MIDCENTURY MARVELS

(Originally published on Jan 20 2011 | Scoop Factory)

The Valley's world-class collection of Modernist architecture is now available in a convenient package

Like a lot of amateur architecture buffs, Alison King hated seeing her favorite buildings and nostalgic childhood landmarks torn down. Especially living here in the Valley, where any building over 10 years old is in immediate danger of being ‘updated,’ i.e. buried under a fresh coat of stucco, Spanish tile, Tuscan plaster, or whatever is the Valley’s trend du jour. However, unlike the rest of us, King actually went out and did something about it. Yes, she’s the founder of Modern Phoenix, the Valley’s finest home-grown architecture and design blog.

Dedicated to documenting and preserving the Valley’s unique architectural heritage, we’ve happily spent hours scrolling through the hundreds of informative posts and way-cool picture galleries. Highlights here include this homage to Al Beadle’s swank Safari Hotel, an eerie photo-tour of the abandoned 1960s supperclub, Beef Eaters (it’s for sale), and this awesomeinteractive map of Modern Phoenix neighborhoods and landmarks. Geek-tastic architecture crawl, anyone?

And now, Modern Phoenix is promoting another way-cool project, “Midcentury Marvels: Commercial Architecture of Phoenix: 1945-1975.” Written by a local architect, and published by the City Historic Preservation Office, this 250+ page book features more than 300 current and historic photographs of Postwar Phoenix in all its swinging mid-century architectural glory. Seriously, who hasn’t wanted to learn the story behind that swooping, glass-lined ‘Mushroom Bank’ at 44th St. & Camelback (pictured)?

Scoop up your own (limited edition, first printing) copy for only $20, as Modern Phoenix hosts a Brown Bag Lunch talk and book-signing. Held this Friday at noon inside the Phoenix City Council Chambers, the author, Don Ryden AIA, and Barbara Stocklin, Historic Preservation Officer for Phoenix will both be on-hand to talk about the book and its findings. Stylish, square-framed glasses are recommended, but not required.

Be There (and) Be Square: 200 W. Jefferson St., 602-262-7029