Events January 2024

Photos courtesy the author

Disappearing Diplomacy: the US Embassies of the Cold War

January 16, 2024

For the first Modern Conversations presentation of the new year please join us as we welcome David B. Peterson who will speak about his new book US Embassies of the Cold War: the Architecture of Democracy, Diplomacy and Defense. During the Cold War, the US State Department used Modern architecture as a powerful form of cultural diplomacy, designing embassies to express the ideals of a progressive, democratic society. Peterson’s talk will expand on the little-known story of the US State Department’s bid to win international hearts and minds through the strategic use of modernist architecture and cultural diplomacy at the height of the international conflict between communism and democracy.

US Embassies of the Cold War: the Architecture of Democracy, Diplomacy and Defense is a large-format, photo-driven book featuring the fourteen most significant midcentury modern American embassies designed by leading architects, including: Walter Gropius, Marcel Breuer, Eero Saarinen, and Edward Durell Stone. Today, the Cold War embassies are being decommissioned and sold, replaced by high-security compounds.

“[This book] is an open-eyed investigation into the results of the unlikely meeting between progressive culture and public policy at a particular moment in time. With an extraordinary collection of photographs and graphics not seen elsewhere, Peterson enables us to know that past, reckon with what was once significant, and learn about options that may exist today or tomorrow in a rapidly changing global landscape.”

– Historian and author Jane Loeffler, Ph.D


David B. Peterson is CEO of Onera Group, Inc. and is the Executive Director of the Onera Foundation, a private foundation dedicated to supporting historic preservation. Mr. Peterson is Board Chair of the Harlem Academy school, an independent NYC school offering promising students a leading education regardless of economic circumstance. He serves on the Advisory Council of the Glass House, a National Trust Historic site in New Canaan, CT. He holds a BA from Dartmouth College, an MBA from New York University, and a MS in Historic Preservation from the Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation. US Embassies of the Cold War: The Architecture of Democracy, Diplomacy and Defense is his first book.

US Embassies of the Cold War is available on Amazon or through All proceeds from book sales will benefit the Onera Foundation and its mission to inform and engage the public about historic preservation and significant architecture.

Tuesday January 16, 6:30pm

Beyer Blinder Belle Architects & Planners LLP
120 Broadway, New York
Please note: Government issued photo identification is required to enter 120 Broadway.
Reception to follow

Tickets: $5 DOCOMOMO Members; $10 General Admission.
Capacity limited. Advance Registration Required. Registration closes January 14.

DOCOMOMO US / New York Tri-State wishes to thank Beyer Blinder Belle for hosting this event.