Keeping It Modern is a grant initiative focused on supporting model projects for the conservation of modern architecture. Below is a list of 2020 grants awarded:


Dudley and West Midlands Zoological Society Limited
Tecton Buildings at Dudley Zoo and Castle, Berthold Lubetkin and Tecton, 1937, Dudley, West Midlands, United Kingdom

Tropical Bird House at Dudley Zoo & Castle
 
In 1932, Soviet émigré Berthold Lubetkin cracked open the conservative British architectural establishment when he co-founded the Tecton Group, an architectural group that brought radical modernism to England. The Lubetkin-designed concrete structures at the Dudley Zoo and Castle, built between 1936 and 1937 to house animals or serve visitors, are among the greatest-surviving Tecton Group buildings in the world and are important examples of the early-modern movement in the UK.

Lubetkin hoped that the addition of the zoo, located near the 11th-century ruins of Dudley Castle, would provide a quiet respite from the nearby industrial town. He therefore designed the Tectons, as his structures are known, to include curved concrete roofs, glass-windowed walls, and sleek, unornamented forms that mirror the slopes and hills of the surrounding landscape. While the zoo continues its overall operations, some of the Tectons have deteriorated or are no longer in use due to changes in zoological practices over time. Building on a 2011 conservation management plan, the project team will use grant funds for concrete testing, structural surveys, and site investigations. They will then complete new use studies and costing plans to restore long-term operations to the Tropical Bird House, Elephant House, Education Centre, and Queen Mary Café.

Grant support: £120,000


Ministère du Commerce et des Petites et Moyennes entreprises du Sénégal
Centre International du Commerce Extérieur de Dakar, Jean-François Lamoureux and Jean-Louis Marin, 1974, Dakar, Senegal

Regional pavilions at Centre International du Commerce Extérieur de Dakar
 
A series of triangular buildings with exquisite architectural detailing, the Centre International du Commerce Extérieur du Sénégal (CICES) is a preeminent example of post-independence African modernism, which helped young countries assert new national identities. The CICES fairground was commissioned by the first president of Senegal, Léopold Sédar Senghor, a poet turned politician who sought a novel architectural language that eschewed traditional Western referents. The result is a complex that uses modern materials and principles to unique new ends, repeating the triangular shape in a dizzying array of formats and scales to create both variation and unity across the five-acre site.

The fairground has undergone several changes to its design over the years, yet it has retained its architectural integrity and portions of its original furnishings. With Getty support, an experienced project team will develop a detailed conservation management plan for the complex, collaborating with local Senegalese professionals and architectural students. Furthermore, the project will promote and disseminate information about the site's history, architectural significance, and conservation management methods locally in Senegal and throughout the West African region, home to many more modernist structures in need of long-term conservation planning.

Grant support: $190,000


National Council for Culture, Art and Letters
Abraj Al-Kuwait (Kuwait Towers), Malene Bjørn, 1976, Kuwait City, Kuwait

Kuwait Towers
 
Piercing the sky as it rises up from a peninsula jutting out into Kuwait Bay, Abraj Al-Kuwait represents the importance of water as a life-sustaining force in the Middle Eastern desert. Designed by Danish architect Malene Bjørn in collaboration with Sune Lindström and the Swedish engineering company VBB during a period of significant modernization across Kuwait, the celebrated landmark features three spike-shaped towers punctuated by three concrete spheres. Together, two of the spheres hold over 2.3 million gallons of water, while the third sphere contains a viewing platform with a lightweight aluminum and a glass-wall enclosure designed by Buckminster Fuller. All of the orbs possess a remarkable shimmering quality thanks to 41,000 enameled metal discs in shades of blue, green, and gray that stud their surfaces in a carefully variegated spiral pattern.

Due to more than five decades of marine climate exposure, however, some of the decorative metal discs have detached and fallen to the ground. Guided by a recent conservation management plan, the project team will conduct a technical study to identify the underlying problem behind the disc detachments and develop conservation protocols for carrying out repairs and maintenance. Because the conservation of modern architecture in Kuwait is an emerging field, the project team will collaborate with international experts and leverage the opportunity to share their research with local Kuwaiti architects, conservators, and engineers.

