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June 24, 2015

The Getty Foundation Announces Second Series of Keeping It Modern Grants to Conserve 20th Century Architecture

Fourteen Grants Totaling Over $1.75 Million Awarded for Important Modern Buildings around the Globe

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Alexandria Sivak
Getty Communications
(310) 440-6473

The Solar Observatory Einstein Tower on the Telegrafenberg in Potsdam. Photo: R. Arlt / Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics Potsdam (AIP)

LOS ANGELES – The Getty Foundation today announced a second series of grants for exemplary 20th century buildings as part of its Keeping It Modern initiative. The latest grants for fourteen projects in eight countries extend the program’s reach to new regions ranging from Brazil to India. Each project is a model that reinforces the initiative’s focus on the conservation of modern architecture around the world.

The fourteen projects selected to receive funding this year are, like the ten projects awarded in 2014, of the highest architectural significance: Frank Lloyd Wright’s Unity Temple, Walter Gropius’ residence ‘The Gropius House,’ Erich Mendelsohn’s Einstein Tower, Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s Hill House, Pierre Jeanneret’s Gandhi Bhawan (Gandhi Center), João Batista Vilanova Artigas and Carlos Cascaldi’s School of Architecture and Urbanism at the University of São Paulo (FAUUSP), Marcel Breuer’s Saint John’s Abbey and University Church, Gerrit Rietveld’s Schröder House, Michel de Klerk’s Het Schip, George Nakashima’s Arts Building and Cloister, the Giancarlo de Carlo ‘Collegi’ buildings at the Università degli Studi di Urbino, Paul Rudolph’s Jewett Arts Center at Wellesley College, Jorge Ferreira’s Arthur Neiva Pavilion, and James Strutt’s residence ‘The Strutt House.’

“Last year’s launch of Keeping It Modern emphasized that modern architecture is a defining artistic form of the 20th century at considerable risk, often due to the cutting-edge building materials that characterized the movement,” says Deborah Marrow, director of the Getty Foundation. “This new round of Keeping It Modern grants includes some of the finest examples of modern architecture in the world. The grant projects address challenges for the field of architectural conservation and will have impact far beyond the individual buildings to be conserved.”

The new Keeping It Modern grants focus on a number of pressing concerns within the conservation community, including the continued need for conservation planning for 20th century architecture, the call for models that demonstrate how to integrate conservation planning more comprehensively into the general stewardship of modernist buildings, and the lack of understanding about the aging and proper treatment of architectural concrete. The latter issue is being addressed in many of these projects.

“The use of concrete, while visually striking and radical for its time, has created a unique set of challenges for conserving some of the world’s most important modernist structures,” says Antoine Wilmering, senior program officer at the Getty Foundation. “Our new grants offer an excellent opportunity to advance research and conservation practices for this material. The accumulated knowledge that will result from the projects will be of tremendous benefit to the field.”

While the focus of Keeping It Modern is on conservation planning and research, exceptional projects that have the potential to serve as significant models for the preservation field may also be considered for implementation support. This year the Foundation is announcing the first Keeping It Modern grant at the implementation level to support the conservation of Frank Lloyd Wright’s celebrated Unity Temple in Oak Park, Illinois.

In the first year of Keeping It Modern, applications were by invitation only so that the Getty Foundation could demonstrate the type of project the initiative would support. The second year was an open call for proposals, and many high-quality projects were submitted for consideration. The projects were evaluated by an expert advisory committee that made recommendations based on a number of factors, including architectural significance, the strength of the work plan, international diversity, the potential to make a meaningful contribution to the field of conservation, and to serve as a model for conservation practice.

Keeping It Modern is part of the Getty’s strong overall commitment to modern architecture, as demonstrated by the Getty Conservation Institute’s Conserving Modern Architecture Initiative (CMAI), the extensive and growing architectural collections of the Getty Research Institute, and the 2013 Pacific Standard Time Presents: Modern Architecture initiative which focused on Los Angeles’ modern heritage. With these combined efforts, the Getty continues to advance the understanding and preservation of 20th century modern architecture.

Deadlines and criteria for the next round of Keeping It Modern applications will soon be announced on the Getty Foundation website at
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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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Keeping It Modern
2015 Architectural Conservation Grants

Fundação de Apoio à Universidade de São Paulo
Faculty of Architecture and Urban Planning Center, João Batista Vilanova Artigas and Carlos Cascaldi, 1969, Sao Paulo, Brazil

Faculty of Architecture and Urban Planning Center of the University of São Paulo in Brazil. Photo: Marina Brandão, 2015

