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Mid-Century Modern Structures
Materials and Preservation 2015 Symposium

Materials and Preservation 2015 Symposium

April 13 - April 16, 2015

St. Louis, MO

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The Friends of NCPTT, the World Monument Fund, the American Institute for Architects St. Louis, Washington University in St. Louis, and the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial partnered for a jointly organized symposium on the preservation of Mid-Century Modern Structures. The meeting was held at the Drury Plaza Hotel in St. Louis, Missouri, April 14-16, 2015.Preservation50 logo A public lecture preceded the meeting on Monday evening, April 13 at Washington University in St. Louis.

Focusing primarily on the history, use, and preservation of materials found in Mid-Century modern architecture, the 2015 three-day symposium  provided in-depth understanding of the complex issues associated with the preservation of these structures.



Monday April 13, 2015
Public Lecture at Washington University in St. Louis, featuring Susan Saarinen, Ken Kolkmeier, and Robert Moore
6:15 PM in Whitaker Engineering Building Auditorium

Susan Saarinen

Susan Saarinen

Susan Saarinen, daughter of Gateway Arch designer Eero Saarinen and grand-daughter of Finnish architect Eliel Saarinen, is an artist, designer and landscape architect with 30 years of experience. Her design philosophy is based on the precepts that “outstanding, responsive landscape or garden design is created through collaboration between client and designer when objectives are well defined, sites are well understood and projects are well managed. In every environment we must strive to protect natural resources and diversity.” Susan, principle of Saarinen Landscape Architecture in Golden Colorado, holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts and a Master’s Degree in Landscape Architecture.


Ken Kolkmeier

Ken Kolkmeier

Born in St. Charles, MO in 1931, Ken Kolkmeier attended local schools, then entered the University of Missouri in 1949, receiving a degree in Civil Engineering in
June 1953. Following two years of military service in Germany as an officer, he re-entered the University of Missouri and received a Masters in Civil Engineering in 1957.

After working in engineering design, fabrication, and field construction, Ken was assigned to be the Project Manager for the fabrication and construction of the Gateway Arch in 1961. He held this position throughout the construction of the Arch. In 1973 he joined the corporate office of Pittsburgh Des Moines Steel Company, where he served as Assistant to the President and later Vice President of Operations. He was a member of the Board of Directors.

In 1982, Ken returned to St. Louis to take a position as Chief Construction Engineer with the Nooter Corporation. He later served as president of Nooter Construction, Senior Vice President of Construction and was a member of the Board of Directors. He retired in 1996.


Bob Moore

Bob Moore


Bob Moore has been the historian for the National Park Service at Jefferson National Expansion Memorial in St. Louis, Missouri since 1991. He holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Syracuse University, and Masters and Ph.D. degrees in history from Washington University in St. Louis, where he teaches as an adjunct professor in University College and the Graduate School of Architecture. He is the author of eight books, including The Gateway Arch: An Architectural Dream, Lewis and Clark: Tailor Made, Trail Worn, and Native Americans: the Art Work of George Catlin, Karl Bodmer and Charles Bird King.


Tuesday April 14, 2015

Special Guest Speaker: Gyo Obata, “Adaptive Reuse of the American Zinc Building and Other Works

Biography: Gyo Obata is an American architect. In 1955, he co-founded global architectural firm HOK (formerly Hellmuth, Obata + Kassabaum). He lives in St. Louis, Missouri and still works in HOK’s St. Louis office. He has designed several notable buildings, including the McDonnell Planetarium at the Saint Louis Science Center, the Independence Temple of the Community of Christ church and the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.

Keynote Speaker: Gunny Harboe, ” Material Matters

Gunny Harboe

Gunny Harboe

Gunny Harboe, FAIA, is a registered architect with over 25 years of experience and currently runs his own small firm. He received his M. Arch.  from M.I.T., (including study in Copenhagen, Denmark); a M.Sc. in Historic Preservation from Columbia University; and an A.B. in History from Brown University. Harboe gained a national reputation for his award winning restorations of the Rookery Building and Reliance Buildings and has been the preservation architect for many iconic modern masterpieces including Mies van der Rohe’s S.R. Crown Hall and 860-880 Lake Shore Drive Apartments; Frank Lloyd Wright’s Robie House, Unity Temple, and Taliesin West, and Louis Sullivan’s Carson Pirie Scott & Co. Store. Harboe was named a “2001 Young Architect” by the National AIA, and “Chicagoan of the Year” by Chicago Magazine in 2010. A founding member of DOCOMOMO_US, he was also a Regional Director of AIA National, and President of AIA Chicago, and a founding member and current Vice President of the ICOMOS ISC on 20th Century Heritage. He is also an Adjunct Professor at IIT.


