The restoration of the Karl Marx School, a Functionalist school in Villejuif, France, has won the 2018 World Monuments Fund (WMF)/Knoll Modernism Prize. The historic institution was brought back to its original condition by Agence Christiane Schmuckle-Mollard, a Paris-based restoration and design firm. “The Karl Marx School in Villejuif is one of the landmark school designs of the twentieth century,” said Barry Bergdoll, jury chair, in a statement. The building was listed as a National Historical Monument in France in 1996.
French architect André Lurçat designed the school that opened in 1933 and has remained continuously operational but suffered from poor maintenance. The renovation brought the structure up to modern building standards, conserved original materials, restored original colors, and added a new wing.
The prize is awarded biannually to restorations and adaptations of historically significant modernist buildings. The Karl Marx School is the sixth winner of the prize, and for the first time, the jury awarded a special mention to Harboe Architects’ restoration of Unity Temple, in Oak Park, Illinois, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.
Besides Barry Bergdoll, the jury included Jean-Louis Cohen, Kenneth Frampton, Dietrich Neumann, Susan Macdonald, Theo Prudon, and Karen Stein. The prize will be awarded in a ceremony on December 4, 2018, at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City.