October 11, 2018

Getty Foundation Announces 2018 Keeping it Modern Grants

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Alexandria Sivak
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Eleven new grants include first projects in Cuba and Lebanon, as well as the famous Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri



LEFT: National Schools of Art of Havana. Photo: Leonardo Finotti. CENTER: The Gateway Arch in fall. Photo: NPS. RIGHT: Oscar Niemeyer’s Museum of Lebanon, Rashid Karami International Fairground, Tripoli. Photo © UNESCO Beirut Office


LOS ANGELES – The Getty Foundation today announced more than $1.7 million in architectural conservation grants dedicated to eleven significant 20th century buildings as part of its Keeping It Modern initiative. The 2018 grants once again span the globe, and include the first grants awarded to buildings in Cuba, Lebanon, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, and Ireland, as well as well-known landmarks such as the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri.

Since its inception in 2014, Keeping It Modern has supported 54 national and international conservation projects that collectively address the importance of research and planning for the preservation of modern architectural heritage.

The eleven projects (full project descriptions available here) selected to receive funding this year include:

  • The National Schools of Art of Havana, Cuba (architects: Ricardo Porro, Vittorio Garatti and Roberto Gottardi)
  • Rashid Karami International Fairground, Tripoli, Lebanon (architect: Oscar Niemeyer)
  • Gateway Arch, St. Louis, Missouri (architect: Eero Saarinen)
  • History Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Sarajevo (architects: Boris Magaš, Edo Šmidihen and Radovan Horvat)
  • Chess Palace and Alpine Club, Tbilisi, Georgia (architects: Vladimir Aleksi-Meskhishvili and Germane Gudushauri)
  • Salk Institute for Biological Studies, La Jolla, California (architect: Louis Kahn)
  • St. Brendan’s Community School, Birr, Ireland (architects: Peter and Mary Doyle)
  • Technische Universiteit Delft Auditorium, Netherlands (architects: Johannes van den Broek and Jaap Bakema)
  • School of Mathematics at the Università degli Studi di Roma, Rome, Italy (architect: Gio Ponti)
  • Collegi Universitari at the Università degli Studi di Urbino Carlo Bo, Urbino, Italy (architect: Giancarlo De Carlo)
  • Engineering Building at the University of Leicester, England (architects: James Stirling and James Gowan)

“As Keeping It Modern’s international network continues to grow, we have seen grantees increasingly identify themselves with the initiative and the principles it represents,” says Joan Weinstein, acting director of the Getty Foundation. “Chief among them is an emphasis on research and planning, values that have guided the Getty’s funding for decades. We believe that Keeping It Modern projects are setting a new standard.”

Among this year’s projects, the grant for The National Schools of Art of Havana is of particular importance, given the site’s architectural significance. The complex was one of the first major cultural projects to be built in Cuba following the country’s 1959 revolution, but later fell out of favor and was shut down. In addition to a detailed study of the site, the grant includes training opportunities for Cuban conservation professionals to build local support and expertise.

Additionally the grant for Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer’s Rashid Karami International Fairground in Tripoli, Lebanon highlights the struggle to conserve sites ravaged by war and by decades of neglect. This boldly modernist compound of exhibition pavilions, theaters, museums, and residences was only partially completed before Lebanon’s civil war broke out in 1975, and was left in an incomplete state. A team of distinguished local and international consultants will work on the elaboration of a conservation management plan for this modern complex and explore the possibilities for adaptive reuse that respect Niemeyer’s original vision.

Other projects focus on modern materials and techniques not yet addressed by earlier grants, such as Eero Saarinen’s Gateway Arch in St. Louis, which was built with an ingenious double wall of carbon steel and stainless steel. This year also includes a second grant to the Salk Institute for Biological Studies for the implementation of concrete conservation that will set a new model for this prevalent and challenging modern building material (Salk was previously awarded a conservation planning grant in 2014). Additionally, the two new grants in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Georgia, together with previous grants in Armenia, Kosovo, Poland, and Russia, have the potential to create a strong network in the region.

The Getty Foundation also recently launched the Keeping It Modern Report Library, which includes completed technical reports from 20 grant projects that are free to download and can be used by practitioners in the field or anyone interested in cultural heritage preservation. As the Getty Foundation learned from grantees and from these reports, common themes among the Keeping It Modern projects include conservation planning to guide sustainable and energy-efficient use of modern buildings, the importance of community engagement to garner support for modern buildings, and the benefits of conservation management plans (CMPs), which help stewards of modern buildings plan for longer-term maintenance and preservation.

“The 2018 Keeping It Modern competition was remarkable for the many strong proposals we received, especially from international applicants,” says Antoine Wilmering, senior program officer for the Getty Foundation. “We have always believed that, for cultural heritage conservation, it is crucial to first understand all the issues before doing any work, and 20th century architecture is no different. After five years of funding, the project outcomes are beginning to have a collective impact as more and more stewards embrace comprehensive planning as the bedrock for responsible preservation of modern buildings.”


Keeping It Modern was developed by the Getty Foundation to complement the Getty Conservation Institute’s Conserving Modern Architecture Initiative (CMAI). Of the 54 Keeping It Modern projects to date, two buildings (including the Salk Institute) are directly related to CMAI.

Deadlines and criteria for the next round of Keeping It Modern applications are available at



The J. Paul Getty Trust is an international cultural and philanthropic institution devoted to the visual arts that includes the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Getty Research Institute, the Getty Conservation Institute, and the Getty Foundation. The J. Paul Getty Trust and Getty programs serve a varied audience from two locations: the Getty Center in Los Angeles and the Getty Villa in Malibu.


The Getty Foundation fulfills the philanthropic mission of the Getty Trust by supporting individuals and institutions committed to advancing the greater understanding and preservation of the visual arts in Los Angeles and throughout the world. Through strategic grant initiatives, the Foundation strengthens art history as a global discipline, promotes the interdisciplinary practice of conservation, increases access to museum and archival collections, and develops current and future leaders in the visual arts. It carries out its work in collaboration with the other Getty Programs to ensure that they individually and collectively achieve maximum effect. Additional information is available at






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