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Preservation Series - Space is limited!


Explores Mid Century Modernism

Every Monday in March


The 2011 Memphis Heritage's Preservation Series will be meeting on Mondays in March to explore Mid Century Modernism in Memphis. Although we still relish our buildings from the nineteenth century and early twentieth century, it is time to understand and embrace the architecture and spirit of the middle of the twentieth century. These underappreciated Modernists structures are rapidly disappearing from the built environment as most have not been designated eligible for or listed on the National Register.

The annual series will begin on March 7 with an Introduction to Modernism by architectural historian Judith Johnson. She will trace the world-wide revolution in sensibility which affected all the arts around the turn of the century, and constituted a profound reorientation in ways of thinking and seeing forms- a truly "international" style. She will discuss the International Style's three principals-architecture which emphasized volume as opposed to mass; regularity as opposed to symmetry, and outlawed arbitrarily applied decoration and show examples in our early 20th century Memphis architecture.

On March 14, an exclusive tour will be offered of 5751 Sycamore Green Lane, a stunning d. 1965 residence designed by architect Fay Jones. Jones studied with Frank Lloyd Wright in the 1950s, but developed his own style reflecting our region. Interior Designer Michael Carradine will guide us through the extensive collection of Mid Century furniture and decorative arts that are showcased in it.

On March 21, the craftsmen of the Frank Balton Sign Company will explore the role of neon signage in bringing color and light to Memphis. As the discoverers of neon called it, this "Blaze of crimson light" helped our consumer-oriented society find the promise of modernism, whether it was in a movie theater, motorcycle store, or automobile showroom.

On March 28, Keith Kays, AIA and Marty Gorman, AIA, authors of A Survey of Modern Public Buildings in Memphis, Tennessee from 1940 to 1980, will present and discuss the architectural gems of both the commercial and residential buildings in Memphis.

An additional special treat planned for this year's series will be a guided tour led by Jim Ramsey of the iconic Mid Century Modern Memphis College of Art in Overton Park designed by world renowned Roy Harrover on Saturday April 2 (time TBD). After the tour, we will view "Visual Acoustics: The Modernism of Julius Shulman", the visually stunning 2008 film documentary on the life and times of the architectural photographer who had a gift for capturing space, form, and design. Schulman's amazing work is credited with promoting, popularizing and preserving Modernist structures.

Our Preservation Series lectures will once again be held from 7:00pm til 8pm. We hope you plan to join us to learn more about the newest period of historic design as it passes the fifty year mark and becomes historic!

The registration fee is $50 for MHI members and $60 for non-members. Registration is for the complete series; individual class tickets are not available. Class size is limited, so register today!

To register, mail checks to Memphis Heritage, Inc. at 2282 Madison, Memphis, TN 38104

For credit card registration, call (901) 272-2727 or to register online go to and follow PayPal instructions.

If you have any questions, email Donna McCraw