In the early 1960s the School of Architecture and Urbanism at the University of São Paulo turned to one of Brazil’s most important modernist architects, João Batista Vilanova Artigas, to design a new faculty building in collaboration with Carlos Cascaldi. Taking their cues from the Brutalism of the late Le Corbusier, Artigas and Cascaldi created a monumental structure that emphasizes the elegance of modern materials such as concrete and glass with minimal decoration. One of the building’s most prominent features is its dramatic roof, a large grid of skylights set into reinforced concrete that fills the courtyard below with natural light. While past repairs have been undertaken on a case by case basis, now faculty are embracing the development of a conservation management plan with Getty support to produce a holistic approach to the maintenance of the building’s key features. This methodology will be integrated into the teaching curriculum as a tool to educate the next generation of Brazilian architects on the value of strategic planning for the conservation of historic sites. Grant support: $200,000

Leibniz-Institut für Astrophysik Potsdam
Einstein Tower, Erich Mendelsohn, 1921, Potsdam, Germany

The Solar Observatory Einstein Tower on the Telegrafenberg in Potsdam. Photo: J. Rendtel / Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics Potsdam (AIP)

The solar observatory at the Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics in Potsdam, better known as the Einstein Tower, is architect Erich Mendelsohn’s signature building and a paragon of German expressionism. As the first solar tower telescope in Europe, the building was intended to support Einstein’s study of relativity, and it continues to function as a research center today. Breaking away from the paradigm of rectangular post and beam architecture, Mendelsohn crafted an organic and sinuous form to reflect the new theories of the universe. The use of reinforced concrete to create a smooth, unified skin over the building’s brick substrate was innovative at the time and enabled its expressive plastic form. However, this experimental combination of materials has left the structure vulnerable to water infiltration that threatens the safety of its scientific equipment. A Getty grant will support an in-depth study of the building’s moisture problems, including the thermal stress of fluctuating seasonal conditions that is a shared concern among concrete buildings in temperate climates. Grant support: €43,000

The National Trust for Scotland
Hill House, Charles Rennie Mackintosh, 1904, Helensburgh, Scotland

Hill House, Front Entrance. Photo: The National Trust for Scotland

Scottish architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh firmly believed in the house as a “total work of art” and roundly applied this principle to the Hill House he designed for publisher Walter W. Blackie in the early 20th century. Located outside of Glasgow, the building departed from its Arts and Crafts counterparts and decisively shaped the course of modern design with the introduction of clean lines and broad unadorned planes interrupted only for simple, inset windows. To achieve the building’s unified exterior aesthetic, Mackintosh covered the structure with a relatively new material at the time, Portland cement. Unfortunately the property’s signature cement envelope has weakened over time, and this process has been exacerbated by its seaside location. The National Trust of Scotland, which has served as a faithful custodian of the site, has completed various studies to address this problem but has found a piecemeal approach unsatisfactory for the creation of lasting solutions. The Getty grant will support the completion of a conservation management plan for the property that unifies all of the prior research to create an integrated approach to the long-term care of the building. Grant support: £95,000

Panjab University
Gandhi Bhawan, Pierre Jeanneret, 1961, Chandigarh, India

The Gandhi Bhawan in Chandigarh, India. Photo: Vanicka Arora, Associate Architect, DRONAH

The Gandhi Bhawan of Panjab University in Chandigarh is an architectural centerpiece of the campus and a stunning example of modernist architecture in India. This distinctive concrete building was the result of a 1960 proposal that a Gandhi Bhawan (Gandhi Center) be established at each university in India “with the object of promoting the study of Gandhian ideals and his way of life.” Swiss architect Pierre Jeanneret’s building used innovative cast concrete to evoke an abstracted floating lotus flower, marrying angular lines with swelling organic forms, all fittingly set into a large reflecting pool. A Getty grant will support an integrated and sustainable plan for the future management of the building, based on extensive background research, testing of materials, and technical analysis. The project will also build lasting capacity by supporting training workshops for experts of modernism in India, as well as for local professionals who care for the Gandhi Bhawan and other modern buildings in the region. Grant support: $130,000

Saint John’s Abbey, of the Order of Saint Benedict
Saint John’s Abbey and University Church, Marcel Breuer, 1961, Collegeville, Minnesota


North view of the Abbey and University Church. Photo: Fr. Geoffrey Fecht, OSB

In the 1950s, the Benedictine monks of Saint John’s Abbey made the daring choice of Bauhaus architect Marcel Breuer for the design of a new church for its growing monastic community and student community located on the joint campuses of the Minnesota’s College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University. In response to the clergy’s call for a church that would be “an architectural monument to the service of God,” Breuer deployed a striking combination of concrete and stained glass to create a masterful juxtaposition of levity and mass. The church’s entrance is framed by a weighty bell tower, a dramatic contrast to its perforated, honeycomb façade. Encased stained glass, as well as large interior skylights and windows spanning the building’s sides, flood the church interior with light and balance the massive concrete framing buttresses. Today the structures are the architectural centerpiece of more than a dozen other structures by Breuer on this multi-use complex, forming the largest collection anywhere of a single modernist architect’s work. A Getty grant will support a conservation management plan to guide a long-term preservation strategy for these buildings. Grant support: $150,000

