The Getty Foundation, a Los Angeles philanthropy dedicated to promoting visual arts and the interdisciplinary practice of conservation, will bestow $1.3 million towards restoring and studying nine 20th-century, modern sites around the world. As part of the institution’s Keeping It Modern initiative, funded by the J. Paul Getty Trust, the ongoing project will not only enliven the selected sites, but also serve as models for architectural conservation in practice and study. Since initiative's inception in 2014, it has helped 33 modern architectural projects around the world. Extending its international reach further each year, this is the first time the initiative has supported a project in Africa.
This year’s sites include Italian designer Lina Bo Bardi’s Casa de Vidro in São Paulo, Brazil; Irish furniture designer Eileen Gray’s Villa E-1027 in Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, France; Ghanaian firm Nickson Borys & Partners’ Children’s Library in Accra, Ghana; Wallace Harrison’s First Presbyterian Church, in Stamford, Conn.; Alántida Church (or Cristo Obrero y Nuestra Señora de Lourdes), by Uruguayan engineer and architect Eladio Dieste, in Alántida, Uruguay; Soviet architects Gvvorg Kochar and Mikael Mazmanyan’s Sevan Writers’ Resort in Tsamakaberd, Armenia; English architect, urban planner, and landscape designer Sir Frederick Gibberd’s Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral in Liverpool, England; Indian industrialist and businessman’s Gautam Sarabhai’s workshop building in Ahmedabad, India; and Croatian architect’s Andrija Mutnjakovic’s National Library of Kosovo in Pristina, Kosovo.
The newly added projects are important not just because of their architectural significance, but also because they are key examples of issues other modern buildings face. One of the most frequent problems observed include aging concrete and its treatment. Used heavily in modern buildings, thin-shell, precast, and cast in-situ concrete techniques all call for different strategies. Another is learning to correctly preserve large panels of both colored and clear glassthat have been set directly in the ever prevalent concrete . Studying the intersectionbetween these two substances can inform other restoration projects that are similar in form, and set a precedent for unbuilt structures.