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Getty Foundation announces 2019 Keeping It Modern architectural conservation grants
Side view of Buzludzha Monument. © Dylan Thuras.


LOS ANGELES, CA.- The Getty Foundation today announced more than $1.6 million in architectural conservation grants dedicated to 10 significant buildings of the 20th century as part of its Keeping It Modern initiative. The 2019 grants stretch across four continents and extend Keeping It Modern’s geographic reach into several new countries: Argentina, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Mozambique, Spain, and Uganda. The types of buildings represented range from a Soviet-era monument to a beloved church, and from a soaring exhibition hall to an inventive railway station.

Since its inception in 2014, Keeping It Modern has supported 64 national and international model conservation projects that emphasize research and planning. The initiative has also created new networks of professionals involved in the conservation of modern buildings. To solidify this impact, the Getty Foundation will offer one more year of direct project support in 2020 and fund a series of workshops that build capacity in regions with large concentrations of modern heritage.

The ten buildings receiving funding this year include:

• Buzludzha Monument, Hadzhi Dimitar Peak, Bulgaria (architect: Georgi Stoilov)

• Torino Esposizioni, Turin, Italy (engineer: Pier Luigi Nervi)

• Beira Railway Station, Mozambique (architects: Paulo de Melo Sampaio, João A. Garizo do Carmo, and Francisco José de Castro)

• Villa E-1027, Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, France (architect: Eileen Gray)

• North Christian Church, Columbus, Indiana, USA (architect: Eero Saarinen)

• Miller House and Garden, Columbus, Indiana, USA (architect: Eero Saarinen)

• Laboratory for Faculty of Chemical Technology at Kaunas University of Technology, Lithuania (architect: Vytautas Landsbergis-Žemkalnis)

• Uganda National Museum, Kampala (architect: Ernst May)

• Escuela Superior de Comercio Manuel Belgrano, Córdoba, Argentina (architects: Osvaldo Bidinost, Jorge Chute, José Gassó, Mabel Lapacó, and Martín Meyer)

• Paraninfo at the Universidad Laboral de Cheste, Spain (architect: Fernando Moreno Barberá)

“Keeping It Modern grants are making a collective impact, with stewards of modern buildings increasingly adopting comprehensive planning as a long-term strategy,” says Joan Weinstein, director of the Getty Foundation. “Our grantees are putting in the work, delivering fantastic results, and sharing their findings with the field to lift the level of architectural conservation practice worldwide.”

A common theme among many of this year’s projects is adaptive reuse, an issue of growing importance as modern buildings age and their original purpose may need to change with the times. A standout example is the Buzludzha Monument located in Eastern Europe, a region where many significant Soviet-era buildings are in need of preservation. Built on a mountaintop location to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the founding of the Bulgarian Socialist movement, the unique design of this massive disc-shaped concrete structure is visible for miles. After its opening in 1981, the monument became one of the most popular sites in Bulgaria with hundreds of thousands of visitors annually. It was closed in 1989 and abandoned afterwards, but is still widely recognized for its achievements in architectural design and engineering. The Foundation’s grant will fund a conservation management plan to explore viable new functions for the building and ensure future preservation. Additionally, the process for listing the building as a national heritage site has already begun.

Another example of building owners considering a new purpose is the Torino Esposizioni, a former exhibition hall and convention center designed by the innovative Italian engineer and builder Pier Luigi Nervi. A masterpiece of soaring concrete and glass, the complex is mostly abandoned today. Renewed national interested in the preservation of modern heritage—including Nervi’s Stadio Flaminio which received a Keeping It Modern planning grant in 2017—has led to increased local support for reopening the hall with an alternative use. A Getty grant will support research to bring the building up to code and guide adaptive reuse as part of a comprehensive planning effort.

The Foundation also continues to add to its Keeping It Modern Report Library, which makes completed technical reports freely available online to practitioners in the field or anyone interested in cultural heritage preservation. The platform now contains 25 reports, including new additions for the Museu de Arte de São Paulo in Brazil and the Rietveld Schröder House in The Netherlands.

“The Keeping It Modern report library continues to grow as grantees share the results of their studies and conservation recommendations with professionals and the public,” says Antoine Wilmering, senior program officer for the Getty Foundation. “These reports have helped owners advocate for their buildings and are also valuable roadmaps for stewards of other modern sites that are facing maintenance and preservation challenges.”





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