Destination Deco Travel
Destination Deco: Dallas–Fort Worth, Texas
Friday, May 3–Sunday, May 5, 2019
The Art Deco Society of New York (ADSNY) was hosted by Jim Parsons and David Bush––architectural historians and authors of DFW Art Deco; Fair Park Deco: Art and Architecture of the Texas Centennial; and more––for a private VIP tour that offered a dazzling and informative look at the extraordinary architecture and design of the 1920s and 1930s in Dallas and Fort Worth, Texas.
In this in-depth exploration––designed just for ADSNY––we saw stellar examples of interwar architecture and design that reflects the rise and fall of the 1920s and 30s economy of Dallas and Fort Worth, from flamboyant Art Deco towers to more modest Art Moderne structures. We saw how elegant and sophisticated Art Deco towers illustrated how the 1920s economy flourished when the region experienced major petroleum discoveries and a burgeoning aircraft industry. We also visited wonderful examples of pared down modernistic federal buildings, post offices, and schools that were constructed following the 1929 stock market crash, when 1930s economic stimulus programs poured into the area. As highlight of our visit was a spending a day exploring the architecture, art, and design of one of the world’s only remaining 1930s, Art Deco World’s Fair grounds––Fair Park where we had an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour of the archives of the 1936 Texas Centennial Exposition.
Our program began Friday morning with an engaging introductory presentation by Jim Parsons and David Bush introducing us on how Dallas and Fort Worth utilized Deco architecture and design as a way to quickly update their image to a modern, prosperous region. After the stage was set for the weekend’s festivities, we were off to Fort Worth for an exciting day of walking tours and special access.
Highlights of the day included visits to:
The spectacularly restored waiting room of the sprawling Art Deco Texas and Pacific passenger terminal railway station, a major highlight of the weekend.
The stunning, Depression era courthouse on the National Register of Historic Places, which symbolized growth and renewed optimism in Fort Worth upon its 1934 completion.
Several municipal buildings, one that features a unique Spanish-inspired Deco style
The building largely hailed as Fort Worth’s finest Deco tower, sometimes referred to as Zigzag Moderne thanks to its many ziggurat inspired elements on doorways, windows, and in the shape of the building
A group dinner at a famed Tex/Mex eatery in the Stockyards National Historic District followed.
On Saturday, we had a first-hand, exclusive glimpse into what it might have been like to attend a 1930s World’s Fair! With our expert guides, we were transported back in time to learn how Fair Park is not only one of the finest collections of Art Deco architecture in the country, but how it became the embodiment of Texan swagger and a testament to the Texanic task of creating a dazzling spectacle during the darkest days of the Great Depression.
Our activities this day included:
An exploration of the architecture, landscape design, statuary, and murals of the Esplanade of State
A stop to see the Woofus––easily one of the most unique Art Deco sculptures at the fairgrounds––in what was the Agriculture and Livestock area of the Fair
Interior visits to restored pavilions and exhibitor booths, including the Hall of State, as well as stops to see interiors that have been virtually untouched since the Fair closed
A behind-the-scenes tour with the Dallas Historical Society to see their archive of items related to the Texas Centennial A catered lunch at Fair Park
Following our tour of the Fair, we returned to the Cambria hotel for a short break before setting out for a private dinner at a famous Steakhouse in downtown Dallas.
For our final day in Dallas set out on foot from our hotel to see the city’s most impressive Art Deco structures. Highlights of the day included visits to:
The Dallas Power & Light Building, now converted to luxury condominiums
The late Moderne style Masonic Temple, which boasts a sleek black granite entrance with silver metalwork
The Warner Brothers Film Exchange building, which features a unique Zigzag Moderne Art Deco facade including striking cast-stone reliefs and black marble
Following the tour, the program officially concluded with a group lunch so that attendees could enjoy an afternoon exploring Dallas at their own pace.
Destination Deco: Art Deco in the Windy City
Friday, November 2–Sunday, November 4, 2018
The Art Deco Society of New York (ADSNY) was hosted by the Chicago Art Deco Society (CADS) for three exciting days for a dazzling and informative look at Chicago’s extraordinary Art Deco architecture and 1920s and 1930s culture.
The Great Chicago Fire of 1871 may have erased thousands of buildings in the city; however, this tragedy made way for architectural visionaries, such as Louis Sullivan and Frank Lloyd Wright, to transform the city in the early decades of the twentieth century. By the 1920s, Chicago’s booming economy reflected the spirit of the Jazz Age through elegant and sophisticated Art Deco buildings that soared into the skies. In this in-depth exploration of the Windy City––designed just for ADSNY––we discovered how the buildings of Chicago influenced and reflected the history of American architecture and design.
Our point of departure for this adventure was the 1928 Chicago Motor Club, now the Downtown Hilton Hampton Inn. This Art Deco gem was inspired by the 1925 Exposition internationale des arts décoratifs et industriels modernes, which can be seen in its limestone and terra cotta façade, cast-iron detailing that frames the entrance, and its frozen fountain motifs.
Highlights of our weekend included walking tours of downtown Chicago’s commercial Deco icons, bus tours of important architectural enclaves in the city and residential neighborhoods, group dinners in famed Chicago eateries, a private museum tour of the new exhibition “Modern by Design: Chicago Streamlines America,” exclusive tours of important Frank Lloyd Wright architecture and design in Oak Park, an evening at a renowned Chicago jazz club, and a VIP experience at The Sculptural Objects, Functional Art, and Design Expo (SOFA). A highlight of the weekend was a visit to the Powhatan, a stellar Art Deco apartment building where we were hosted for a tour and private reception in a stunning residence.