Grant support: $180,000


Obafemi Awolowo University
Obafemi Awolowo University, Arieh Sharon, 1962-76, Ife-Ife, Nigeria

Obafemi Awolowo University
 
Obafemi Awolowo University was part of a wave of higher education centers built after Nigeria's independence from Britain in 1960 to establish the country as a new, modern nation. Designed by Israeli architect and former Bauhaus student Arieh Sharon in collaboration with Nigerian architectural firms, the campus reflects the merging of Bauhaus principles with tropical modernism. The result is a collection of structures that foreground functionality and simplicity as well as climate-responsive design principles for this equatorial region. For the main buildings, Sharon chose the motif of an inverted pyramid, which allowed the upper floors to provide protection from the sun and rain while promoting ease of movement and proper ventilation on the ground floors. The architect also integrated sculptural elements of local Yoruba culture and geometric shapes rendered in concrete into the entrances of several buildings, successfully blending diverse visual languages.

The Faculty of Environmental Design and Management at Obafemi Awolowo University working with a Berlin-based architectural firm will now develop a comprehensive conservation management plan that not only preserves this postcolonial, modernist site but can also set standards for the care of many other campus structures across the region inspired by its architectural forms.

Grant support: $180,000


Schusev State Museum of Architecture
White Tower, Moisei Reisher, 1929-1931, Ekaterinburg, Russia

The White Tower
 
A prime example of Russian Constructivism, the White Tower of Ekaterinburg epitomizes the rapid industrialization of Russia during the 1930s. Commissioned by the Ural Machine Building Plant, the tower was created by a 27-year old architect, Moisei Reisher, to supply water to the nearby factory town. At the time of its completion, the water tower was one of the largest in the world, soaring to 113 feet with a storage capacity of over 180,000 gallons. Reisher's use of modern elements—reinforced concrete, columns in place of load-bearing walls, and a concave-bottom tank—tested the skills of local builders, but allowed him to create a sleek, levitating form.

The White Tower has sat idle since the 1960s, when it was replaced elsewhere by a centralized, higher-pressure hydraulic system. There was a glimmer of hope for the Tower when it was listed as a National Monument in 1974 and Reisher rallied authorities to convert the tower into a café, but the reuse plan was never approved. Since 2012, PODELNIKI architecture group, a non-profit organization founded by young local architects, has championed the tower's conservation and reuse, sparking growing public interest in and support for the conservation of the region's architectural heritage. The Schusev State Museum of Architecture, in close collaboration with PODELNIKI, will lead the effort to develop a conservation management plan that conserves the tower for future generations and paves the way for its reopening as a cultural center.

Grant support: $180,000


Stichting Gerrit Rietveld Academie te Amsterdam, Hogeschool voor Beeldende Kunst en Vormgeving
Rietveld Academie, Gerrit Rietveld, 1963, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Rietveld Academie
 
Designed by renowned Dutch modernist Gerrit Rietveld, the main building of Rietveld Academie embodies the idea of architecture not as mass but as a boundary made of space and light. The four-story structure, which houses a university of applied sciences for fine art and design, features a prominent glass curtain wall that allows daylight to stream into the classrooms and studios. Rietveld achieved this openness and transparency by placing the load-bearing structure of the building away from the curtain wall. While the abundance of natural light is appreciated by both teachers and students, it is also at odds with today's pedagogical tools. Computer monitors and large projection screens do not function well in its bright spaces, leaving stewards of the building with a conundrum. How can they preserve the architect's design for this municipally-listed Heritage Monument while adapting the building for continued use? A Getty grant for a conservation management plan will help the school both preserve the building's original fabric and develop new solutions that accommodate modern-day educational technology and energy efficiency standards.

Grant support: €175,000


Technische Universität Berlin
Oberstufen-Schulzentrum Wedding, Pysall, Jensen, Stahrenberg & Partner, 1976, Berlin, Germany

Beira Railway Station
 
With its bright orange façade, modular, curved-edge panels, and rounded windows, the Oberstufen-Schulzentrum (OSZ) Wedding brings a distinctive Pop flare to the Bauhaus-derived language of international modernism. But beyond its formal invention, the school building embodied bold new steps in education. OSZ was built in Berlin's largest postwar urban redevelopment zone, and planners seized the opportunity to express a progressive social vision that connected students to neighborhood residents. Skylights, large windows and the prominent glass façade of the multipurpose auditorium communicate transparency and integrate exterior and interior spaces. The spacious, horizontal layout reflects the school's reformist goals to strip away class hierarchies, and surrounding community members were welcomed inside to use the school's public library and adult-education facilities.

