The Twentieth Century Society

Campaigning for outstanding buildings

Eileen Gray's E-1072 Photo: Manuel Bougot, 2016

Getty Foundation announces 2016 Keeping it Modern grants

The Getty Foundation has announced its 2016 Keeping It Modern grantees. Of the nine recipients, for the first time since the initiative’s 2014 launch, two of the projects are designed by women.

Eileen Gray’s Villa E-1072 on France’s Côte d’Azur will receive $200,000. The holiday home of Gray and her then-partner, architectural critic Jean Badovici, was built between 1926-29. It has decayed from environmental stress and decades of neglect from private owners. The building is now in the care of the nonprofit Association Cap Moderne.

Lina Bo Bardi’s Casa de Vidro – or Glass House — in São Paulo, Brazil, will be awarded $195,000. The architect and her husband’s onetime residence, built between 1950 and 1952, is in good shape. It has been maintained since 1995 by the Instituto Lina Bo e P.M. Bardi, which will use the Getty grant to develop a more strategic preventive maintenance plan.

In all, $1.3 million will be dispersed among the grantees, which also include Keeping It Modern’s first project in Africa. The Nickson and Borys Children’s Library in Accra, Ghana, will receive $140,000. The 1966 example of Tropical Modernism was designed by the architectural firm Nickson and Borys. The Accra Metropolitan Assembly now owns the building, which is maintained by the Ghana Library Board. The Getty funds will go toward developing a conservation plan.

The other grant recipients are Wallace Harrison’s First Presbyterian Church in Connecticut; Eladio Dieste’s Cristo Obrero Church in Uruguay; Gevorg Kochar and Mikael Mazmanyan’s Sevan Writers’ Resort in Armenia; Frederick Gibberd’s Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral in the Britain; Gautam Sarabhai’s workshop building in India; and Andrija Mutnjakovic’s National Library of Kosovo in Kosovo.

Keeping it Modern grants go to significant C20th buildings, but the Getty look for projects which offer scope to explore issues and develop solutions in the field of architectural conservation. “These latest grants underscore that purpose”said Antoine Wilmering, senior program officer at the Getty Foundation.  The newest Keeping it Modern projects will address conservation issues such as how to treat ageing concrete and the use of clear or coloured glass, sometimes embedded in concrete.

Last week recipients of previous grants attended workshops in London on conservation management and planning and on conserving modern concrete, organised by the C20 Society and funded by the Getty Foundation. It is heartening that the Foundation is doing so much to support good conservation planning and sympathetic concrete conservation for C20 buildings.