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Old Posted Mar 23, 2012, 4:56 PM
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New Getty initiative aims to boost preservation of modern architecture

New Getty initiative aims to boost preservation of modern architecture


March 21, 2012



Read More: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/cult...mes-house.html

Quote:
The Eames House in Pacific Palisades, built in 1949 by the husband-and-wife designers Charles and Ray Eames, was never simply a single-family residence. It was also Case Study House No. 8, among the best-known products of a campaign by the editors of Arts & Architecture magazine to commission stylish and modestly sized prototypes for postwar living. Now, thanks to the Getty Conservation Institute, the house is poised to become a case study all over again -- this time in the service of historic preservation. The Getty will announce Wednesday that it is launching a new international program, the Conserving Modern Architecture Initiative, in hopes of giving preservation architects new and more sophisticated strategies to shore up 20th century buildings.

- In that effort and subsequent ones, the Getty initiative will focus on supporting research on the materials and structural systems unique to -- or at least highly common in -- modern architecture before making the results available to architects and preservation specialists around the world. These materials include steel and glass, which make up the basic structural envelope at the Eames House, but also concrete, which 20th century architects turned into a key building block of modernism. Tim Whalen, director of the Getty Conservation Institute, said that the program was not designed as an advocacy organization, like the Los Angeles Conservancy’s Modern Committee, dedicated to keeping landmarks from the wrecking ball. The point instead is to forge partnerships with architects and organizations already doing research on how to preserve modern masterpieces.

- “There are lots of people trying to protect these buildings,” he said. “From our observation, what's missing is a more systematic approach to finding technical and conservation solutions. We're trying to improve the way conservation is practiced.” Given the vast budget of the Getty Center as a whole, the sums involved in the new institute, at least at its launch, are modest. About $250,000 has been pledged to the research work at the Eames House, Whalen said, and the initial annual budget for the program as a whole is roughly $500,000, which includes staffing costs. Kyle Normandin, an architect with experience in preservation, joined the Getty Conservation Institute earlier this year to help manage the new program. Modern buildings present a challenge for preservationists not simply because they're aging, with the earliest breakthroughs in modernism now nearly a century old.

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The Eames House in Pacific Palisades

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