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Modesto International Architecture Festival underway through Sunday
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MODESTO — The American Institute of Architects, Sierra Valley Chapter and the Modesto Art Museum is staging the fourth annual Modesto International Architecture Festival through Sunday in downtown Modesto. The festival is a series of events and activities for people to learn about, discuss, and research architecture, landscape, and urban design and how they can contribute to a more livable city.

The six-day festival involves exhibits and self-guided tours. A gala reception is part of the program from 6 to 9 p.m. on Thursday at the State Theatre, 1307 J St. The cost of the Thursday event is $12 and $10 for students.

The festival keynote address is being offered by world-renowned architect Michael Duncan of SOM San Francisco, and the American Institute of Architects Sierra Valley Chapter bi-annual design awards.

Duncan is a Design Director in the San Francisco office of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM). With many years of experience in completing architectural projects in California and Pacific Rim countries, Michael has directly participated in the growth and urbanization of these two regions examining key issues such as transportation, sustainability, density, and high performance building. Michael’s presentation will discuss new models for urban design and architecture in China.

This year there will be two Architecture Cafes, informal group conversations over a cup of coffee; self-guided walking, driving, and bicycle tours of Modesto’s architecture including a rare opportunity to see the Gallo world headquarters building. There will also be an evening of architecture movies at the State Theatre; Architecture Graffiti; an outdoor screening of movies projected on building walls; and an afternoon of fun free activities for families and kids.

• ARCHITECTURE CAFÉ: Friday, 8:30 to 10 a.m. at Picasso’s Deli & Art, 963 10th St. Free.

An architecture café is an informal conversation about architecture over a cup of coffee. The conversation on Friday is about Modesto’s high speed rail plans with Stacey Mortensen, executive director of the ACE Train.

: Saturday, 7 to 9 p.m. corner of 10th and I streets. Free.

Four projectors, a huge wall, and cutting edge videos all make it come together. It is a public exhibit that will illuminate facades with live video and architectural movies. Open to viewers of all ages.

: Saturday, 12:30 to 3 p.m., McHenry Museum, 1402 I Street. Free.

A family-orientated event is an opportunity to expose children to architecture and design. The workshop includes the ability to help construct a dog house with a real living green roof. There wil be other activities as well.

: 10-mile self-guided driving or biking tour. Cost is $5.

In the middle decades of the 20th century Modesto’s Modernistic architecture was getting national attention. In the 1940s the Museum of Modern Art in New York printed three books that featured architecture in Modesto from the 1940s to 1960s. That was in addition to a number of other books, magazine articles and professional journal articles.

: 2.5-mile self-guided biking or walking tour. Cost is $2.

Modesto has several interesting residential areas with houses in a variety of architectural styles. The tour will take you through parts of downtown as well as the Wisecarver  and Coldwell developments. Most of the homes are from the 1920s. A family bike tour is on Saturday that departs the McHerny Mansion at 11 a.m.

• MODERNISM IN MODESTO TOUR 1937-1972: 2-mile self-guided walking tour. Cost is $2.

For decades through the mid-20th century, architecture in Modesto was on the cutting edge. Art deco, International Style, Googie, and Mid Century Modern are all well represented. The walking tour will introduce you to some of the best downtown architecture and the architects who designed it.

Tickets for individual events are on sale now. A festival pass for all six days is only $25.

For more information on all events and activities, visit: