Missed some of our articles, tweets, or Facebook posts from the last few days? Don’t sweat it—we’ve gathered the week’s must-read stories right here. Enjoy! Preservation grants to give these 12 modern buildings a future The Getty Foundation has unveiled the beneficiaries of this year’s Keeping It Modern architectural conservation grant initiative, a program run by the foundation that aims to support projects of “outstanding architectural significance.” Announcing a whole new way to discover stories about your city, region, or neighborhood Have you ever walked by a new construction site and wondered what’s being built? Spotted a striking storefront and wanted to know who designed it? Perhaps you’d be alarmed to discover your favorite park is at risk? At The Architect’s Newspaper (AN), we’re obsessed with covering the most important stories on the built environment, whether it’s a megaproject or a thoughtful change to a small plaza. Now you can discover our articles based on your location at any given moment. AN has partnered with Hoverpin, a free app that helps users find new people, places, and events, to make this possible. Manhattan borough president rejects city’s East Harlem rezoning proposal Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer formally announced this week that she is opposed to the city’s East Harlem rezoning proposal; the move would bring more high-rise residential development to the area. New V&A exhibit explores the little-known history of plywood The intriguing and little-known history of plywood is the focus of a new exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) in London and of a new book, Plywood: A Material Story, by the exhibition’s curator, Christopher Wilk, keeper of the museum’s furniture, textiles, and fashion department. wHY subtly transforms historic Masonic Temple to house Marciano Art Foundation Rather than donating artworks to large, existing institutions, it is becoming more and more common for wealthy art collectors to create their own museums for displaying their extensive collections. Adding to the trend, the Maurice & Paul Marciano Art Foundation (MAF) recently opened in Los Angeles to display some of the 1,500 art objects the two brothers have collected.
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The Getty Foundation has unveiled the beneficiaries of this year’s Keeping It Modern architectural conservation grant initiative, a program run by the foundation that aims to support projects of “outstanding architectural significance." The grants are awarded to ongoing conservation projects that promise to “advance conservation practice” with regard to modern and contemporary architectural relics. According to the foundation, many modern and contemporary works of architecture were built using experimental materials, untested building strategies, or were repaired badly over the decades. Consequently, contemporary preservation and stabilization strategies are urgently needed to prepare many modern structures for the future. The grant initiative, which began in 2014, mostly focuses on providing funding for research and study purposes. It aims to fill in funding gaps for threatened structures, allowing their owners and operators to commission preservation, structural, or renovation studies. The initiative has afforded 45 such grants since its inception. This year's buildings span the globe and includes works in Japan, Morocco, India, and Kosovo. Here are the 12 projects that are sharing $1.66 million in grant funding: Cathedral Church of St. Michael, Coventry Cathedral Sir Basil Spence Coventry, England Built: 1962 Funds Awarded: $174,530 The Coventry Church of St. Michael by Sir Basil Spence was designed in 1962 as part of the post–World War II reconstruction effort in England. The original 500-year-old Gothic church was almost entirely destroyed during the war with only the structure’s outer walls, tower, and spire remaining intact. Spence’s plan called for saving these components and surrounding them with new construction. Spence added red sandstone walls, slender concrete columns, and gentle vaulting to complement the historic character of the original church. The church has been in constant use for over 50 years; The Getty Foundation’s grant will help the current church architect consult with conservation specialists on the creation of a comprehensive conservation management plan for the structure that will allow for repairs to take place. City of Boston, Boston City Hall Kallmann McKinnell & Knowles Boston Built: 1968 Funds Awarded: $120,000 Boston’s iconic Brutalist city hall was designed by Gerhard Kallmann, Michael McKinnell, and Edward Knowles in 1962. The controversial structure has enjoyed a resurgence of popularity in recent years as Brutalist architecture has come back in vogue. The functioning civic building has suffered over the decades from various types of water infiltration, faulty concrete joinery, and other ailments; however, restoration efforts are currently under way. Grant funding will be used to evaluate the building and its attendant plaza, perform laboratory analysis of the concrete elements, and plan for the long term conservation of the building and its systems. Fondation Caisse de Dépôt et de Gestion (CDG), Sidi Harazem Thermal Bath Complex Jean-François Zevaco Sidi Harazem, Morocco Built: 1958 Funds Awarded: $150,000 The Sidi Harazem Thermal Bath Complex was built in the years following Moroccan independence from French colonial dominance and represented the new nation’s desire to “create modern and forward-thinking gathering spaces,” according to the Getty Foundation. The Moroccan-born French architect Jean-François Zevaco designed the complex in 1957 as a series of bungalows and a market surrounding a central courtyard. The complex fell into disrepair by the 1980s; these sections have been permanently closed since. The Fondation Caisse de Dépôt et de Gestion—the group that owns the structure—will use Getty funds to create a conservation plan for the site that will guide future interventions with the eventual goal of fully restoring the entire complex. Japan Sport Council, Yoyogi National Gymnasium Kenzo Tange Tokyo, Japan Built: 1964 Funds Awarded: $150,000 The Yoyogi National Gymnasium was designed in 1964 by Japanese architect Kenzo Tange as part of Japan’s bid to host the first-ever Olympic Games in Asia. The pioneering Metabolist structure is made up of a shell-shaped concrete exoskeleton that curves between the structure’s raked seating assemblies and a large spire. The structure has been continuously in use since and is being readied in preparation for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games when it will be used for indoor sports competitions. The grant money will be used to develop one of the first conservation management plans for a modern building in Japan, according to the Getty, and will also go toward studying the building’s materials, possible upgrades, and history. Middle East Technical University, Faculty of Architecture Building Altuğ Çinici and Behruz Çinici Ankara, Turkey Built: 1963 Funds Awarded: $100,000 The Middle East Technical University Faculty of Architecture Building—located in Ankara and designed by the architect couple Altuğ Çinici and Behruz Çinici in 1963— is considered among the best examples of modern architecture in Turkey. The complex originally housed administrative offices and the university library but was converted in 1966 to house the university's Faculty of Architecture, though the International Style complex has deteriorated over the years due to its earthquake-prone location. The university will use grant funding to create a prototype restoration and conservation plan for the buildings that can be used to raise public awareness regarding the preservation of Turkey’s modern architecture across the country. Museu de Arte de São Paulo Assis Chateaubriand (MASP), Museo de Arte de São Paulo Assis Chateaubriand Lina Bo Bardi São Paulo, Brazil Built: 1968 Funds Awarded: $ 150,000 The Museu de Arte de São Paulo Assis Chateaubriand (MASP) is an iconic work of Brazil’s strain of regional modernism by architect Lina Bo Bardi. The museum’s gallery spaces are lifted 26 feet above a large plaza by heroic concrete arches. The 110,000-square-foot building has suffered from water infiltration issues, concrete spalling, and structural problems over the years. Though those concerns have been addressed in previous updates, more work is needed and a long-term plan is lacking. Grant monies will go toward mapping out a long-term conservation approach for the structure that will integrate preservation and maintenance concerns for the building. NVA (Europe) Limited, St Peter’s Seminary Andy MacMillan and Isi Metzstein (Gillespie, Kidd & Coia architectural practice) Glasgow, Scotland Built: 1966 Funds Awarded: $148,120 Newly-conducted research and visioning have helped to outline a future for Andy MacMillan and Isi Metzstein’s St. Peter’s Seminary in Glasgow, Scotland. The complex has been abandoned since the 1970s and was placed on the World Monuments Fund’s 2008 list of most endangered cultural landmarks. In the years since, a plan to stabilize and convert the rough and geometric Brutalist complex into a performance space, cultural venue, and exhibition center has materialized. Before that can happen, the structure must be cataloged and mapped. Using grant money, researchers will delve into the various states of decay for each of the structure’s pre-cast concrete panels, analyze the building’s structural frame, and perform a series of test repairs and mock-ups to guide the building's future conservation. PEC University of Technology, Government Museum and Art Gallery Le Corbusier (Charles- Édouard Jeanneret) Chandigarh, India Built: 1968 Funds Awarded: $150,000 Le Corbusier’s Government Museum and Art Gallery in Chandigarh, India is considered one of the architect’s master works. The structure was developed in partnership with Pierre Jeanneret as a test of their so-called “Museum of Unlimited Growth” concept, a modular approach based on a spiraling nautilus that could be added onto indefinitely. The building is in decent shape but requires long-term repairs to better adapt the structure to its local climate. Grant funding will be used to develop a research-based conservation and management plan that will aim to catalog urgent conservation repairs and establish a maintenance strategy. Price Tower Arts Center, Price Tower Frank Lloyd Wright Bartlesville, Oklahoma Built: 1956 Funds Awarded: $75,000 Price Tower in Bartlesville, Oklahoma is a 19-story skyscraper designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright. An early example of the luxury condo tower, the building was first developed to house upscale residential and commercial functions. The building remained in use in its original configuration until 1981 when it was sold to Phillips Petroleum, which converted the structure to office functions. The complex was donated to the Price Tower Arts Center organization in 2002 and has been partially restored and renovated. The building became a National Historic Landmark in 2007; received funds will be used to develop a comprehensive, holistic management plan. Schusev State Museum of Architecture, Melnikov House Konstantin Melnikov Moscow, Russia Built: 1929 Funds Awarded: $120,000 The Melnikov House designed by Konstantin Melnikov in 1929 as the architect’s family home and studio. The structure is heralded as a key work of the Soviet avant-garde movement in architecture and remained in the architect’s family until 2006. The structure was transferred to the state in 2011 and now operates as a museum containing 14,000 objects. The barreled structure is studded with 64 honeycomb-shaped windows that let soft light into the building’s interiors and are based on principles of structural and material efficiency. The building will soon suffer from its own success—the projected number of visitors to the museum has created long-term preservation issues. Grant funding will aim to address these concerns while also performing technical research on the building’s roof, mechanical, and electrical systems, among other aspects. Stiftung Bauhaus Dessau, Bauhaus building Walter Gropius Dessau, Germany Built: 1925 Funds Awarded: $160,047 The Dessau Bauhaus building, designed by Walter Gropius in 1925, is one of the most iconic modern structures left in existence. The sprawling structure exemplifies the modern movement’s approach to compartmentalized programming and exhibits a clear structural expression of modern materials like steel, concrete, and ribbon glass. The progressive art and architecture school was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996 and operates as a museum and research center today. Funding will be directed toward consolidating the site’s historical and technical records into a comprehensive database to “guide and prioritize future interventions,” according to the Getty. This effort will be complemented by efforts to analyze character-defining features like the building’s steel windows, nickel-plated fixtures, and some of the building’s legacy materials. Universitá degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza,” Stadio Flaminio Pier Luigi Nervi Rome, Italy Built: 1960 Funds Awarded: $161,000 Pier Luigi Nervi’s Stadio Flaminio is a canonical work of post-World War II modern architecture in Italy. The structurally-expressive, thin-shelled concrete structure was constructed in advance of the 1960 Rome Olympic Games. The 45,000-seat stadium was originally designed for sporting events but was often utilized as a performance and soccer venue as well. It was in use until 2011 when the stadium was decommissioned by the Municipality of Rome. The municipality is currently pursuing a conservation plan for the complex and will aim to study the building’s structural stability and innovative materials.
As part of its international grant initiative, Keeping it Modern, the Getty Foundation has unveiled this year's recipients for funding. Now in its third iteration, the grant seeks to award a select group of 20th century modern architecture buildings with funds to aid their preservation. Based in California, which arguably has more than its fair share of modernist artifacts, the Foundation proclaims that as of now, "modern architectural heritage is at considerable risk." Here is the list of nine buildings that will share just more than $1.2 million in grants.
