Like the Conservancy itself, the Modern Committee began as a small group of passionate and concerned citizens and, over time, grew into a powerful voice for preservation in Los Angeles.
The Modern Committee started life as the Fifties Task Force, a volunteer subcommittee of the Conservancy formed in 1984 in response to the rapid destruction of post-World War II buildings in Los Angeles –- particularly two important Googie coffee shops, Ship’s Westwood and Tiny Naylor’s.
Their early work ranged from rallying against the demolition of cherished Modern sites to working with legendary designer Ray Eames to nominate Case Study House #8 (Eames House, Studio, and Grounds) as a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument.
The group set out to raise awareness of, document, and advocate Los Angeles’ particularly rich heritage of 1950s architecture. Volunteers began educating themselves about 1950s architecture, identifying significant and/or potentially threatened examples in the area, raising awareness through frequent articles in the Conservancy member newsletter, and creating a survey and database of L.A.’s Modern resources.
The committee built a strong reputation in Modern preservation through a broad range of efforts, including surveying Modern resources and pursuing landmark nominations; educating the community through tours, exhibitions, and lectures; learning about and sharing preservation strategies; testifying at public hearings; garnering extensive media coverage; working with property owners and developers; and seeking new uses for historic Modern buildings.
The committee has had the great fortune of working with renowned figures in Modern architecture, who have provided invaluable information, assistance, and camaraderie. ModCom recently launched a Modern Masters program to honor these architects, photographers, and other contributors to our rich legacy of Modernism.
The Conservancy and ModCom continue our advocacy efforts while seeking new ways of engaging people in the preservation of Modern places throughout L.A. County.