Wednesday April 15, 2015
Plenary Session Speaker: Steve Kelley & Al O’Bright, “Study of Stains and Markings on the Gateway Arch in St Louis

Steve Kelley

Steve Kelley

Al O'Bright

Al O’Bright











 Stephen J. Kelley, FAIA, FAPT, FUSICOMOS, SE is a registered architect and structural engineer in private practice who has devoted these two skills to the preservation of our built cultural heritage. With 35 years of experience, his projects range from small to immense, simple to sophisticated and cover a wide range of building materials and systems. He has developed and worked closely with state-of-the-art multidisciplinary teams that were designed to meet the demand of each project. Domestic projects of note include the Oklahoma, Nebraska, Kentucky and Illinois State Capitols; the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington DC; and the Tribune Tower and Reliance Buildings in Chicago as well as the Gateway Arch in Saint Louis.

Al O’Bright has served as a historical architect with the National Park Service since 1981 through the Omaha Midwest Regional Office, and is duty stationed in St. Louis. He has been involved with many aspects of historic building preservation including documentation, condition surveys, planning, research, historic structures reports, construction management, and hands-on preservation projects. Projects include the preservation and stabilization of numerous Great Lakes and Great Plains structures within the thirteen-state Midwest region, and occasional special projects outside the borders of the Region and United States. He has performed as NPS project manager on the Arch corrosion investigation since project inception.


Thursday April 16, 2015

Plenary Session Speaker: David Bright, “Modernism at Risk

David Bright

David Bright

David E. Bright, Senior Vice President, Communications, Knoll, Inc., is responsible for print and online communications, media and public relations and is the lead manager for the architect and design managers team. He also serves as the Knoll liaison with the Clinton Global Initiative and the World Monuments Fund. Prior to rejoining Knoll in 2003, David spent seven years working for a range of industrial and design-focused businesses. He serves as Treasurer of The Summer Camp, Inc., a non-profit organization, and is a member of the advisory board of Manitoga/The Russell Wright Design Center. David earned an A.B. from Brown University and an M.B.A. from New York University Graduate School of Business Administration.


  • General Registration  $299
  • NEW! One Day Registration (excludes Thursday’s tour) $55
  • Speaker Registration $199
  • Student Registration  $99 (limited number, register early)

Call for Poster Presentations

Posters should be approximately 36 x 40 inches, landscape. Please submit an abstract of no less than 500 words (excluding figures and references). Abstract should contain: main presenter’s full contact information (name, title, organization, address, phone, fax, email). Poster presentation abstract deadline is January 22, 2015.

Suggested topics include but are not limited to:

  • Special focus on the Gateway Arch project
  • “New” materials and Mid-Century modern architecture in an historical context
  • Cyclic maintenance and protection of aging structures
  • Material properties, performance and behavior
  • Field evaluation and diagnosis techniques
  • Mechanisms of corrosion
  • Metal surfaces and textures
  • Engineering issues
  • Cleaning and other treatment

Special emphasis will be given to modern architectural metals.

Submissions should be sent to: NCPTT ATTN: Mary F. Striegel 645 University Parkway Natchitoches, LA 71457 mary_striegel@nps.gov

Submission Guidelines
All Accepted proposals must be presented at the conference by at least one author. Authors of an accepted presentation must provide an abstract of no less than 500 words. Authors of an accepted paper agree to provide a short paper, 10 pages maximum, for inclusion in a symposium publication. Presentations given by students are welcomed by not required. Submissions whose main purpose is to promote a commercial product will not be accepted.


The symposium will be held at: Drury Plaza Hotel at the Arch 2 South 4th Street St. Louis, MO, 63102 P: 314-231-3003 F: 1-877-231-7938 Click here for more information. Enter Group number of 2216756. Reservations may also be made by calling Drury Plaza Hotel at 1 -800-325-0720 and refer to the Group number of 2216756. A block of rooms will be available for the symposium.

Room Rates:

  • Single Rate  $115
  • Double Rate  $125
  • Triple Rate  $135
  • Quad Rate  $145

The International Fur Exchange Building, the Thomas Jefferson Building and the American Zinc Building make up the new 355-room Drury Plaza Hotel, and are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.


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Mary Striegel<br /><small>Materials and Preservation 2015 Symposium</small>
318-356-7444 ex 224


Drury Plaza Hotel at the Arch<br /><small>Materials and Preservation 2015 Symposium</small>
2 South 4th Street, St. Louis, MO 63102 United States
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National Center for Preservation Technology and Training
645 University Parkway
Natchitoches, LA 71457

Email: ncptt[at]nps.gov
Phone: (318) 356-7444
Fax: (318) 356-9119