Association de Gestion du Site Cap Moderne Villa E.1027 Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, France Built: 1929 Architect: Eileen Gray Funds Awarded: $200,000 Designed by architect and designer Eileen Gray, this dwelling is southern France has a rather sombre history. Essentially vandalized by Corbusier who painted murals (famously doing so while nude) on the building without Gray's permission, the murals were later used as target practice by Italian soldiers in World War II. The modernist house was then later sold onto doctor Peter Kägi who, while grappling with morphine addiction, let the house deteriorate. With rumors of it being used as an "orgy den, with Kägi picking up local boys and offering them drugs and booze," Kägi was found murdered in the residence. Squatters and vandals later occupied the building though Corbusier's art somehow survived. The Villa is now cared for by the Association Cap Moderne, a non-profit organization that has pledged the long-term maintenance of this Monument Historique. Funding will go toward a "scientific study of the original color scheme, climate control research, a furniture study, and a special scientific analysis of the Le Corbusier murals to inform their future restoration."Highland Green Foundation Inc. First Presbyterian Church Stamford, Connecticut, U.S. Built: 1958 Architect: Wallace Harrison Funds Awarded: $130,000 Boasting a dazzling interior (seen here in AN's previous coverage of the building) the church is composed of prefabricated triangular panels of precast concrete. The interior is illuminated by an array of more than 20,000 shards of amber, emerald, ruby, amethyst and sapphire stained glass. This colorful method of illumination is part of Harrison's use of dalle de verre windows—a cost-effective technique that allows the glass and concrete to work in unison. Now maintained by the Highland Green Foundation, funds will be used to "survey, document, and study the site, drawing on the input of engineering consultants and material scientists." Instituto Lina Bo e P.M. Bardi Casa de Vidro São Paulo, Brazil Built: 1952 Architect: Lina Bo Bardi Funds Awarded: $195,000 The appropriately named Casa de Vidro (Glass House) residency was built for Bo Bardi and her husband as a private dwelling. The building demonstrates Bo Bardi's ability to execute European modernist styles across the Atlantic and in a drastically different, tropical environment. The building is now in the hands of the Instituto Lina Bo e B.M. Bardi, an organization founded by the architect and her husband to publicize Brazilian culture and arts. According to the Getty Foundation, the grant will allow an "international team of conservation architects, landscape conservation specialists, cultural heritage experts, and civil and structural engineers to develop a conservation management plan for the property. The project will also include a 3D topographic survey of the site that allows engineers to identify potentially harmful structural deformations at the smallest scale, not perceivable to the naked eye." Comisión del Patrimonio Cultural de la Nación Cristo Obrero Church Atlántida, Uruguay Built: 1960 Architect: Eladio Dieste Funds Awarded: $150,000 By its full name, the Cristo Obrero y Nuestra Señora de Lourdes church was the first independent commission for revered Uruguayan architect and engineer Eladio Dieste. With an undulating wave-like brick facade running lengthways on either side of the building, Dieste's subtle articulation of light stems from a series of well-placed windows and bricks that contain colored glass. Dieste's engineering prowess is also showcased inside through a bell tower that features perforated walls and a free-standing minimalist spiral staircase bereft of support column and a handrail. Though under the care of the local community, the Getty's funding will facilitate the supply of a "team of national and international experts" that will carry out a "rigorous study of the church and bell tower" as part of a "comprehensive engineering study and a conservation management plan." ArchiAfrika Accra Children's Library Accra, Ghana Built: 1966 Architects: Nickson and Borys Funds Awarded: $140,000 After Ghana escaped the clutches of colonialism in 1957, Accra quickly became the focal point of West African Modernism, symbolizing the country's liberation. The Children's Library in the Ghanaian capital followed suit. With a brise soleil that acts as a simple but effective shading device, while also allowing natural ventilation of the building, Nickson and Borys' design epitomized a radical political change for the country. Though currently in good shape under the stewardship of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly and the Ghana Library Board, the $140,000 will be used to "ensure that the building is preserved to the highest standards." Here, a team of specialists will "collaboratively research the library complex and develop a conservation plan." The Writers' Union of Armenia Sevan Writers' Resort Lake Sevan, Armenia Built: 1935 & 1965 Architects: Gevorg Kochar & Mikael Mazmanyan Funds Awarded: $130,000 Embodying the utopian ideals of the early Soviet Union, Gevorg Kochar & Mikael Mazmanyan strived to create a