A Colloquium to Advance the Practice of Conserving Modern Architecture

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, new conservation challenges emerged as seminal architectural works of the Modern Movement reached fifty years of age thereby becoming eligible for heritage protection.

Many of these buildings have not aged well. The new and innovative construction methods and materials that typify the era challenge traditional conservation approaches and raise new methodological and philosophical issues.

Despite increased recognition of modern architecture's cultural significance, there is a lack of practical conservation knowledge that addresses the many complex challenges. Effectively tackling these issues demands leadership, strategic research, and the ability to broker with industry to develop appropriate repair techniques that translate research into practice and achieve conservation aims. A concerted effort to bring together and distribute existing information as well as identify and fill information gaps is also needed.

To begin to address these complex challenges, the GCI convened a colloquium of experts in the field in March 2013. This two-day event was organized around four themes: (1) Philosophy and Approach (2) Physical Conservation Challenges (3) Education and Training (4) Identification, Assessment, and Interpretation. The Day 1 was focused on presentations of background papers prepared for each theme. Each theme was further amplified by two case studies.

On Day 2, participants were divided into working groups to identify actions that would advance each thematic area. The groups reported back with a view to developing an action plan with input from the wider groups.




Tim Whalen, Director, Getty Conservation Institute and Susan Macdonald, Head Field Projects, Getty Conservation Institute. With additional remarks by: Ana Tostões, President Docomomo International, Sheridan Burke, President, ICOMOS, ISC20C, and David Fixler, Chair, Association for Preservation Technology

Introduction to Theme 1: Philosophy and Approach

Susan Macdonald, Head of Field Projects, Getty Conservation Institute

Toronto Towers: A Case Study

Michael McClelland, Architect, Toronto

Sydney Opera House: Practical Conservation Management Tools for Daily Use

Sheridan Burke, Heritage Consultant, Sydney

Introduction to Theme 2: Physical Conservation Challenges

Kyle Normandin, Senior Project Specialist, Getty Conservation Institute

Building Technology, Systems, and Conservation

Wessel de Jonge, Architect, Rotterdam

Concrete Research and Conservation

Myriam Bouichou, Materials Science Engineer, Historical Monuments Research Laboratory, Paris

Introduction to Theme 3: Education and Training

Theo Prudon, FAIA, Architect, New York

The International Course of Conservation of Modern Architecture

Tommi Lindh, Conservation Architect, Helsinki

Canadian Conserving Modern Architecture Course

Jeff Cody, Senior Project Specialist, Getty Conservation Institute

Introduction to Theme 4: Identification, Assessment and Interpretation

Marieke Kuipers, Architecture Professor, Delft, The Netherlands

Designating Modern Heritage

Emily Gee, Head of Designation, English Heritage, London

Cultural Landscape Foundation

Charles Birnbaum, FASLR, FAAR, Cultural Landscape Foundation, Washington DC

Colloquium participants

Page updated: February 2014