By: Kyle Niblett

Morris (Marty) Hylton III, adjunct professor Chris Madrid French, and the University of Florida Historic Preservation Program were named winners of the 2020 Survey Award of Excellence, Docomomo US announced Thursday at its annual Modernism in America Awards Ceremony. A jury made up of distinguished architects, designers, and educators selected the survey and report on Florida’s Midcentury Modern Architecture (1945-75) as the winning project, despite a record number of nominations.

“This is an enormous honor that recognizes nationally the research and dedication of the Historic Preservation Program in identifying, documenting and advocating for preserving Florida’s remarkable modernist architecture from the Post-World War II period,” Hylton said.

The award-winning survey was undertaken to seek out and evaluate structures across the state that were eligible for the National Register of Historic Places. Despite the innovative and experimental architecture following World War II, the National Register lists very few modern structures emanating from the Sunshine State. For HP’s project, almost 600 buildings were documented as part of the base-line inventory, with 473 biographies being created for architects living and practicing in Florida. More than 300 companies were discovered that were creating building materials and systems from 1945 to 1975. As a result, 50 “Flagship Structures” were identified as priorities for listing on the National Register.

“This excellent model conscientiously included the spectrum of buildings in our cities and incorporates the kind of statewide survey which should be done everywhere,” Awards Jury Member Alan Hess said.

Added fellow jury member Emily Rauh Pulitzer, “This project was a serious approach to a huge undertaking, resulting in positive outcomes for Florida’s midcentury resources.” 

Docomomo US is the only national nonprofit dedicated to the preservation of modern architecture and design and offers leading expertise in each discipline. The annual ceremony recognizes projects that represent the best in preservation practice by today’s architects, designers and preservation professionals.

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