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Getty Foundation announces 2016 Keeping it Modern grants that span the globe
Cristo Obrero Church. © Leonardo Finotti.


LOS ANGELES, CA.- The Getty Foundation today announced $1.3 million in architectural conservation grants for exemplary 20th century buildings as part of its Keeping It Modern initiative. The latest grants for nine projects in nine countries extend the program’s reach to Africa, and include the first two buildings selected for support that were designed by women. Since its inception in 2014, the initiative has to date supported 33 projects that serve as models for the conservation of modern architecture around the world.

Like the previous grantees, the projects selected to receive funding this year are of the highest architectural significance: Lina Bo Bardi’s Casa de Vidro (Brazil), Eileen Gray’s Villa E-1027 (France), Nickson and Borys’s Children’s Library (Ghana), Wallace Harrison’s First Presbyterian Church (Connecticut, United States), Eladio Dieste’s Cristo Obrero Church (Uruguay), Gevorg Kochar and Mikael Mazmanyan’s Sevan Writers’ Resort (Armenia), Sir Frederick Gibberd’s Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral (United Kingdom), Gautam Sarabhai’s workshop building (India), and Andrija Mutnjakovic’s National Library of Kosovo (Kosovo).

“Each year, we extend the global reach of Keeping It Modern, making clear that there is modern architecture far and wide that is deserving of conservation and protection,” says Deborah Marrow, director of the Getty Foundation. “We are pleased this year to support the initiative’s first project in Africa, and to recognize the accomplishments of two outstanding women who pushed the possibilities of modern architecture forward.”

The new projects share several ongoing challenges facing 20th century architecture. This includes the need to better understand aging architectural concrete, one of the most widely used materials in modern architecture, and its proper treatment. Another issue is the use of clear and colored glass, including large colored panes (dalle de verre), which were often set directly into concrete. Research in these areas through the Getty grants will continue to generate models for the conservation field.

Several previous grant recipients are close to completing or have completed rigorous analysis of the construction materials and design of their buildings, and they have developed conservation strategies that address key problems. These projects include Sydney Opera House, the Max Liebling complex in Israel, Het Schip in The Netherlands, Centennial Hall in Poland, and Paimio Sanatorium in Finland. Also emerging from this work is an understanding of the benefits of a conservation management plan (CMP), a relatively new development for twentieth-century architecture which helps stewards of modern buildings plan for long-term maintenance and preservation.

“The projects supported by Keeping It Modern were selected not only for their architectural significance, but because of their potential to serve as models and to move toward new solutions and standards in the field as a whole,” says Antoine Wilmering, senior program officer at the Getty Foundation. “These latest grants underscore that purpose – for example, Eladio Dieste’s Cristo Obrero Church in Atlantida, Uruguay makes use of reinforced brick, creating delicately shaped undulating forms with a technique of which we have little knowledge in terms of conservation practice. This building’s conservation management plan has the potential to inform the future preservation of hundreds of other buildings that use similar construction materials and techniques.”

Keeping It Modern is part of the Getty’s strong overall commitment to modern architecture, as demonstrated by the Getty Conservation Institute’s Conserving Modern Architecture Initiative (CMAI), the extensive and growing architectural collections of the Getty Research Institute, and the 2013 Pacific Standard Time Presents: Modern Architecture initiative which focused on Los Angeles’ modern heritage. With these combined efforts, the Getty continues to advance the understanding and preservation of 20th century modern architecture.





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