3 Getty Grants to Preserve Architecture

Times Design Critic

The J. Paul Getty Trust announced three relatively modest awards Monday totaling $300,000 in the first round of grants under its recently established architectural conservation program.

Included was a grant of $35,000 to the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Freeman House in Hollywood Heights to aid its owner, USC, prepare drawings and documents detailing how the deteriorating structure can be best preserved.

The other awards were a $15,000 "project identification" grant to the Hacienda de los Luceros in Alcalde, N.M., an adobe complex dating to the 16th Century; and a $250,000 "implementation" grant for the repair and preservation of the Spencer Pierce Little House, an early 18th-Century farmhouse in Newbury, Mass.

The grants, drawn from an annual percentage of the Getty's endowment of about $3 billion, marked the trust's initial step beyond the research and conservation of the fine arts and humanities into the more political and complex area of architectural preservation.

Given the Getty's resources, preservationists had expressed hope for a broader, more generous application of funds, particularly in the Los Angeles area. Among requests for conservation funds still pending, for example, are applications for the Watts Towers in South-Central Los Angeles and the Wright-designed Ennis-Brown House in Los Feliz.

The grant to the Freeman House is to be matched with $35,000 by USC, and the grant to the Little House with $500,000 by its nonprofit owner and manager, the Preservation of New England Antiquities, consistent with the guidelines of the program.

It was indicated that when the drawings and documents were completed for the preservation of the Freeman House and a cost analysis made, the project would be eligible for an implementation grant.

In explaining why so few projects were chosen, John Sanday, the program's chief officer, said: "Each of these projects has implications far beyond the conservation of a particular building, providing training opportunities and developing new conservation technology and treatment methods."

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