Although OSZ thrived for decades, declining enrollment forced the school to close its doors in 2011. Since then, the nonprofit ps wedding has advocated for the school's reuse as a community center, gaining the trust and support of neighborhood residents. A Getty grant will help an interdisciplinary team of experts research the building and define an overarching strategy for its conservation, new operations, and long-term management. Technische Universität Berlin, in coordination with ps wedding, will ensure that the resulting conservation management plan takes into consideration the cultural importance of the building and the current needs of the local community.

Grant support: €120,000


Universidad del Desarrollo
Monasterio Benedictino de la Santísima Trinidad de las Condes, Brother Martín Correa and Gabriel Guarda OSB, 1964, Santiago, Chile

Benedictine Monastery Chapel
 
Nestled in the foothills of the Andes Mountains, Monasterio Benedictino de la Santísima Trinidad de Las Condes sits nearly hidden from view within a busy, residential area of Santiago de Chile. Designed by monastery residents and architects Brother Martín Correa and Father Gabriel Guarda OSB, the minimalistic church stands in stark contrast to the ornamentation and gilded surfaces of many Catholic houses of worship. As such it followed precepts of the Second Vatican Council, which sought to modernize religious practices and better integrate Catholicism with local cultures. Several key architectural elements, including a concrete altar, natural lighting, and the liberal use geometric planes, reflect the austerity and simplicity of the Benedictine order as well as principles and materials of the modern movement.

Although the monastery was recognized as a national historic monument in 1981, it has never had a conservation plan that considers both the practical needs of the monastic community and the preservation needs of this aging building. Led by the Universidad del Desarrollo in partnership with the monastery, the project team will work with local consultants and government agencies to develop a comprehensive protocol for maintaining the site for years to come.

Grant support: $180,000


Universidade do Porto
Swimming Pools in Leça, Álvaro Siza, 1966, Porto, Portugal

Swimming Pools in Leça
 
At Portugal's seaside town of Leça da Palmeira, stark, rectilinear concrete walls intersect with the shore's natural rock and define the outlines of Álvaro Siza's Swimming Pools. The Pritzker-prize winning architect is known for his restrained style, claiming that the architect's domain is not invention but the transformation of reality. The Swimming Pools at Leça are an elegant and early example of Siza's minimalist approach and remain one of the most celebrated projects in a career that spans decades and continents. Protected nationally by the Portuguese government and included in the Tentative List for World Heritage, the site seemingly effortlessly integrates the rugged landscape with two salt pools, changing rooms, a café, and a terrace all rendered out of reinforced concrete and wood.

Over the years, the site's maritime location and neighboring oil refinery have contributed to deterioration of the concrete structures and triggered corrosion and breakage of the steel reinforcements. Getty grant funds will support investigations into the site's concrete repair and the development of a conservation management plan, which will involve Siza's participation. Given the architect's long and prolific career, the conservation plan has the potential to serve as a model for many other Siza sites in Portugal and across the globe.

Grant support: €100,000


World Monuments Fund
Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Stadium, Charles Correa, 1966, Ahmedabad, India

Escuela Manuel Belgrano
 
Completed in 1966 by acclaimed Indian architect Charles Correa, the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Stadium in Ahmedabad helped define the architecture of post-independence India. It was one of the largest cricket stadiums in the world at the time, able to hold up to 50,000 spectators, and is still in use today for sporting events and cultural festivals.

The stadium's distinct, cantilevered framing takes its structural power from an elegantly zig-zagging exterior wall that provides added reinforcement. This solution was reached with the help of Mahendra Raj, a pioneering engineer who helped India's top modern architects turn their design visions into reality. Even though they used the best available technology of the time, the steel-reinforced concrete is now showing visible signs of strain. Without urgent intervention, the structure will continue to weaken and decay further. The site has been placed on the 2020 World Monuments Watch, a selection of cultural heritage sites that conjoin "great historical significance with contemporary social impact." With Getty support, World Monument Fund specialists from both the U.S. and India will collaborate with a team of local experts to create a detailed plan to conserve the stadium while increasing local knowledge regarding the care of exposed concrete buildings. Other twentieth-century buildings in Ahmedabad will also benefit, as the Patel Stadium conservation effort will assert a new model for the cultural and economic importance of the restoration of modern architecture.