Sociedade de Promocão da Casa de Oswaldo Cruz
Arthur Neiva Pavilion, Jorge Ferreira, 1942, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Arthur Neiva Pavilion – Fundação Oswaldo Cruz. Photo: Barbara Cortizo de Aguiar, 2013

In 1942 Jorge Ferreira, a central figure in Brazil’s modernist movement, adapted the international style to tropical conditions with his design of the Arthur Neiva Pavilion on the main campus of the Fundação Oswaldo Cruz (Fiocruz) in Rio de Janeiro. Divided into two connected structures, one with classrooms and laboratories, the other with an auditorium, the reinforced-concrete ensemble is unified by a garden and brilliant blue tile mural by celebrated Brazilian artist and landscape architect Roberto Burle Marx. The pavilion pairs the long, lean lines and geometric order of European modernism with verandas, brise-soleil, and trellises that acknowledge the surrounding environment with a sensitive balance of indoor and outdoor space. A Getty grant will support the completion of material and technical analysis of the building, resulting in a comprehensive preventive conservation report and a public seminar to share the project’s outcomes with local architects and increase professional awareness of the planning protocols. Grant support: $60,000

Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities, Inc.
Gropius House, Walter Gropius, 1938, Lincoln, Massachusetts
Exterior of Historic New England’s Gropius House in Lincoln, Massachusetts. Photo: courtesy Historic New England

When Bauhaus founder Walter Gropius moved to the United States, he settled in Lincoln, Massachusetts, where he built his family home. The house is modest in scale yet revolutionary in impact, embodying the Bauhaus principles of simplicity, economy, and restrained beauty. It combines traditional elements of New England architecture—wood, brick, and fieldstone—with innovative materials rarely used in domestic settings at that time, including glass block, acoustic plaster, chrome banisters, and the latest technology in fixtures. The house is recognized as a National Historic Landmark for its influence in bringing international modernism to the United States. A Getty grant will support the development of a conservation management plan for the building and site, to ensure the preservation of its characteristic features for the home’s continued use as a teaching tool to transmit the tenets of Bauhaus design. Grant support: $75,000

Stichting Centraal Museum
Rietveld Schröder House, Gerrit Rietveld, 1924, Utrecht, The Netherlands

Exterior of the Rietveld Schröder House, which is part of the collection of the Centraal Museum. Photo: Ernst Morritz

An incongruous end to a block of traditional brick row houses on the edge of Utrecht, the Rietveld Schröder House of 1924 is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site for its radical innovation in domestic architecture. Developed by renowned Dutch architect and furniture designer Gerrit Rietveld for his client Truus Schröder-Schräder, the residence is the first large-scale declaration of De Stijl design ideals. The house is now maintained by the Centraal Museum Foundation, but Rietveld’s experimental use of materials, combined with the wear-and-tear from thousands of visitors each year, creates a demanding maintenance schedule. A Getty grant will support the development of a conservation management plan that balances sensitivity to the architect’s design intent with the building’s complex conservation needs. The project includes an oral history that will capture the knowledge of one of Rietveld’s assistants, who played a pivotal role in past interventions to the home, as well as the broad dissemination of the project research through a free online publication. Grant support: €125,000
Stichting de Golf, Amsterdam School Museum Het Schip
Het Schip, Michel de Klerk, 1921, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

The tower of Het Schip. Photo: Amsterdamse School Museum Het Schip / Alice Roegholt

Het Schip, or The Ship, is a remarkable monument of 20th-century urban design that exemplifies the bold expressionistic architecture of the Amsterdam School. Developed by Dutch architect Michel de Klerk, Het Schip, also dubbed the Worker’s Palace, was an ambitious new type of housing for the working classes who lived in deplorable conditions. This unprecedented experiment in designed living was completed in 1921, as an urban block containing over 100 apartments, a post office, and an elementary school. No detail escaped de Klerk’s attention, as is evident in the structure’s surface designs, including small, carved windmills and other flourishes set into its façade. The complex continues to serve residents today and also houses a museum dedicated to the Amsterdam School and the social idealism of De Klerk’s goals of making good design accessible to all. A Getty grant will support research into the design of the building’s unique decorations, restoration of damaged and missing elements, the development of a maintenance plan, visual documentation and dissemination, and a guide for sustainable care for the custodians of Het Schip. Grant support: $180,000

Strutt Foundation
Strutt House, James Strutt, 1956, National Capital Area, Canada