functional and egalitarian space derived from abstract forms. Only two years after their writers' retreat's construction, however, the architects fell out of favor with the Stalinist government with both being arrested and exiled to Siberia for 15 years. Returning in the early 1960s, Kochar added a new lounge and rebuilt the existing guest house. Now, the building is still used by native writers as a retreat, though the Getty has acknowledged that many modernist Soviet structures in post-USSR member states are now in danger. The grant will "support the methodical and scientific analysis of the Sevan resort" and aims to "set a precedent for valuing modernist heritage not only in Armenia, but also in other post-Soviet and post-socialist countries." Liverpool Roman Catholic Archdiocesan Trust Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral Liverpool, United Kingdom Built: 1967 Architect: Sir Frederick Gibberd Funds Awarded: $138,000 Working alongside a group of artists, Sir Frederick Gibberd was able to design one of Liverpool's most dominant architectural icons. A soaring lantern tower illuminates the interior through its dalle de verre stained glass, creating a sharp contrast in both tone and vibrancy with the raw white concrete of the exterior. Saddled with internal leaking and defects to the mosaic cladding of the concrete buttresses, repair work began in the 1990s. Funding from the Getty will support an ongoing study into the failure of the dalle de verre in the building's Lantern. It will also be used to "develop and test a conservation repair methodology for the dalle de verre glazed Lantern, which is currently the cause of significant water ingress." Nirmala Bakubhai Foundation Gautam Sarabhai Workshop Building Ahmedabad, India Built: 1977 Architect: Gautam Sarabhai Funds Awarded: $90,000 Drawing inspiration from German engineer and architect Frei Otto, the Gautam Sarabhai Workshop Building employs a steel grid frame coated by a thin-shell Ferro cement roof. This allows the interior—which stretches across 134 feet—to be free from any interfering structural columns. Thanks to the building's light-weight structure, it was able to survive the 7.7 richter-scale earthquake in 2001. To ensure this structural performance is maintained, its owners plan on researching and creating a "comprehensive conservation plan." This will include the development of a Building Information Model (BIM) used to monitor and track the structure's condition, of which the Getty's grant will support. Kosovo's Architecture Foundation National Library of Kosovo Prishtina, Kosovo Built: 1981 Architect: Andrija Mutnjakovic Funds Awarded: $89,000 With the intention of establishing an "authentic national architectural expression," Croatian architect, Andrija Mutnjakovic used translucent acrylic rooftop domes, in-situ cast concrete, marble floors, and white plastered walls to create a distinctly modern library. Featuring forms from the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires to reflect the areas history, materiality was also used in symbolic fashion with an aluminum lattice skin contrived by some as acknowledging the area's two predominant religions. Though the interior was subject to damage during the Kosovo war in 1998-99, the library's exterior remained remarkably unscathed. Now, however, the hallmarks of age such as leaks have begun to settle in. The grant from the Getty will go toward furthering conservation specialists' understanding of the building, where "every aspect" will be studied while consulting Mutnjakovic himself.
The Getty Foundation created Keeping It Modern to complement the Getty Conservation Institute's Conserving Modern Architecture Initiative (CMAI).
Funding shortages, insufficient knowledge of materials and technology, and conflicting interests are often the hurdles that preservationists face in the fight to save 20th century modernist landmarks. In recent years we've lost Bertrand Goldberg's Prentice Women's Hospital in Chicago and Neutra's Cyclorama at Gettysburg to demolition, and soon Paul Rudolph's Government Center in Goshen will likely meet the same sad fate. The Getty Foundation, however, is taking steps to protect other significant buildings of this period through its second annual Keeping it Modern grant initiative, totaling $1.75 million. The organization announced 14 international projects that will receive grant funding, including such buildings as Frank Lloyd Wright’s Unity Temple, Walter Gropius’ residence ‘The Gropius House,’ and João Batista Vilanova Artigas and Carlos Cascaldi’s School of Architecture and Urbanism at the University of São Paulo (FAUUSP). “Last year’s launch of Keeping It Modern emphasized that modern architecture is a defining artistic form of the 20th century at considerable risk, often due to the cutting-edge building materials that characterized the movement,” said Deborah Marrow, director of the Getty Foundation. “This new round of Keeping It Modern grants includes some of the finest examples of modern architecture in the world. The grant projects address challenges for the field of architectural conservation and will have impact far beyond the individual buildings to be conserved.” Below, see the remaining projects.