Grant support: $230,000


The following building received a Keeping It Modern planning grant in 2019 and has received another this year for the immediate stabilization of its interior artwork.

Deutsches Nationalkomitee von ICOMOS e.V.
Buzludzha Monument, Georgi Stoilov, 1981, Hadzhi Dimitar Peak, Bulgaria

Mosaics inside the Buzludzha Monument
 
The Buzludzha Monument was built to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the founding of the Bulgarian Communist Party. Influenced by the Brutalist style popular in Western European architecture during the 1960s, Bulgarian architect Georgi Stoilov designed an expansive discus-shaped body, a free-standing steel roof, and a striking tower—all of which make this complex perched high in the Balkan Mountains visible for miles.

In 2019, the Getty Foundation awarded the Deutsches Nationalkomitee von ICOMOS a grant to create a conservation management plan for the landmark that includes viable options for its adaptive reuse as a public site with a new function. The project team has worked diligently since then to complete condition assessments and structural investigations, consulting and engaging with local communities along the way. Close study of the building, however, has revealed that its elaborate interior mosaics are at extremely high risk of being destroyed without immediate intervention. The mosaics highlight events, figures, and policies from 20th-century Bulgarian history and are a culturally significant design element that is integral to the preservation of the building. A new Getty grant will support the installation of a shelter to protect the mosaics from the elements, as well as technical investigations and implementations to stabilize the mosaics to prevent detachment from the concrete walls.

Grant support: $60,000


The following two buildings received earlier Getty grants for conservation research and planning and are now receiving implementation grants to support treatment efforts.

Highland Green Foundation
First Presbyterian Church, Wallace K. Harrison, 1958, Stamford, Connecticut

First Presbyterian Church of Stamford, CT
 
With its soaring interior spaces and stunning geometric expanses of stained glass, Wallace Harrison's First Presbyterian Church in suburban Connecticut blends innovative design with modernist interpretations of traditional cathedral elements. The church was constructed with prefabricated panels of precast concrete that come together in a distinctive, fish-shaped form, evoking one of most common symbols of early Christianity. Enhancing the building's silhouette are its stained-glass sanctuary windows that sparkle with over 20,000 pieces of amber, emerald, ruby, amethyst, and sapphire glass, executed using a pioneering approach of setting colored glass within a concrete matrix, known as dalle de verre.

In 2016, the Getty Foundation awarded a Keeping It Modern grant to Highland Green Foundation to develop the church's conservation management plan. The document, completed in 2018, now guides the congregation's ongoing repairs to this unique house of worship. With a new implementation grant, the project team will create mockups and perform field tests on one of the church's walls in order to conserve, repair, and stabilize the dalle de verre elements. Given the wide-spread use of dalle de verre in modern religious architecture, the conservation solutions and treatments developed by the specialists will contribute significantly to emerging international standards for the preservation these distinctive glass decorations.

Grant support: $240,000


Panjab University
Gandhi Bhawan, Pierre Jeanneret, 1962, Chandigarh, India

Gandhi Bhawan
 
Completed in 1962, Pierre Jeanneret's Gandhi Bhawan at Panjab University is one of India's most stunning examples of post-independence modernist architecture. The concrete building forms the centerpiece of the campus. Set into a large reflecting pool, the three-winged structure takes the shape of an abstracted lotus-flower, marrying angular lines with swelling organic forms. In 2015, the Getty Foundation awarded Panjab University a Keeping It Modern grant to develop the site's conservation management plan. The document was completed in 2017 and is actively used by the university to complete necessary repairs and conservation work, including the preservation of Gandhi Bhawan's distinctive, glistening façade made from white crushed-rock embedded into concrete. This new research-based implementation grant will allow the India-based project team to conserve two of the site's most definitive elements: the reflecting pool and the exterior concrete precast cladding panels. Once completed, the work will set a new standard in the field while meticulously preserving this important landmark.

Grant support: ₹14,000,000