Exterior of the Strutt House. Photo: Titania Truesdale

Canadian architect James Strutt used the development of his own home outside of Ottawa to push the boundaries of geometric design and construction systems, launching a career-long exploration of how to achieve maximum structural strength through minimal, lightweight materials. The house displays a deceptively simple combination of architectural design and building science, including its undulating wooden paraboloid roof which was the first of its kind in Canada. The house was also among the first in the country to use a curtain wall building technique that relieved exterior walls from the burden of structural support to create elegant expanses of uninterrupted glass. A Getty grant will support the establishment of a conservation plan that incorporates extensive research about the building’s materials, its ground-breaking curtain wall feature, and the investigation of potential leaks in its envelope through thermographic analysis and air-pressure testing. Grant support: $50,000 CAD

Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania
Arts Building and Cloister, George Nakashima, 1967, New Hope, Pennsylvania
Interior view of the Arts Building with cantilevered stairs and mezzanine. Photo: César Bargues Ballester

The George Nakashima House and Studio is a collection of 21 highly experimental buildings created by this Japanese-American woodworker and designer in the 1960s following deep consideration for its forested surroundings in the Pennsylvania countryside. Nakashima used novel engineering techniques and materials to create a unique aesthetic that blends Japanese craft traditions with a midcentury modernist sensibility. Two of the earliest buildings erected on this National Historic Landmark site, the Arts Building and Cloister, best exemplify Nakashima’s design ideals with a soaring hyperbolic paraboloid plywood roof and an open interior with extensive wood surfaces and expansive glass walls. A Getty grant will support the development of a Conservation Management Plan that will incorporate an in-house training program for the conservation and maintenance of the campus, drawing on the expertise of the University of Pennsylvania’s Historic Preservation program. Grant support: $100,000

Unity Temple Restoration Foundation
Unity Temple, Frank Lloyd Wright, 1908, Oak Park, Illinois
Unity Temple’s west façade with stylized concrete piers. Photo: courtesy of the Unity Temple Restoration Foundation

In 1905, after a fire destroyed the wood frame Unity Church in Oak Park, Illinois, the congregation turned to Frank Lloyd Wright as a fellow parishioner to rebuild. Wright’s bold, experimental design was a radical departure from existing typologies of religious architecture, and was among the first monumental public buildings in the world to use in-situ cast concrete as an artistic architectural medium. It has been designated a National Historic Landmark and was recently nominated for listing as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This meticulously planned and researched conservation treatment offers a model to the field for the preservation of the original aesthetic of a building that has already had extensive restoration treatments—a common condition for many historic concrete modernist buildings. Getty funds will be applied towards hard construction costs for restoring the concrete surfaces of the north façade, the public face of Unity Temple on Lake Street. Grant support: $200,000

Università degli Studi di Urbino Carlo Bo
“Collegi” buildings, Giancarlo De Carlo, 1962–1982, Urbino, Italy
Looking towards the Vela, with skylights that illuminate the interior “street.” Photo: Giorgio Casali, Milan

Italian architect Giancarlo De Carlo, a core member of the radical architecture collective Team Ten, achieved international acclaim when he created the five “Collegi” buildings (Colle, Tridente, Serpentine, Aquilone, and Vela) at the Università degli Studi in the rolling landscape near the medieval city of Urbino. He championed the philosophy that modernist architecture should support social change, and used this principle to design over 62,000 square feet of buildings that function as “an organism in the form of a city” by repeating simple structural elements that respond subtly to the surrounding hillside topography. A close relationship to nature is reinforced by a series of open public spaces that are connected through a unique system of flowing internal “streets.” Unfortunately, the palette of modern materials selected by the architect have not performed well over time and current safety regulations and campus usage patterns have led to the under-utilization of many of the open spaces at the heart of De Carlo’s design. A Getty grant will support a comprehensive conservation plan for the structures that will address material deterioration and adaptation that is sensitive to contemporary use but also respects the architect’s original vision. Grant support: $195,000

Wellesley College
Jewett Arts Center, Paul Rudolph, 1958, Wellesley, Massachusetts

View of the Jewett Arts Center at Wellesley College from Severance Green. Photo: Wellesley College Communications and Public Affairs

In 1958 architect Paul Rudolph completed his breakthrough building, the Jewett Arts Center at Wellesley College. That same year he assumed the chairmanship of the Department of Architecture at Yale, where he became a key figure in fostering the modernist aesthetic he had embraced as a student of Walter Gropius. Designed to house the Departments of Art and Music as well as galleries for the college’s sculpture and painting collections, the Jewett Arts Center is a masterful assimilation of modernist materials and structural framing into a surrounding collegiate Gothic setting. Clustered concrete aggregate columns, pointed aluminum skylights, and expansive bay windows repeat the motifs of nearby buildings using an updated, modernist idiom. A Getty grant will support a conservation management plan that prioritizes the retention of the building’s historic fabric in future planning, makes better use of existing spaces, and develops a treatment protocol for significant building components. Grant support: $120,000
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