Survey and Designation
Before preservationists can tackle saving any aspect of the past, we have to know where it is and why it's important. Survey of historic resources from the Modern movement and the recent past is growing, and communities, advocates, and preservation professionals are rethinking and retooling how we identify, research, and evaluate resources from the familiar past.
This section presents various survey efforts targeted at, or incorporating, Modern and recent past resources. While this list is by no means comprehensive, we offer it as a starting place for communities and preservationists designing their own survey programs.
'Preserving Resources from the Recent Past' by Jeanne Lambin looks at the historic context of the postwar building boom, the special challenges of preserving this legacy, and some case studies of community successes.
Compiled by scholar Richard Longstreth. An extensive and constantly-updated bibliography of material about the post-WWII period.
Sponsored by the National Trust, the Philip Johnson Glass House, and the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation, the New Canaan Modern Homes Survey was designed to provide a more complete study of Modern residences in New Canaan and serve as a national model for surveys of other mid-century houses in the United States.
Sponsored by Landmarks Illinois and the National Trust, this survey was conducted by the School of the Art Institute of Chicago's (SAIC) Graduate Program in Historic Preservation during Fall 2006 and 2007. The survey focuses on architecturally significant non-residential buildings dating from 1935 to 1975.
Growth, Efficiency and Modernism: GSA Buildings of the 1950s, 60s and 70s. This downloadable book outlines the results of a study of the historic and architectural significance of the General Service Administration's (GSA) mid-century Modern buildings. Includes an Assessment Tool which details how to evaluate the buildings using the National Register criteria.
Survey LA, Los Angeles, CA (ongoing)
This survey will cover the entire city and identify resources dating from approximately 1865 to 1980. Resources associated with Modernism and the Recent Past are a key focus of the survey.
Discover Dallas! Survey (2004-2006)
Preservation Dallas organized multiple volunteer surveys of many Dallas, TX neighborhoods through the early 1960s, including mid-century residences in Greenway Parks.
Prepared by Sherry Joines Wyatt & Sarah Woodard for David E. Gall. Survey and informative material about the recent past period in Charlotte, compiled for the Historic Landmarks Commission.
A database of Post-WWII residential architectural styles and types over an eleven-year period.
Inventories and indexes 'younger' historic structures and lists pertinent historic designations, for which there are no age limits in Golden.
The HoustonMod survey documents historic structures in and around Houston, TX and designates endangered properties.
A collection of surveys and an architectural style guide of post-WWII architecture.
Prepared by the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Conducted in 2002, and commissioned by the Neon Museum, this survey includes nearly 100 neon signs.
In 2007 the City of Tucson, in collaboration with the Preservation Studies Program of the University of Arizona and a private consultant, completed a study of their post-World War II residential subdivisions to gain an understanding of their extent, nature and variations, and to determine eligibility for National Register designation.
This project represents the first in-depth study of post-war tract housing in Boulder constructed between 1947 and 1967. It focuses on 10 subdivisions around Boulder.
Survey Methods & Tools
The Ranch House in Georgia is one of the first publications in the nation to address the evaluation of post WWII housing.
Docomomo's definitions and criteria for classifying Modern buildings.
The Harvey Park South Hutchinson Homes produced a simplified survey methodology and form for the initial survey of large subdivisions of post-war residential neighborhoods.
This report includes maps, identification of property types and themes from the recent past, lists of architects who influenced the character of the Pasadena region, and outlines registration requirements for historic resources.
San Diego, CA: San Diego Modernism (2007)
New! San Francisco, CA: Modern Architecture and Landscape Design (2011)
The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC) Bureau for Historic Preservation (BHP) maintains a website that chronicles the suburban development history of Pennsylvania, with a focus on post World War II (1945-1965) suburban development.