On September 25, 2010 the American Institute of Architects [AIA] Arizona honored Modern Phoenix Founder Alison King with a “2010 Award of Distinction” for contributing to understanding, interpretation and awareness of architecture in Arizona. This is one of only a few special annual awards given to non-architects for service in the design industry.
“I am deeply touched by the honor of AIA’s recognition,” said Alison King. “The jury could see that research and discovery is truly a passion of mine, and the educational events are natural extension of that. I’m grateful to my partners and our event sponsors who see the long-term value of preserving our midcentury modern heritage.”
A native of Scottsdale and now resident of Phoenix, King started the Modern Phoenix website in summer of 2003 as a quick-reference method to catalogue midcentury neighborhoods. Since then, the site has exploded with research, reporting and activism opportunities, resulting in an annual home tour and Modern Phoenix Week featuring educational and entertainment events.
In a world where websites come and go, the amount of content ModernPhoenix.net has accumulated is staggering. There are nearly 3500 individual web pages on the website, featuring almost 10,000 photographs and illustrations — most of which were taken by or scanned by Alison in the last 7 years. Several highlights from the AIA’s publication Arizona Architect during the late 50s and 60s are available for download in their original vintage state, providing a primary source view into this important time of Arizona’s growth.
Nearly 6000 different topics have been discussed on the Modern Phoenix Message Boards from kitchen renovation to concrete floor polishing. The Marketplace section operates as a modern Craigslist-style platform where modern design goods and homes are bought, traded and sold. Many read the site with hopes of relocating to Arizona or acquiring a modern home in the Phoenix Metro area, and their successes are well documented on the message boards.
In addition to the website King maintains a private archive of primary sources, interviews and scans available to scholars, activists and media built through years of interviewing and collaborating with architects and their estates. Modern Phoenix is a part-time pursuit, as she is also full-time Associate Professor of graphic design at The Art Institute of Phoenix.“Modern Phoenix would not be what it is today without the contributions of hundreds of individuals who share the same common vision and love of history,” said King. “This recognition is a victory for us all, and a clear sign that we should keep moving forward with our mission to document and preserve modern architecture.”
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