The Architecture of James H. Johnson (Primedia eLaunch, 2020), a historic resource survey and book about the life and work of Rochester architect James H. Johnson (1932-2016), was recognized with a Docomomo US 2021 Modernism in America Award last month in New York City.
Spurred by the loss of one of his key buildings, Our Lady of Mercy Rectory (Greece) in 2013, The Architecture of James H. Johnson is the first in-depth study and documentation of Johnson, whose well-known projects include Rochester’s Liberty Pole, the Mushroom House (Perinton), St. John the Evangelist Church (Greece), and Temple Sinai (Brighton).
Sponsored by the Greece Historical Society, the Johnson project received an Inventory/Survey Citation of Merit at the Docomomo US awards ceremony on November 11th. Project team members Christopher Brandt and Katie Eggers Comeau from Bero Architecture PLLC, and Gina DiBella, independent preservation consultant, accepted the award.
The project team organized and inventoried Johnson’s files, which were located in a working office rather than an archive; developed a language for describing and classifying Johnson’s unique buildings; developed a priority list based on determination of significance; and conducted interviews with colleagues, property owners, and family members. This work enabled the New York State Historic Preservation Office to issue official determinations of eligibility for 16 of Johnson’s buildings, with 11 additional buildings deserving of further study once they are closer to 50 years old.
Docomomo US is a national organization dedicated to the preservation of modern architecture, landscape, and design. The Modernism in America Awards is the only national program that celebrates the people and projects working to preserve, restore, and rehabilitate our modern heritage sensitively and productively. The program seeks to advance those preservation efforts, to increase appreciation for the period, and to raise awareness of the ongoing threats against modern architecture and design.
The Johnson survey was funded by grants from the Preservation League of New York State/New York Council on the Arts, The Landmark Society of Western New York, and the Johnson Family. Printing of the book was funded by the Rochester Area Community Foundation.
The Modernism in America Award is the third award for The Architecture of James H. Johnson survey. In 2019, it received the New York State Historic Preservation Award for Excellence in Historic Documentation from the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation and a Special Citation Preservation Award from The Landmark Society of Western New York.
A limited number of copies of The Architecture of James H. Johnson are available at the Greece Historical Society and Museum Gift Shop or online.