Join SacMod for two 2014 AIACV Experience Architecture Week events!

The Bateson Building is one of several buildings featured on the Drawing Safari, October 12, 2014. Photo © Rob Super

Sacramento Modern (SacMod)  will be teaming up with the Central Valley Chapter of American Institute of Architects (AIACV) for two great events this October: a Drawing Safari on October 12th and a film screening of “The Vision of Paulo Soleri: Prophet In The Desert” on October 13th!

What exactly is Experience Architecture Week? AIACV President Kris Barkley explains here and here.

Continue reading →

Capitol Towers Preservation Update!

Overlay of historic Capitol Towers master plan circa 1964 with Google satellite view circa 2014, by Dane Henas/SacMod

Due to the efforts of preservationists and neighbors, Capitol Towers is now subject to a full Environmental Impact Review (EIR). As of August 2014, we have also made progress with our assertion that the neighborhood is a historic resource.

Read more about Sac Mod’s response to the proposed project and our efforts to protect Capitol Towers and Garden Apartments, including our nomination of the neighborhood to the National Register of Historic Places.

SacMod Advises City : Protect Historic Urban Oasis

Capitol Towers and Garden Apartments as they appear today. Photo SacMod
Capitol Towers and Garden Apartments as they appear today. Photo SacMod

A new proposed project seeks to destroy a thriving and historic mid-century modern neighborhood in our urban core that is already a pedestrian and bicycle-friendly mixed-use community.

Read more about Sac Mod’s response to the proposed project and our efforts to protect Capitol Towers and Garden Apartments, including our nomination of the neighborhood to the National Register of Historic Places.

Circa 1964 photo of Capitol Towers and Garden Apartments by Sirlin Studios
Capitol Towers and Garden Apartments circa 1964. Photo Sirlin Studios

Blast from the Past: El Mirador Hotel Brochure

From the collection of
From the collection of

Across from the State Capitol, this swanky mid-20th century modern hotel boasted 14 floors, three cocktail lounges, two swimming pools, fine dining at the Granada Room, and luxurious materials such as mahogany walls and Italian glass mosaic in the coffee shop. It was completed in 1957 and was built by contractor/developer Fred Kaiser with the help of structural engineer Gordon H. Klippel.

This glamorous site was home to the Sky Room, with sweeping views of the State Capitol and park. Politicians and lobbyists enjoyed “Moose Milk” — an extravagant lunch with an open bar on Thursdays — and then chased naked ladies down the hallways in the evenings. Patrons at the Lower Bar enjoyed underwater ballet performed by gorgeous women via a large glass wall to one of the swimming pools.

From the collection of
From the collection of

Nothing was too over-the-top during the good old days at the El Mirador! There was even music and dancing on the roof! The round-the-clock party did finally end in 1969; and the hotel was remodeled in the 70s. The hotel is now Park Place Senior Community.

Adaptive Re-Use of a Former Dairy Queen Building

picture courtesy of Wendy Weitzel, Davis Enterprise
picture courtesy of Wendy Weitzel, Davis Enterprise

It’s great to see Indigo Hammond + Playle Architects reusing the great wavy roofline and cinderblock from the old Dairy Queen on 5th Street in Davis for their new office space. Who doesn’t have fond memories of a dipped DQ cone? We’d like to see more adaptive re-use of midcentury architecture in our area! Thanks to Wendy Weitzel of the Davis Enterprise Comings & Goings column for her report below and the picture.

Office space for Indigo Hammond + Playle Architects will fill the longtime Dairy Queen location at 909 Fifth St .. [K]eeping the exterior lines of the building and adding on, creating an office space for its business. Contractors have cleaned out the interior and removed the front walls and windows.

Here’s the Dairy Queen in its dairy days:

Picture courtesy of
Picture courtesy of

Food Circus

Food Circus ephemera, AtomicPear/Sacramento Modern

Hello from Arden Fair Mall’s Food Circus, circa 1960s! — where you can “Eat like an elephant for peanuts”! Designed by Dreyfuss & Blackford Architects for the Kassis Brothers, this area featured restaurants such as: Arden Fair Bake Shop, Bar-B-Que Chicken, Cork & Bottle Liquor Store, Country Candies, Carnation Ice Cream Bar, die Rheinlander, Frank’s Fisherman’s Wharf, Food Circus Card & Gift Shop, Frank Fat’s Chinese Food, Frank’s Chicken Ranch, Hof Bauer, Health Bar, Hot Dog On A Stick, Jumbo’s Coffee Shop, La Plaza Mexican Kitchen, Pagluica’s Italian Kitchen, Stop-N-Shop Market, The Steak Pit, The Nut Shop, Tastee Donut Parlor, and Ye Old Pastry Shop.

Support AB 1999 – The Economic Development and State Historic Tax Credit Act

Advocacy Alert – Call for Action

AB 1999 Passed the Assembly with a 75-0 Vote!

A coalition of nonprofit organizations lead by the California Preservation Foundation and the AIA California Council is seeking passage of AB 1999, The Economic Development and State Historic Tax Credit Act. The bill is authored by Toni Atkins, Speaker of the Assembly (San Diego). Under the leadership of Speaker Atkins, AB 1999 was passed by the State Assembly with a 75-0 vote!
The bill now moves onto the State Senate and we need your help. Send letters of support now to Toni Atkins, Speaker of the Assembly. Letters should be sent by Thursday, June 12.

What will AB 1999 do?

Continue reading →

Mid-Century Madness!

We’re excited to check out “Mid-Century Madness”, a show at Blue Line Arts in Roseville. Opening this Thursday, June 5 — with an Artist’s Reception June 21 — it promises to be a fun exhibition featuring Mid-Century inspired artwork, period furniture, lamps and other crazy stuff representative of the era curated by Tony Natsoulas with contributions from members of SacMod (Sacramento Modern)!

For more information, see the flyer or check out Blue Line’s website at

Mid-Century Madness Flyer

Duck, Cover, and Scramble!

Bert Duck and CoverHey kids! Get ready for a blast from the past! Tuesday, May 13, 6 p.m. “Duck, Cover, and Scramble: Sacramento, the 1950s and the Cold War” at the Central Sacramento Public Library Galleria!

Fallout shelters, the specter of Sputnik, and learning to embrace the atom are just a few of the topics to be discussed by Gretchen Steinberg of SacMod (Sacramento Modern) and James Scott of Sacramento Public Library.

More here:

Capital Decades - 50's

Some Concrete Thinking (and Biking)

Nice turnout of over 70 people yesterday! We hope those of you who joined SacMod (Sacramento Modern) for our “Concrete Thinking” bike tour in collaboration with Sacramento Area Bicycle Advocates had a great time *AND* gained a stronger understanding of and appreciation for the buildings and art that we highlighted. If you missed it, don’t worry! You can still enjoy our expanded walking tour later this year.

concrete thinking instagrams

Photo credits: Photos 1, 3, 4, 6, and 8 – Justin Wood; Photo 2 – Jefferson Lieb; Photo 5 – Patrick Stelmach; Photos 7 and 9 – Zann Gates.