The Mod Squad

By Jane Laird

by Jane Laird

Sleek lines, geometric forms, open floor plans: Mid-century Modern is nearing the age of venerability. The Salt Lake Modern Committee reveals that preserving Utah’s mid-century architecture is not only groovy—it’s green.

modsquadThe monumental Salt Lake City and County Building was at one time considered a possible tear-down. Now its iconic Romanesque Revival towers anchor, in exquisite marbled and brass renovation, urban Salt Lake. But thoughtful foresight has not always prevailed. On the list of lost Louis Sullivan buildings is the circa-1890 Dooly Building of Salt Lake City, built at the same time as Sullivan’s renowned Wainwright Building in Chicago. These were the years, the buildings and the architect that gave rise to the simplified vertical form of the steel skyscraper. This structural form would eventually spread around the globe and into the next two centuries. In 1965, the aging Dooly was summarily demolished, amid protests. Had it survived, it would have become one of the most architecturally significant structures in the West. What was built in its place? The extant Shilo Inn.
Some would say that was a crime.

This article was originally published on August 30, 2010.