. Constructed in 1948-50, the Manchester Veterans Administration Hospital is one of 56 veterans hospitals in the United States built to accommodate the quadrupling of veterans needing medical services.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Altar of the Nation, Cathedral of the Pines, Rindge (1946)

Sixty thousand men and women from New Hampshire were sent to every corner of the globe during World War II; 1,600 did not return. While monuments were erected throughout the state to honor these brave men and women, few rival the Cathedral of the Pines’ Altar of the Nation, built in 1946 and recognized by Congress as a national memorial in 1957.

Photo Courtesy of Lisa Mausolf

Monday, May 6, 2013

1945 – 1949: Sentimental Journey

The United States experienced phenomenal economic growth after World War II. The automobile industry was partly responsible for this; the number of automobiles produced quadrupled each year between 1946 and 1955. This increase in car ownership and mobility was accompanied by a housing boom. Returning servicemen seeking home ownership were spurred on by 1944’s GI bill and easily affordable mortgages. Prosperity prompted the need for new cost-effective housing: planned developments complete with single-family houses, paved streets, sidewalks, parks and other amenities. Housing developments in New Hampshire, primarily located in the seacoast and southern parts of the state, enticed Americans – and the larger families of the postwar baby boom – out of inner cities into new suburbs and their version of the American Dream. 

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Mid-20th Century Modern Architecture

New Hampshire is well-known for its postcard-perfect 18th century clapboarded buildings as well as its ornate homes and massive brick industrial mills from the 19th century.
But there is far more to our architectural history. From 1945 to 1975, building design often incorporated glass, steel and reinforced concrete into a new architectural style defined by clean lines, simple shapes and unornamented facades. Called Mid-20th Century Modern, this unique movement is viewed as a byproduct of post-World War II optimism and reflects a dedication to building a new future.
Rapid growth and economic prosperity resulted in the construction of new housing, schools, churches, offices, commercial structures and governmental buildings throughout the New Hampshire, many of which embodied Mid-20th Century Modern elements.
Throughout Preservation Month 2013, the N.H. Division of Historical Resources will explore Mid-20th Century Modern with a look at examples from each decade during the period.
*Unless otherwise noted, all photographs used in this blog are from the public domain, by the authors or from the collection of the New Hampshire Division of Historical Resources.