Destination Deco: The Roots of Modernism in Israel
Sunday, March 18–Friday, March 23, 2018
On this exclusive trip, 20 ADSNY members were hosted by prominent members of Israel’s preservation, architectural and design communities for an immersion week exploring of the roots of modernism in Tel Aviv and beyond. Through a series of behind-the-scenes walking and bus tours and visits to world class museums, libraries, and archives related to the unique 1920s and 1930s architecture, fine and decorative arts, culture, and fashion we learned about the country’s visual identity during the 1930 and 40s, and explored Tel Aviv’s White City, a breathtaking UNESCO World Heritage Site, filled with remarkable architecture from the interwar period.
Highlights of the week included:
An in-depth look at the architecture and design of the White City of Tel Aviv, designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its 4,000+ modernist buildings, led by leading architectural historians
A tour by the preservationist involved in the recent restoration of the Levant Fairgrounds, which attracted over 300,000 visitors when it opened in 1932
Highlights of the unique architecture and design in Haifa, Israel’s third largest city, led by the head of Haifa’s municipality overseeing historic preservation
A look at the newly restored 1937 Kibbutz building originally designed by prominent Israeli architect Joseph Neufeld
Artistic works of Reuven Rubin as well as a taste of 1930s poster art that developed in Israel during this period
Stunning Jazz Age fashion illustrations by a young woman who made her way from Jerusalem to Paris in the 1920s
A look into the newly restored residence of Chaim Weizmann, Israel’s first president, designed by Erich Mendelsohn
Modernist buildings in Jerusalem, including its legendary Jerusalem International YMCA building, designed by the New York architect, Arthur Loomis Harmon, of Shreve Lamb and Harmon–the firm that designed the Empire State building.
Visits to residences filled with Deco furnishings
A stay in a boutique hotel adapted from a 1930s movie palace
This once-in-a lifetime program was developed exclusively for ADSNY members by the Society for Preservation of Israel Heritage Sites and the Bauhaus Center. According to Micha Gross, Director of the Bauhaus Center, the budding city of Tel Aviv, founded in 1909 by Jewish immigrants on the barren beaches outside the ancient Arab city of Jaffa, “used modern architecture to create a new world.” More than 4,000 buildings were constructed in Tel Aviv alone during the 1920s and 1930s alone, and thousands more were built in Haifa, Jerusalem, the kibbutzim, and other locations throughout Israel.
Destination Deco: Long Island Bus Tour
Sunday, September 11, 2016, 9:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m.
ADSNY members took all-day safari as exploring the wilds of Long Island looking for Art Deco. Though Nassau and Suffolk counties are known primarily for their suburban residential architecture, they also have town and city centers with commercial and government buildings dating from the late 1920s and early 1930s – and that means new Deco marvels for us to discover and enjoy.
Architectural historian, Tony Robins, led ADSNY on this special daylong bus trip that began with a visit to the Classic Car Club of Long Island’s annual car show featuring iconic automobiles of the 1920s and 30s.
From there we visited:
The Nassau County Courthouse, part of an early 1930s “Modern Classic” government complex in Mineola
A handsome WPA-era post office in Hempstead, which is across the street from a fabulous early telephone company building by the same firm (Voorhees, Gmelin & Walker) that gave us the three great Deco behemoths of Lower Manhattan (and it includes marvelous ornamental tracery similar to that found on Ralph Walker’s seminal Barclay-Vesey building)
An intact, 1928 Art Deco high school in Valley Stream, rivaling any of New York City’s (very few) Art Deco public school buildings where we were welcomed by the Mayor of Valley Stream and taken on a tour of the magnificent restoration of the building
Another splendid Deco post office, in Patchogue
With such a busy day, lunch was a fast stop at the central pavilion––just opposite the central administration tower – of Robert Moses’s 1930s fabulously designed Jones Beach. Our afternoon continued with:
A visit to a rarely seen set of WPA murals in a Hempstead firehouse.
An exclusive tour of a stunning collection of spectacular classic cars that were produced from the 1920s to the 1940s.
Our day concluded with a visit, behind-the-scenes tour, and wine reception at the beautifully restored and splendidly Deco, Suffolk Theatre in Riverhead, where we presented the first ADSNY Hero Award to Robert and Dianne Castaldi, the couple who single-handedly brought the theater back from the brink of destruction.
Destination: Deco Philadelphia Bus Tour
Sunday, October 19, 2014, 9:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m.
ADSNY was pleased to announce the first event in our new series entitled Destination: Deco. We traveled by motor coach to see the amazing Art Deco that Philadelphia has to offer. Our tour guide, Bob Jaeger led us on a spectacular tour highlighting more than 15 of the most interesting Deco spaces in Philadelphia.
Our first sighting was the 1926 Benjamin Franklin Bridge, created by Paul Philippe Cret.
Shortly afterwards, we picked up a few more of our guests and went to enjoy the US Custom House. The architecture of the Custom House beautifully blends Philadelphia’s historic red brick style with the modern Deco style.
Another stop on the tour allowed us to see the Deco murals and elevators located at the 1928, Simon and Simon, Strawbridge and Clothier Building. The building department store is now closed but as you can see these murals are a wonderful example of how Philadelphia integrated their rich national history with the Deco aesthetic.
Another interesting building interior where we had unique access was the 1929 Ayer Building Lobby. The many sculptural elements created by J.Wallace Kelly made the space truly breathtaking.
One of the last buildings we saw on the tour of Philadelphia was the amazing Rodeph Shalom Synagogue. The entire synagogue is covered in wonderful hand painted stenciling that creates a truly dramatic Deco interior.