Learn More About Modern Via the Web

La Concha
The former La Concha motel lobby designed by Paul R. Williams has been repurposed for use by the Neon Museum in Las Vegas. Courtesy of the Neon Museum

A series of “webinars” – live, interactive Internet seminars – will provide an opportunity for fans and professionals to learn more about modern architecture and its preservation. The first, featuring author Alan Hess on modern California architecture, is July 29.

On August 12, Christine French, an architectural historian whose focus is on modernism and the “recent past,” will talk about Preserving Modern Resources.”

And on September 9, a team of professionals will reveal “the trials and tribulations of moving the mid-century La Concha motel lobby to a new site and converting into use as entry to the Las Vegas Neon Museum.” Among the speakers will be preservation architect Robert Chattel whose firm, Chattel Inc., oversaw the project.

The curvaceous La Concha was designed by Los Angeles architect Paul R. Williams, known for elegant buildings in a range of styles, period revival, moderne, and modern.

All webinars run from noon to 1:30. The sponsor is the California Preservation Foundation.

“I'll be at my computer and will have a PowerPoint that everyone on the webinar will see,” says Hess, whose books include the recent “Frank Lloyd Wright: Natural Design, Organic Architecture: Lessons for Building Green from an American Original.”

Alan Hess will discuss the development of modern architecture during his webinar. Courtesy of Alan Hess

“I'll speak about each slide just as I do at a lecture in an auditorium. It is interactive -- people can type in their questions, and a moderator passes them along to me to answer.

”I've done this before, and this time I'd like to get more discussion going if I can -- it always helps me to have a live audience to speak to.”

“I think the subject should be interesting to a lot of people -- California Modern architecture. It'll be aimed at an introductory audience, identifying types and styles. But I think it should have some new information too. It'll be followed up with the next webinar on preserving Modern architecture, by Christine French. She's very good and has a lot of experience in saving Modern assets.”

Hess will also give his talk life and in-person in San Rafael on September 25, in a series that has yet to be officially announced.

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