Preserving Modern Residential Architecture with Anna Marcum: Part Two

“Homes are where we spend such a great deal of our lives. We should acknowledge that kind of architecture as being just as significant…”

This week’s episode is part two of my two-part series with guest Anna Marcum; we continue our discussion on the importance of preserving modern residential architecture. Anna has spent a great deal of time researching cultural bias in architecture as it relates to women and people of color. In this episode we discuss her research, her work for the city of Hammond Louisiana, and her exciting new position at the AIA Center for Architecture in New York.

We also delve into the issue of presenting difficult history and how the United States differs from European countries in the way it deals with its ugly history. The example Anna uses is Canal St in New Orleans. Canal St was not only the site of the Battle of Liberty Place during the Reconstruction Era but it was also a corridor for social change during the Civil Rights movement. She believes that we must acknowledge the bad things that happened in our history by leaning into the discomfort; only in this way can we tell the whole story. She would like to see preservation use contemporary artists and art to bring light to the history of a place.

Included in her research is female architect Eleanor Raymond and African American architect Paul Williams. Eleanor Raymond was a practicing architect in Massachusetts who designed one of the first International style homes in the United States and the first home to use solar technology. She was also well known for her adaptive reuse projects in modern homes. Paul Williams was a Los Angeles based architect who designed many famous buildings along with Carver Manor; a neighborhood of affordable housing for veterans of color. He was posthumously awarded the AIA gold metal.