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Getty Foundation announces 2016 Keeping It Modern grantees

The Getty Foundation is scheduled to announce its 2016 Keeping It Modern grantees on Thursday -- and the projects chosen are slightly more gender balanced than in years past. The nine recipients in nine countries include, for the first time since the initiative’s 2014 launch, two projects designed by women.

Eileen Gray’s Villa E-1072 on southern France’s Côte d’Azur will receive $200,000. The onetime vacation 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’s 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 toward significant 20th century buildings, but the Getty typically hones in on projects that offer fertile ground to explore issues – and develop solutions -- in the field of architectural conservation.

“These latest grants underscore that purpose,” Getty Foundation senior program officer Antoine Wilmering said in a statement. “For example, Eladio Dieste’s Cristo Obrero Church in Atlantida, Uruguay, makes use of reinforced brick, creating delicately shaped undulating forms with a technique of which we have little knowledge in terms of conservation practice. This building’s conservation management plan has the potential to inform the future preservation of hundreds of other buildings that use similar construction materials and techniques.”

Past Keeping It Modern projects such as the Centennial Hall in Poland, the Sydney Opera House and the Max Liebling complex in Israel, have pushed the needle forward in developing new architectural conservation strategies, particularly with regard to long-term maintenance and preservation of buildings, the Getty says.

The newest Keeping It Modern projects will address conservation issues such as how to treat aging concrete and the use of clear or colored glass, sometimes embedded in concrete.

To date, the Getty initiative has supported 33 architectural projects internationally.  

Follow me on Twitter: @DebVankin

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